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Relations ride high on new energy

By ZHANG ZHIHAO | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-12-08 08:00

Energy, information technology, infrastructure and space are some of the key fields of cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia that will yield huge socioeconomic benefits as both countries seek to achieve sustainable development, experts said.

For over 2,000 years, people from China and Arab states have maintained fruitful exchanges, according to a report published by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

Now, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Arab states hope to continue their friendship and engage in mutually beneficial dialogue and cooperation in many areas, from trade and cultural exchanges to science and technology.

Energy is the mainstay of science and technology cooperation between China and Arab states. In 2021, China imported around 264 million metric tons of crude oil from the region, the report said. Renewable energy — such as solar power, wind energy and hydropower — has provided some of the most active areas of collaboration.

Last month, Kunlun Digital Technology, a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation, signed an agreement with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund to invest over 2 billion yuan ($287 million) over the next eight to 10 years to help modernize the oil and natural gas sectors in the Middle East and North Africa.

The project will first be launched in Saudi Arabia, the company said in a statement. The effort will provide digitalized solutions to help upgrade Saudi Arabia's oil production and manufacturing sectors, thus supporting the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative for the digital transformation of industry.

On Nov 30, artificial intelligence company SenseTime said it would unveil a new talent training program with Saudi Arabia in the upcoming Global Conference for Giftedness and Creativity, which will begin in Jeddah on Saturday and run until Dec 14.

The program will collaborate with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority to bring courses on AI, machine learning and computer vision to over 30,000 students and a 2,000-member teaching staff in the country.

Huang Jigong, president of international business at SenseTime, said, "Our company will continue to extend support and invest in artificial intelligence education in Saudi Arabia, assist in its modernization efforts and help fulfill its Vision 2030 goals."

Zhang Wei, an expert on Saudi Arabian tech development based in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, said Saudi Arabia had increased cooperation with China in space technology, telecommunication, e-commerce, materials science and talent training in recent years.

Saudi Arabia is one of the first Arab states to participate in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, and the Saudi Vision 2030 framework shares many common goals with the initiative, Zhang said.

"Whether it is infrastructure construction or high-tech research, China and Saudi Arabia share massive room for complementary cooperation," Zhang added.


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