Yu Tao says CSCEC ME is seeking JV partners in Saudi Arabia

EXCLUSIVE: CEO reveals what the Chinese state-owned builder needs from its Saudi Arabian partnerships

Yu Tao, president and CEO of CSCEC ME.
© ITP Media Group / Efraim Evidor
Yu Tao, president and CEO of CSCEC ME.

China State Construction and Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME) is looking to form joint venture (JV) partnerships with Saudi Arabia-based contractors, with president and chief executive officer Yu Tao confirming to Construction Week that the Chinese state-owned contractor was also participating in various tenders in the kingdom.

“We have been closely monitoring the Saudi market and we believe it has become a bit more mature,” Tao said, speaking on the contractor’s approach to potential opportunities in the kingdom, which has seen a string of high-profile project announcements over the past 12 months.

He added: “We see some more movement in Saudi Arabia. We are participating in some of the tenders and are in the negotiations with some clients. Hopefully we will have some breakthroughs and we can start with one project to test the waters.”

Tao, who featured at #2 in the 2019 Construction Week Power 100 list, said the Chinese contracting giant had been approached by “a number of Saudi government authorities” for various masterplans, including infrastructure and building elements.

He added: “We are just trying to closely monitor and have regular dialogue with certain clients on when would be the best time – and how – to penetrate the market. 

“They will have better understanding about the operations in the Saudi market and maybe have more experience in dealing with government authorities to make our construction process easier,” he explained.

“I’m [focusing on] partnerships between contractors so we can form JVs, take the challenge together, and manage the project better. We need reliable contractors.

“We want firms that have a good track record, and can deliver the project on time with good quality and safety performance. Their size is not so important – we care more about their performance."

CSCEC ME already has a strong presence in the UAE, and is working on projects such as Damac Properties' mixed-use megaproject Aykon City in Dubai.

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