Win with China: Middle East's chemical giant says can’t afford to miss China market
By CGTN’s Cheng Lei

How could companies survive and stay competitive in the increasingly globalized society? Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, CEO of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) stressed that one of the keys is to map out a global business plan and nurture partnerships.

Al-Benyan, also the chairman of Gulf Petrochemicals, has been encouraging the gulf chemical companies to improve transparency and corporate management, so as to leave “global footprints from an asset perspective.”

“One aspect is to build a global network, which enables you to interface with customers, as customer intimacy is becoming crucial for companies’ future success,” said Al-Benyan.

CGTN reporter Cheng Lei interviews Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, CEO of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation on the sidelines of the 2017 Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, December 8. /CGTN Photo

SABIC last month signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest energy company, to develop the world’s largest, 20-billion-US-dollar crude chemical complex in the kingdom, which will be able to convert crude oil to chemicals.

“The project enables us to strengthen our relationship with Aramco, a well-known global leader in the oil industry, so it also supports our growth strategy, boosts our presence and competitiveness,” said Al-Benyan.

More importantly, the cooperation will allow SABIC to play as the catalyst in reducing Saudi’s dependency on oil, helping the country realize its Vision 2030. 

A man walks past the headquarters of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 27, 2013. /VCG Photo

Saudi Arabia’s economy has been suffering from low oil prices in recent years, so it created the Vision 2030 to support investments in other sectors, including transportation, financial services and infrastructure, and make the country less dependent on the oil industry.

Among all the overseas cooperation opportunities, SABIC wouldn’t miss those from China. Over the past few years, SABIC has signed a cooperation agreement with Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, a research institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and also China National Petroleum Corp, on the research of catalysts and development of conversion of methane into olefins, aromatics and hydrogen.

“With the growth of the Chinese economy, SABIC couldn’t afford not to be a part of it,” said Al-Benyan.