Bahrain sees 'growing interest' from Chinese tech firms 

  • Chinese tech companies are recognizing that Bahrain is a great hub for e-commerce, said Simon Galpin of the Bahrain Economic Development Board.
  • The Gulf state has been building a digital economy in an effort to reduce reliance on oil revenues.
  • More international companies are setting up shop in the kingdom, Galpin said at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has been receiving more attention from Chinese e-commerce companies as it diversifies its economy away from oil.

There's "growing interest" from China's tech sector, said Simon Galpin, managing director of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, a public agency that helps companies set up and expand their business in the Gulf state.

"Chinese e-commerce companies recognize that the Middle East and the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], in particular, are really good markets," he told CNBC's Martin Soong at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin on Thursday.

Like many other Middle Eastern economies, Manama is focusing on building a digital economy in an effort to reduce reliance on revenues from energy.

Manama, Bahrain
Phil Weymouth/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Manama, Bahrain

"Bahrain, because its a great transportation hub, is seen as a great place for fulfillment centers so companies that are going to do deliveries into Saudi Arabia can position themselves in Bahrain and make those deliveries over the causeway," Galpin explained.

The island nation has rolled out austerity measures as it looks to cut its budget deficit, which is soon expected to hit 11.9 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund. But Galpin noted that the country has seen "strong growth" in the start-up and fintech space.

International companies are increasingly setting up shop in the kingdom due to its nature as a cost-effective hub, he said.