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福布斯中国新版网站试运营中,如需浏览旧版福布斯中国,请点击 登录 注册 投稿 APP下载 邮件订阅 关注我们: 榜单 活动 Insights 领导力 创新 FGA 商业 寰宇 投资 生活·文娱 女性 搜索 Chinese|EN Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Ajlan, Deputy Chairman, Ajlan & Bros Group Building a business bridge between China and Saudi Arabia and sharing development opportunities with an increasing number of partners. BrandVoice • Mohammed Al Ajlan stressed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has laid a strong foundation for achieving prosperity by implementing a package of legislative, regulatory, and economic reforms. • He confirmed during his interview that the company’s investments in China will witness new growth consistent with market changes and innovative opportunities. • Ajlan & Bros started from a modest store in Riyadh to today becoming a globally diversified conglomerate, an economic force, and a source of inspiration.   The story of Ajlan & Bros traces its humble beginnings back to a small shop in ‘Al-Deira’ Riyadh. Founded by four visionary brothers – Ajlan, Saad, Mohammed, and Fahad – in 1979, this enterprise has since blossomed into one of Saudi Arabia's most renowned companies, specializing in textiles and fabrics. Through their dedication and innovation, Ajlan & Bros has transformed into a dynamic global force, reaching customers around the world.   The company specializes in manufacturing classic menswear and offers a wide range of products, including ready-made and winter clothing. With a workforce of over 15,000 employees spread across more than 25 countries, the company has made a significant impact on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf region. The company is renowned for its expertise in traditional menswear, featuring iconic items like Yashmagh and Ghuttra, along with an extensive collection of ready-made garments. These products have contributed to the company's remarkable success and established it as a leading name in the Arabian Gulf's menswear industry.   In addition to its achievements in the fashion sector, Ajlan & Bros has made substantial investments in the real estate industry. These investments encompass properties in Saudi Arabia, Europe, Asia, the United States, and China. Furthermore, the company participates actively in stock markets across 25 countries, further diversifying its portfolio and global footprint.   Mohammed Al Ajlan, Deputy Chairman of the Ajlan & Bros Group, is considered a leading businessman in Asia, specifically in Saudi China business circles, was nominated to be Chairman of the Saudi-Chinese Business Council (SCBC). Recognised as one of the most important institutions, the SCBC is credited with raising trade and economic exchange between the private sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People’s Republic of China.   In this dialogue, Mohammed Al Ajlan spoke about Ajlan & Bros Group’s expansion into China, economic outlook between Saudi and China, and Ajlan's perspectives on ESG and innovation.   Q: Saudi Arabia’s economy is booming, unemployment is at a record low, the output gap is closed, inflation is contained, and fiscal and external buffers have been rebuilt. The continuation of ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ reforms has helped advance the country’s economic diversification agenda, including through reduced reliance on oil. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities that lie ahead to achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals?   A: Since the initiation of Saudi Vision 2030, we have established a robust groundwork for prosperity through the implementation of groundbreaking reforms in the public sector, the economy, and our society at large. Despite facing challenges, we have acquired valuable experiences and bolstered our determination to achieve our objectives. These endeavours have resulted in enhanced governmental efficiency, the creation of fresh opportunities for growth and investment, increased global involvement, and an elevated quality of life for our citizens. These accomplishments are shared by all the individuals of our nation.   We are steadfastly following the guidance of His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Our primary objective is to transition our economy from one that heavily relies on oil to a more diversified, non-oil-based economy. Currently, oil serves as the fundamental pillar of our economy due to our significant oil reserves, which position the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a leading global energy supplier. However, adhering to this approach indefinitely may result in economic vulnerability and hinder our pursuit of long-term, sustainable economic growth. Notably, the younger generation, both male and female, is entering the business arena, and Saudi Vision 2030 is instrumental in transforming our economy from oil-centric to non-oil-centric. This transformation encompasses various sectors, including industrial, artificial intelligence, technology, advanced technology, entertainment, and many more, all in alignment with the programs and objectives outlined in the Vision.   Q: Since its establishment in 1979, Ajlan & Bros Group has consistently set new standards for excellence in the textile industry within the region. As a well-established enterprise in Saudi Arabia, you have a rich history of successfully adapting to economic and market dynamics. Let's explore some of your key milestones and highlights.   