Shenzhen to help Saudi Arabia diversify economy

Updated: Sep 25, 2023 China Daily Print
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High-tech hub Shenzhen is set to play a key role in the future of Saudi Arabia as the Gulf nation seeks to reduce its dependence on oil and transition into a more sustainable economy.

Shenzhen Mayor Qin Weizhong visited Saudi Arabia last week, during which time Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology signed cooperation agreements with several institutions in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

"Shenzhen, known for its advanced technology and innovation, can offer Saudi Arabia access to cutting-edge technologies, expertise and investment opportunities," said Wei Jianzhang, vice-president of the Belt and Road Initiative's International Cooperation and Development Research Institute in Shenzhen.

"This collaboration can facilitate the transfer of knowledge, research and innovation between the two regions, leading to mutual growth and progress."

According to Wei, Shenzhen's expertise in areas such as digital economy, smart cities, 5G communications and renewable energy can contribute to Saudi Arabia's technological advancements, and the city's strong manufacturing base and global supply chain connections can provide opportunities for Saudi businesses to expand their market reach.

"Similarly, Saudi Arabia's investment in Shenzhen can stimulate economic growth and create employment opportunities," Wei added.

On Sept 14, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology signed cooperation agreements with several institutions in Shenzhen, including Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen, to enhance research, development and innovation, further strengthening knowledge exchange between the country and China.

The memorandums of understanding came during a visit to the university by a high-level delegation headed by Qin and 50 representatives from various institutions in the city. The agreements aimed to bolster bilateral ties in industrial innovation, technology transfer, research, talent exchange, training programs and entrepreneurship.

Emphasizing the importance of Saudi Arabia as a key partner for Shenzhen, Qin said the city will actively implement the significant agreements, particularly in areas such as new energy, digital economy, smart cities, infrastructure, finance, science and technology innovation, culture, sports and tourism.

"I believe these efforts will contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative as well as Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030," Qin added.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI, and Saudi Arabia, as the largest economy among the Arab countries, was among the first to respond to and actively participate in the initiative.

"Our collaboration with esteemed Shenzhen institutions embodies one of KAUST's primary objectives to enhance the commercialization of our research and promote global research partnerships and talent cultivation. These synergies will amplify our influence and bring tangible benefits to the Kingdom," said KAUST president Tony Chan after the signing.

Abdullah Bin Obiyah, consul general of Saudi Arabia in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, expressed his belief that Shenzhen can play an effective role in the China-Arab community of common destiny in the new era.

"I expect deeper cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Shenzhen in 2023," he said.

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