BAHRAIN is about to get its very own Chinatown, it has emerged.
Construction of the multimillion-dinar Dragon City will start soon and the 46,000sqm first phase will be operational by the third quarter of 2014, China Middle East Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (Chinamex) chairman Hao Feng revealed yesterday.
The project, boasting Chinese style architecture and buildings coupled with a strong Bahraini influence, is being developed by Diyar Al Muharraq at its project off the coast of Muharraq.
"This will be similar to a very large shopping centre where hundreds of Chinese companies will do business and showcase their products," Mr Hao told the GDN.
"This will attract not only people from Bahrain, but also from Saudi Arabia, and will be an opportunity for Chinese companies to promote themselves throughout the region."
He said the concept of the Dragon City had been drawn up jointly by Chinamex and Diyar Al Muharraq, but the total cost of the development has not been announced.
"We are now ready to go ahead with this development, which will be a striking new project for Bahrain," added Mr Hao.
Diyar Al Muharraq chairman Abdulhakeem Alkhayyat said the project would make a significant contribution to the development of Bahrain's economic and cultural sectors.
"The Dragon City project, a large-scale trade platform with functions of product exhibition, retail and wholesale, with Chinese architectural and cultural aspects, will be marketed and managed by Chinamex," he said.
"Target groups will include Chinese enterprises and businessmen who seek to sell their products and services in Bahrain, local citizens and international visitors."
He said the agreement was another step forward for bilateral co-operation between Bahrain and China, which would enhance economic and cultural exchange.
"We have so far been successful in attracting foreign investment and capital to Bahrain, which has created more job opportunities and contributed to the welfare and security of Bahrain's society," he added.
Mr Alkhayyat said the Dragon City would not only increase foreign investment, but could attract more than half a million visitors a year.
"The creation of a large number and variety of jobs is inevitable with the quality of service, infrastructural and other exceptional features, which will distinguish this from any other development."
He said Chinamex was already established in the region and had experience in promotion, management and operation of similar projects, especially the Dragon Mart in Dubai and the Chinese City in Mexico.
Diyar Al Muharraq chief executive Aaref Hejres said Dragon City was just one of several investment projects due to be launched.
"We are confident that investors and the nation will be pleased to see what is in store," he added.