RIYADH – Saudi Arabia and China plan to establish a $20 billion investment fund as the Arab kingdom deepens ties with its biggest Asian oil customer.
King Salman met Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli in Jeddah earlier this week amid a flurry of deal-making between the countries, which are both pursuing economic transformation plans through Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Arab News reported.
Both sides plan to jointly operate the investment fund, sharing costs and profits on a 50:50 basis, according to Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih.
Saudi Arabia is pursuing an aggressive international investment strategy spearheaded by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is taking multibillion-dollar stakes in companies such as Uber Technologies. The PIF is set to become the world’s largest fund when it receives the proceeds from the initial public offering (IPO) of Saudi Aramco.
The closer ties between China and Saudi Arabia may also extend to international debt markets if the Kingdom looks to add foreign bond sales denominated in yuan as well as dollars.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is driving an ambitious economic diversification plan which aims to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and boost investment in new sectors.