Qin Yong, vice-president of the China-Arab Exchange Association, reports rising interest among Chinese companies in projects of reconstruction in Syria. “We get phone inquiries every day…. They see huge business potential there because the entire country needs to be rebuilt.” The enthusiasm is reciprocated by the Syrians, says Qin. “They’re like, don’t come tomorrow, come tonight!”
Qin’s association estimates there could be about $2 billion of investment at this stage. Qin says the companies he’s been escorting to Damascus, Homs, and Tartus — including China National Heavy Duty Truck Company, whose Hong Kong-listed arm is Sinotruk– are eyeing projects to build roads, bridges, airports and hospitals and to restore electricity and communications.
Since the United States, EU, Saudis, and the Arab Gulf States are withholding promised funds for reconstruction, using them to bargain for the demise of Syrian President Bashar al Assad in peace talks, China is moving constructively into a vacuum in Syrian reconstruction projects.