ASTANA – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held several meetings May 18 with the senior management of large Chinese companies engaged in the production, processing, and transportation of oil and gas, petrochemistry, energy, metallurgy, telecommunications, as well as financial and banking activities and the investment sector. The meetings were held as part of the Kazakh-Chinese investment roundtable, the Akorda press service reported.
According to the Director of the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies (KazISS), Yerkin Tukumov, China is becoming one of the key partners in diversifying the Kazakh economy.
“This visit will be special in developing the Kazakh-Chinese strategic relations in investment and trade… Given its location, Kazakhstan should take full advantage of attracting Chinese investments and developing transit,” Tukumov said.
Tokayev’s state visit to China is bearing fruit. According to CITIC Group Chair Zhu Hexin, the company signed five commercial documents worth over $1.6 billion with Kazakh partners to implement projects in the energy and petrochemical industries.
During the meeting with the Chairman of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Dai Houliang, the sides addressed cooperation in energy, transportation, and oil and gas processing.
Dai shared plans to strengthen cooperation with the Kazakh side by expanding the Shymkent oil refinery’s production capacity and increasing the Kazakhstan-China pipeline’s throughput capacity.
According to Tukumov, the state visit will enable solving many strategic tasks and kickstart joint investment projects.
Tokayev also met with Qian Zhimin, chairman of the State Power Investment Corporation, one of the leading Chinese energy companies actively investing in green energy projects in Kazakhstan. They discussed the company’s intention to create a large-scale wind power plant with a capacity of one gigawatt in the Zhambyl Region. Qian also briefed the President on the company’s plans to begin wind power plant equipment production in Kazakhstan.
Qian stated the company intends to develop a thermal power plant with a capacity of up to 200 gigacalories in southern Kazakhstan as part of its social responsibility.
Tokayev and Zhang Jinjun, general director of China Nonferrous Metal Mining, discussed the Chinese company’s intention to establish a copper smelter in Kazakhstan in collaboration with KAZ Minerals.
The Kazakh President and Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), considered the financial institution’s future ambitions in Kazakhstan.
Tokayev praised the bank’s cooperation, noting Kazakhstan was among the first to support China’s decision to establish it in 2015. During that time, projects were launched in Kazakhstan with the assistance of the AIIB, including in the field of green energy and in combating the effects of the pandemic.
The President was also briefed about the plans by Huawei and the Kazakhstan Temir Zholy national railway company to carry out a joint project to digitize the railway network during a meeting with the Chairman of Huawei Technologies, Liang Hua.
Tokayev also praised the start of a project to teach high-level Kazakh specialists in IT technologies at the Huawei Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Academy.
During the meeting with the Chairman of Sun Seven Stars Investment Group Wu Zheng, the sides addressed investment cooperation in the financial sector, digitalization and online trading, and cooperation with the Astana International Financial Center.
Sun Seven Stars Investment Group is one of China’s largest private media and investment conglomerates.
Despite global economic issues, Kazakhstan and China enjoy effective trade and economic cooperation, with bilateral trade reaching a record $31 billion in 2022. Since 2005, the gross inflow of Chinese investments in Kazakhstan has reached $23.2 billion, making China the fourth largest investor in the Kazakh economy after the Netherlands, the United States, and Switzerland.
Tokayev and President of China Xi Jinping signed a joint statement on the first day of the Kazakh President’s state visit on May 17, reaffirming their commitment to deepen the eternal all-round strategic partnership.