Should the GCC start to learn Mandarin?

Learnings from the Chinese-African story

Recent deals, such as COSCO’s investment of US$738 million in Khalifa Port, China National Petroleum Corp.’s US$22 billion stake in an Abu Dhabi oil venture and the signing of US$65 billion worth of deals between China and Saudi Arabia, prove that China is seeking closer ties with the GCC. Furthermore, new business opportunities in the region will arise in the near future.

China’s entry into the GCC market is expected to be accompanied by various opportunities and challenges. To be adequately prepared, a look into China’s heavy investment in Africa over the past few years should help understand the impact of an increased Chinese presence in the market.

For a long time, China’s engagement in Africa was transactional in nature and supported the idea of China benefitting from the presence of natural resources and Africa’s need for development of infrastructure and business.

In contrast, China’s footprint and experience in Africa has called for a more equal relationship by creating sustainable developments based on the needs and requirements of Africans. Consequently, while the positive effects are rather obvious it is required to take a closer look at the unsuccessful stories and drawbacks in order to analyze how we can learn from the Chinese-African story.

Thus, looking into the future, the Chinese-African relationship serves as a profound case study for other areas, such as the GCC region, where through analyzing the key take-aways, one can learn to build a relationship beneficial for both sides.

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