Skip to main content

Bahrain's Investcorp teams up with China to invest $1bn in Gulf and Asia

China's sovereign wealth fund backs Bahrain amid competition with the US for tech startups in region
King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, left, and Crown Prince and first deputy Supreme Commander of Bahrain Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifah at UAE's Sakhir air base, on 16 February 2024 (AFP)

China is putting $1bn towards a Bahrain-based investment fund operating in the Gulf and Asia, deepening Beijing's footprint in a region looking to diversify away from fossil fuels.

Investcorp, a Bahrain-based alternative investment fund, said on Wednesday that it launched a $1bn “Investcorp Golden Horizon” fund with the backing of China's sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation (CIC), to invest in companies in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf region and China.

The announcement was made at Investcorp’s China-GCC Investment and Business Cooperation Summit in Riyadh. The fund is eyeing “high growth potential” companies in attractive sectors, including consumer, healthcare, logistics, and business services.

The Investcorp Saudi pre-IPO growth fund, which is part of the platform, has already announced a series of investments in the Gulf region, including in Saudi logistics startup, Trukker, and the telecom hub, NourNet.

The agreement with CIC gives Investcorp the backing of one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, managing about $1.3 trillion in assets.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


The deal will also help Beijing solidify its economic ties in the Gulf and forge closer partnerships with the region’s royal families who are looking to deploy their energy wealth in tech startups. Investcorp’s biggest shareholder is Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala Investment Company.

The Gulf region’s IPO market has outshined the US and Europe, as more companies in the region look to go public.

In March, investment bank EFG Hermes said it was "very bullish" on the Gulf market this year, predicting a strong IPO market.

Wednesday’s deal underlines how the Gulf states are powering ahead with efforts to reduce their reliance on fossil fuel revenues and expand economic partnerships outside the West. That push has continued even as global attention focuses on Israel’s war on Gaza. 

The US is competing vigorously in the region with Beijing.

Earlier this month, Microsoft signed a deal to invest  $1.5bn in Abu Dhabi artificial intelligence group G42, which is chaired by the UAE’s national security advisor, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.