For China, the Middle East and North Africa region is no longer simply an oil and gas reservoir. Leo Long explores MENA’s new investment hotspots

In the southwest corner of the artificial island city Diyar Al Muharraq in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a place known to few Chinese, the Dragon City super mall found itself fully leased in April, well before its completion. Accommodating more than 750 retail stores, the mall is expected to become a major direct sales platform for Chinese products.

The mega-project is a result of an agreement between a Bahrani developer and Chinamex, one of China’s biggest international trading companies. It follows the success of Chinamex’s Dragon Mart in the United Arabic Emirates (UAE). With more than 3,500 outlets, Dragon Mart has been lauded as the largest Chinese trading hub outside mainland China.

Main_pictureBut participation in the retail sector is only a small chapter of China’s tremendous investment story in the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

“There are a number of industries that are considered as being the hot industries for Chinese investment companies in Bahrain and in the Middle East in general”, says Qays Zu’bi, senior partner of Zu’bi & Partners in Bahrain.

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