A: First and foremost, the global pandemic and its subsequent crises presented profound challenges for individuals and businesses worldwide. However, amid adversity, we chose to adopt a forward-looking perspective and identified numerous opportunities. This is not to say that we remained unscathed; indeed, we felt the impact. Nevertheless, we diligently searched for and seized opportunities, much like during other crises in history. By carefully examining the situation, we were able to identify these opportunities. It was a matter of striking a balance between the challenges we faced and the opportunities that emerged.   Crucially, the unwavering support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's policies and government approach played a pivotal role in sustaining our performance during these trying times. For instance, the implementation of quarantine measures was executed with flexibility rather than being overly restrictive. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's government policies and approach served as our most significant ally in maintaining our business performance.   Q: In 2002, Ajlan & Bros embarked on its journey to enter the Chinese market. Can you elaborate on the primary obstacles and advantages you encountered during this endeavour?   A: With a history spanning over four decades, we take pride in our journey of development and the rich heritage we've cultivated as one of the inaugural Saudi private sector companies to establish a presence in China over twenty-years ago.   Our venture began in 2002 when we inaugurated our first company and factory in Jiangsu Province, called Suzhou Daylon Textile Co., Ltd. This marked the genesis of our journey in China. In 2003, we took another significant step by establishing Shandong Lawrence Textile Co. in Zaozhuang, Shandong Province. As we celebrate the 22nd anniversary of our presence in the Chinese market this year, we reflect on this remarkable milestone. The success we experienced in China bolstered our confidence, and over the ensuing decade, we continued to extend our footprint within the garment industry. Our journey led us to establish more than ten factories throughout the country.   Over the past two decades, we have witnessed China undergo significant transformations. Today, we possess a profound understanding of the country, its governance, corporate landscape, and its people. In 2015, we embarked on a strategic initiative to reposition our businesses in China. This began with the relocation of all our manufacturing resources to Shandong Province, where we envisioned creating an integrated textile hub and apparel supply chain enterprise. This transformation encompassed every stage and process, from raw materials to finished products. Our efforts paid off, as in 2020, we achieved the status of being the top exporter in Zaozhuang City, with a turnover exceeding USD 100 million.   In 2017, driven by the aspirations of Saudi Vision 2030, we formally established Ajlan & Bros Holding Group (ABHG) to diversify our business portfolio. Recognizing the prominent global roles played by Chinese enterprises in various sectors, we embarked on an ambitious diversification journey. This involved focusing on investment opportunities in our priority sectors, which encompass financial services, consumer-oriented manufacturing, technology and AI, healthcare, education, gaming, metals and mining, hospitality and tourism, and logistics. Our goal is to become the preferred partner of choice for leading and ambitious Chinese companies seeking to expand their operations in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and North Africa. As a result, we have expanded beyond the textile industry, and we remain poised to adapt to economic and market shifts in the years to come.     Q: With brands such as Drosh and Shemagh Projeh, Ajlan & Bros established a network of factories in China which have achieved unparalleled results creating high quality products, whilst conforming to the best international standards. What would you say are the highlights of your operations as well as your growth strategy in China?   A: At Ajlan & Bros Holding Group, our primary focus lies in cultivating a strategically diversified investment portfolio that centres around key sectors in line with the pillars of Saudi Vision 2030. Through a well-considered approach, we work to localize global value chains effectively within the Saudi Arabian context.   To accomplish this, we have forged vital partnerships and joint ventures with an array of esteemed Chinese and international enterprises, facilitating the integration and localization of their innovations, products, and services into the MENA region. Leveraging our deep-rooted local knowledge in conjunction with the technological prowess of our partners, we make strategic investments in various sectors and successfully introduce and implement these collaborative ventures in Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region.   One such venture, Tiqmo, based in Saudi Arabia, focuses on the burgeoning fintech industry, and is powered by the technological expertise of Chinese company Swiftpass. This partnership is instrumental in expediting Saudi Arabia's transition towards a cashless economy.   Additionally, the Group has entered a collaboration with SF International, China's premier integrated express logistics service provider, leading to the establishment of the joint venture AJEX earlier this year. This initiative is geared towards introducing the latest advancements in logistics to the Saudi Arabian market.   Q: Ajlan & Bros is a successful group in Saudi Arabia with a proven track record of predicting and reacting to economic and market changes. It has deep roots in Saudi society. What are the core principles that have made the group such an ongoing success?   