Three days of Chinese cultural events celebrated the opening in Bahrain of the massive Dragon City complex on 27th December 2015, giving locals a chance to experience a real flavour of China.
With a cost of US $100 million, and over 115,000 m2 in size, Bahrain Dragon City is an anchor development of Diyar Al Muharraq, Bahrain’s US $3.2 billion mixed-use city with a complete ‘China Town’. It has grown from a proven concept, Dragon Mart Dubai, and is managed by the China Middle East Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (Chinamex) – one of China’s largest overseas trading companies.
Superb access to regional opportunities
The new complex will enable more than 500 Chinese companies to market their products across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and to take advantage of Bahrain’s central Gulf location.
Dragon City’s logistics and warehousing facilities will allow these companies to make full use of Bahrain’s excellent transport infrastructure, and it is no coincidence that the development is located near both the Bahrain International Airport and the state-of-the art Khalifa Bin Salman Port. Dragon City is already reaping the benefits of this strategic location: China’s East Star Group has announced a further US $10 million investment in an 18,000 m2 storage facility at Dragon City that will create a 100 new jobs.
Bahrain and China – a long history
Trading relations between Bahrain and China stretch thousands of years along the original Silk Road when the two nations traded dates, pearls, copper and silk. Today, Chinese imports into Bahrain are growing 30% annually and mutual non-oil trade stands at nearly US $2 billion.
Dragon City is the latest example of Bahrain’s commitment towards strengthening trade with China, and of its participation in China’s flagship ‘One Belt, One Road’ economic policy, which aims to help Chinese businesses access opportunities not only in the fast-growing Gulf and Middle East markets but also globally. Many leading Chinese companies are already firmly established in Bahrain, including Huawei, Bank of China, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd, China CommService and CPIC.
Dragon City will provide significant benefits for the Bahraini economy, not least of which are employment opportunities. With Bahrain’s position as a regional tourism hub, Dragon City is expecting to attract up to two million visitors a year. It will also become a prime destination for Bahraini nationals, by offering a variety of attractions from shopping to leisure and entertainment under one roof – all with a Chinese touch.
Commenting on the opening, Mr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), said: “The EDB has made attracting Chinese businesses to the Kingdom a top priority and we are extremely proud to see the Bahrain Dragon City open for business. Bahrain has the freest economy in the Middle East and world-class transport infrastructure, making it the ideal location for Chinese businesses to access the fast-growing Gulf market. As a regional tourism hub attracting millions of visitors each year, Bahrain is also the ideal location for Chinese businesses to raise the profile of their products with a large regional audience.”
Mr. Hao Feng, Chairman of Chinamex, added: “Bahrain was chosen as the location for our latest Dragon City project due to the Kingdom’s liberal business environment, including 100% foreign ownership, low costs and competitive taxes. Bahrain’s location at the heart of the Gulf and its position as a regional centre for business, trade and tourism also give our tenants an unrivalled opportunity to sell their products across the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia, the biggest economy in the GCC, which is just a short drive across the King Fahd Causeway.”
Everything’s on a big scale
Four areas – a 50,000 m2 Dragon Mall reflecting Chinese architecture and culture; 5,000m2 warehouse; 6,000 m2 ‘Dining Village’ and leisure & entertainment complex; parking for 1,500 cars