Bahrain sees ‘growing interest’ from Chinese tech firms 

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There’s “growing interest” from China’s tech sector, said Simon Galpin, managing director of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB).

“Chinese e-commerce companies recognize that the Middle East and the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], in particular, are really good markets,” he told CNBC’s Martin Soong at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin on Thursday.

Like many other Middle Eastern economies, Manama is focusing on building a digital economy in an effort to reduce reliance on revenues from energy.

“Bahrain, because its a great transportation hub, is seen as a great place for fulfillment centers so companies that are going to do deliveries into Saudi Arabia can position themselves in Bahrain and make those deliveries over the causeway,” Galpin explained.

The island nation has rolled out austerity measures as it looks to cut its budget deficit, which is soon expected to hit 11.9 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund. But Galpin noted that the country has seen “strong growth” in the start-up and fintech space.

International companies are increasingly setting up shop in the kingdom due to its nature as a cost-effective hub, he said. – CNBC


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