On June 11-12, 2023, the 10th China-Arab Enterprise Cooperation Conference and the 8th Investment Summit were successfully held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, attracting more than 3,000 representatives from 20 plus countries and regions. Lin Cui, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Center, National Development and Reform Commission of China, led a delegation of more than 30 Chinese enterprises including Cheerland Biotechnology (CLB), to attend the conferences. The Chinese delegation conducted in-depth exchanges and discussions with Saudi government officials, industry leaders on topics such as trade, investment, finance, infrastructure, energy, biopharmaceutical and other emerging industries.
CLB Chief Quality Officer Kartik Padh introduced to the conference CLB’s technology and products, and strong interest in the Middle East market. The Vice Minister of the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) was impressed and invited CLB to establish a biologics manufacturing plant in Saudi.
The CLB delegate led by CEO and President Michael Garvey visited MISA and met with officials from the Health Care Department, which issues project permits in this sector. The two sides discussed the potential CLB Saudi project and requirements for entering the Saudi market.
The CLB representatives also visited the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) and met with their healthcare and biotechnology group. SIDF indicated that for projects like CLB that meet their requirements, they would be willing to provide up to 75% of investment as well as some loans for its operations. More substantive negotiations will be held in the following months to jump start the CLB project.
In 2016, the Saudi government initiated the “Vision 2030” Development Plan, making biotechnology one of its main industrial areas. At the Riyadh Global Medical Biotechnology Summit 2021, it was reported that the Saudi biomedical market has reached $8 billion USD and will hit $15 billion by 2030. SIDF is one of the main financial institutes supporting Vision 2030, providing project loans equivalent to 27 billion CNY in 2022.
This was CLB’s third visit to the Middle East region in the past four months. In March, CLB visited major pharmaceutical companies, government regulatory agencies, and investment institutes in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, and other countries, starting its expansion into the international markets, first the “Belt and Road” regions. In May, CLB followed up with another visit to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, during which a CLB subsidiary in Egypt was established. This third visit further solidified CLB’s international efforts and the plan is to establish a biologics production plant soon in Saudi.