Looking East, Saudi Arabia Plans $20b Investment Fund with China, Al-Falih Says

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that the Kingdom and China plan to establish and operate jointly a $20 billion investment fund, sharing costs and profits on a 50:50 basis, according to a Reuters report based on comments from the minister.

H.E. Al-Falih, who is Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources, was speaking on the sidelines of an economic conference of senior officials and businessmen from Saudi Arabia and China.

According to the report, Al-Falih said that in addition to the fund, he expected 11 business agreements worth about $20 billion to be signed between the two sides on Thursday, without giving further details.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman embarked on a month-long tour of key nations in Asia, including China, as the region grows in influence as an oil importer and potential investor in the Saudi economy. Minister Al-Falih traveled with him on that tour. In August of 2016, the Kingdom signed 15 preliminary agreements with China in sectors from energy to housing on a trip headed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia has also increased its bi-lateral business activity with Japan. Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund agreed to invest up to $45 billion in a new technology fund with Japan’s SoftBank Group, contributing to an overall value of the fund at $100 billion.