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Saudi Arabia signs $5.6bln deal with Chinese EV company

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment has signed a $5.6 billion deal with Chinese electric car maker Human Horizons to collaborate on the development, manufacture and sale of vehicles, the Saudi state news agency said in a statement. 

The agreement accounts for more than half of the more than $10 billion in investments signed on the first day of an Arab-China business conference in Riyadh on Sunday, in sectors spanning technology, renewable energy, agriculture, real estate, metals, tourism and healthcare among others. 

While the relationship between Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, and China remains anchored by energy ties, there has been a push to boost investments in non-oil sectors as part of the kingdom’s diversification agenda. 

Part of the Saudi plan is to develop a domestic electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing industry. Human Horizons manufactures electric vehicles under the HiPhi brand in China. 

Chinese foreign direct investment into Arab markets stood at $23 billion in 2021, of which $3.5 billion as in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi statement said. 

Human Horizons said in March it would launch its premium HiPhi brand in some European markets this year as it looks to expand overseas.