Chinese tech developer WonderNews Technology has announced the launch of its regional headquarters in Bahrain.
The company is focused on creating mobile apps, games and other digital platforms for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
It is planning to invest $50 million in Bahrain over the next three years, creating more than 500 jobs.
“We are developing various mobile applications such as games, e-commerce, video and live chatting and we also create content,” said WonderNews Technology chief executive Ou Zhenxing during an event at the Jumeirah Royal Saray yesterday.
“We chose Bahrain because the GCC is our target market and it’s a beautiful country with kind-hearted, hard-working people.
“There are so many good policies for investment in Bahrain and we were invited by the EDB (Economic Development Board) to establish a new branch in Bahrain and they gave us support.”
The company, established in 2015 by Fujian Wangle Technology, operates what is described as an Arab intelligent content distribution platform.
It is backed by the venture capital firm SB China Capital and its Bahrain office is located at United Tower, Bahrain Bay,
Mr Zhenxing explained the Bahrain operation would seek to develop content specific for the Arab market.
“Most of our developers are based in China so we need local talent to achieve localisation of our applications, to make them more popular and more interesting for our users in the GCC and Arab countries,” he added.
“Online training is also possible through our applications, so they can have an educational benefit, and we also want to make family-friendly applications.
“We believe that in the future Bahrain will develop better in this field because it has a good history and talent – and good policies to attract more foreign investment.
“Our strategic co-operation with the EDB has assisted us in seamlessly establishing a presence in Bahrain and using the kingdom as a regional hub to cover the Middle East.”
The announcement was made during an event attended by Capital Governor Shaikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Chinese Ambassador Anwaer, Economic Development Board (EDB) ICT and Startup Business Development director John Kilmartin, other officials and social media influencers from across the region.
WonderNews Technology has set a target of attracting more than 50 million users in the region to its products.
“This is a crucial launch as it will provide 500 employment opportunities, mostly targeted towards Bahraini youth,” said Shaikh Hisham.
“The experience that our youth will gain from these opportunities qualifies them and equips them to work in any place around the globe.”
Meanwhile, Mr Kilmartin stressed the importance of opportunities for Bahrainis in digital technology.
He added Bahrain’s legal framework, low-cost operating environment and talent pool made it an attractive proposition for foreign investors.
“It’s an opportunity for people to build their skills in the technology space to access those jobs, which are transferrable,” he said.
“You’re building a career in technology, as opposed to working in a company.
“That will have a huge influence, as it allows people to be very flexible in moving company or moving geographically.
“The investment that WonderNews is making is very significant for Bahrain, but to me it’s more the skills that we can build and for Bahrain to continue to become an attractive place for similar companies to set up.”
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