A: Ajlan & Bros Group, is a Saudi Arabian family business, and proudly achieved a listing in Forbes' esteemed 2024 Top 100 Arab Family Businesses in the Middle East. Our unwavering commitment revolves around harnessing every possible emerging opportunity to unlock both our enterprise and societal value, underpinned by the formidable reputation and resilience of our family.   Our board members occupy influential positions across the private and public sectors. For example, my brother Ajlan Abdulaziz Al Ajlan is the Chairman of Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, whilst I lead as Chairman of the Saudi-Chinese Business Council.   As a group, we have significantly expanded our footprint in China, seizing the ever-growing opportunities stemming from China's rapid growth, investment potential, and progressive openness. This journey aligns with the increasingly close bilateral relations between China and Saudi Arabia.   Our quest led us to seek out prominent Chinese companies operating in our target industries, encompassing technology, healthcare, logistics, finance and fintech, tourism, mining, industrial manufacturing, water and power, FMCG, entertainment and gaming, and retail – all of which resonate with the pillars of Saudi Vision 2030. These companies have embarked on global expansion initiatives and are actively exploring opportunities within the MENA region.   To bolster our presence in China and ensure the deployment of top talent in strategically vital locations, we have established four dedicated investment offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. These unique hubs have played an instrumental role in fostering collaborations with Chinese enterprises. Our China-based investment team boasts extensive industry experience and was recruited from prominent players in the region.   Q: On human capital, the fully digital business needs to add new skills to its workforce, lose some traditional skill sets, and forge a dynamic team out of old workers and new. This is arguably the toughest leadership challenge as traditional firms transform themselves for the digital age. What sort of corporate culture is most likely to succeed?   A: We possess a profoundly rich history characterized by diligent hard work, unwavering resilience, and a culture of innovation. These attributes are deeply ingrained within our family, extend across our diverse business ventures, and resonate throughout our global teams. This enduring resilience and strong work ethic empowers us to navigate and triumph over any external challenges that may confront us.   Our substantial investment in top-tier global talent has further fortified our capacity to tackle these challenges effectively. Our workforce represents our most prized asset on a global scale, positioning us favourably to not only comprehend the persistent challenges at hand but also to evolve and thrive in response to them.   Q: How do you envision the future of Saudi-China relations?   A: The flourishing trade connections between China and Saudi Arabia offer substantial opportunities for private sector entities like us. China has held the position of Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner since 2013, while Saudi Arabia has been China's most significant trading partner in the Middle East since 2001. China and Saudi Arabia strive to transition their economies towards sustainability and we take pride in acting as a bridge between these two countries, facilitating discussions, investments, and other mutually advantageous prospects.   Given the alignment between China's ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and ‘Saudi Vision 2030’, we are honoured to serve as the gateway for introducing Chinese investments and technologies to Saudi Arabia and the broader MENA region. We remain committed to identifying further Chinese partners and enabling their entry into the Saudi and MENA markets, resulting in mutual benefits. On one hand, we assist Chinese companies in accessing global markets, and on the other, the Chinese enterprises we bring in contribute to the transformation of the Saudi economy in our pursuit of Saudi Vision 2030.   Our dedication to development, cooperation, and win-win outcomes aligns with China's values, and we will continue to explore ways to support China's path to future economic growth, all while advancing our own.   The key opportunity lies in Saudi Arabia for Chinese enterprises due to the synergies between the demand for next-generation technologies, products, and services on the supply side that can contribute to the realization of Saudi Vision 2030.     Disclaimer: Please be advised that the above content is part of a commercial collaboration. Some or all data used for research has been sourced from our partners and third parties. The views and conclusions expressed herein are based on the analysis of the aforementioned data and should not be construed as investment advice or a recommendation for any specific course of action. return Innopolis SEZ, a City Built on "Code" Since the world entered the information age, high-tech industries centered around information technology have become the vanguard force driving national and regional development, and are also an important component of many countries' overall development strategies. Kamasteel - Tatarstan's master of color coating of steel sheets Which brand will Tatarstani choose when picking up home appliances this year? With accelerated product upgrades, the famous truck brand KAMAZ makes an amazing turnaround In recent years, KAMAZ has frequently appeared on the international stage, launching a series of impressive products including new gas engine vehicles, self-driving dump trucks, and large all-electric buses. 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