Chinese cars set to invade Saudi market

Nearly 3,000 Chinese-made cars will make a debut in Saudi Arabia in the next few days and agents expect strong demand for such price competitive vehicles, a newspaper in the Gulf Kingdom reported on Saturday.

Agents in Saudi Arabia, the largest consumer market in the Middle East, said they had already imported spare parts and established sufficient maintenance units for the cars, branded Geely and Geely Emgrand.

“The 3000 cars are the first batch of Chinese vehicles to be imported by the company,” said Ali Hussein Riza, CEO of Hussein Riza company.

“We expect strong demand for these cars because of their competitive price and the abundance of spare parts and maintenance services which have already made available ahead of the arrival of the cars.”

Quoted by the London-based Saudi daily Sharqalawsat, he said the company had taken into consideration the fact that the Saudi car market is dominated by such industrial giants as the US, Japan, German and South Korea.

“The good thing is that the Chinese cars are designed for the climate in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries,” he said.

China maintains strong political and economic links with Saudi Arabia and other members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and has become a key importer of oil. Its reliance on Gulf oil supplies is set to steady increase in the coming years as its own crude wealth is eroding and the most populous nation on earth is recording rapid growth in energy consumption.

Between 1999 and 2009, GCC-Chinese trade jumped by at least 40 per cent annually to reach around $70 billion in 2008, including nearly $42 billion worth of exports by the GCC countries and $28 billion worth of imports.

Saudi Arabia, the top oil supplier to China, has remained the largest trading partner of Beijing, with exports of around $31 billon and imports of $11 billion.

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