SABIC, the Middle East's largest petrochemical company, said it would continue to invest in China and the Chinese market is becoming increasingly attractive to foreign multinationals as China's economy matures.
"We are planning to invest more in China in the future, mainly focusing on chemical products, including polyethylene and methanol, considering the successful investment and cooperation we've had in the country with companies like Sinopec," Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, vice-chairman and chief executive officer of the Saudi Arabian company, told China Daily.
"The company will further deepen energy cooperation with old partners while continuing to seek new partnerships for sustainable development."
The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on further cooperation with the Administration Committee of Guangzhou Nansha Development Zone earlier this month, emphasizing SABIC's long-term commitment in China.
"China is one of SABIC's core strategic markets, and we are committed as a partner to helping elevate China's sustainable development and inclusive growth, while reinforcing SABIC's development prospects here," he said, adding that SABIC is committed to contributing to economic exchanges between the two sides through continuous investment in China.
Analysts said Saudi Arabia and China have arrived at a comprehensive strategic partnership and SABIC is expected to play a key role in the promotion of Saudi-China economic exchanges.
Li Shaotong, an official of the Ministry of Commerce, said Chinese and Arab businesses have started to explore more sectors beyond the traditional energy and resources projects, including the chemical industry and manufacturing.
Shi Dan, deputy head of Institute of Economics of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the deepening cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia would further ensure China's energy security while setting an example of cooperation in the Middle East.
According to Al-Benyan, China accounts for around 18 percent of SABIC's global sales revenue while also remaining one of the firm's most important strategic markets.
The Chinese market has significant potential to continually maintain itself as a growth engine for SABIC's global business development, he said.
Figures from the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation showed that China's chemical industry earned 1.5 billion in revenue from January to August 2017, up 14.2 percent year-on-year.
SABIC's investment in Guangzhou Nansha Development Zone started in 1994, with its Nansha plant producing engineering plastics and products extensively applied in various industrial and consumer sectors.
The plant is now the largest SABIC compounding plant in Asia, holding an important position in the industrial chain globally.
Entering Asia in the 1980s and gradually extending its footprint in China, SABIC today has three plants in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing, a joint venture with Sinopec running a world-class petrochemical complex in Tianjin, and operates in 14 cities across China.