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Duqm is also close to some of the raw materials which Chinese companies will need for that purpose: the oil and gas resources of the Gulf. Eventually, Chinese firms aim to invest up to .7bn (£8.2bn) there, said Ali Shah, chief executive of Oman Wanfang, the Chinese consortium. But we at Wanfang are thinking the future for Duqm will be better than those cities inside the Gulf,” Ali Shah told Reuters.
It had been hoping in particular for investment from Iran, with which it has close diplomatic ties, but Iran’s economy is struggling.
Their first facility, a 8m complex to store building materials and distribute them around the region, is to be completed within 18 months.
Plans for a further nine Chinese facilities, including a .8bn methanol plant, pipe factories, an m vehicle assembly plant and a 3m hotel, have been agreed in principle and are to be completed within five years.
The consortium says its member firms are private, and has announced no direct financial aid from Beijing – but it enjoys political support.
In April, a deputy governor of Ningxia visited Duqm to lay the foundation stone for the Chinese industrial area, and to declare that Beijing’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission backed the project.