A consortium led by Jinko Power Technology, a China-based company specialising in solar power, has been contracted to build a 400MW solar power station near the city of Tabarjal in northern Saudi Arabia, according to Yicai Global, a Chinese media outlet.

The project will cost $315m (2.3bn yuan) and generate around 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours when operational.

In addition, Jinko Power said it plans to raise up to $137m through its Hong Kong unit to invest in overseas projects and repay debts, but the company has not said whether some of these funds will go towards the solar plant in Saudi Arabia.

Jinko Power Technology is a Chinese manufacturer and distributor of solar power plants and operates 5.7GW of solar power stations worldwide (as of the end of 2022).

In recent years, Beijing has stepped up its efforts to bring Riyadh closer into its orbit, with Chinese companies launching 23 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in Saudi Arabia in 2021, up from just five in 2020, according to GlobalData’s FDI database.

However, the relationship with China will remain mostly transactional, as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will seek to avoid heightening tensions with the US, which remains a major investor in the Middle Eastern country. In 2020 alone, Washington spent $11.38bn on FDI projects in Saudi Arabia, up from $11.1bn in 2019.

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Jinko Power has two projects in Saudi Arabia totalling $528m, according to GlobalData.