“There is great collaboration currently between Saudi Arabia & China, especially when it comes to information and communications technology,” Ahmed Al-Thenayan, Deputy Minister of Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) said in an interview on Wednesday.

“We have big players from China in the telecommunications market, which have helped us with the development of digital economy,” Al-Thenayan said.

On Wednesday at the annual Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Jollychic, an online retailer operated by a Chinese e-commerce company named Jolly Information Technology Co Ltd, signed a memorandum of understanding with MCIT on establishing comprehensive partnership.

This MoU is another milestone for Jollychic, a leading e-commerce company in Saudi Arabia, following the establishment of its strategic partnership with Saudi Arabian General Authority (SAGIA) at the beginning of this year.

Commenting on the comprehensive partnership between MCIT and Jollychic, Al-Thenayan said the partnership reflects the expanding cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia in digital sectors.

This partnership falls within the framework of the China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership and will also contribute significantly to the achievement of the Saudi Vision 2030, the Saudi official noted.

A first-tier e-commerce company in the Middle East, Jollychic is among the first to do e-commerce business in the Gulf region. With increasing market influence, it now has more than 50 million users on its online platforms.

With an international vision and local commitment, Jollychic combines China’s competitive edges in e-commerce and digital ecosystem with the consideration of local customers’ needs to expand its markets.

Jollychic has developed a unique corporate social responsibility framework named TIES, which means technology sharing (T), investment commitment (I), employment promotion (E) and social responsibility (S).

According to Dennis Du, Vice President of Jollychic, the output value of the Saudi digital sector increased by over 34 percent in 2018, as the kingdom aims to increase the contribution of e-commerce and trade to retail industry to 80 percent by 2020.

“The main objective of today’s agreement is to expand Jollychic’s services in the kingdom,” Al-Thenayan said, noting Jollychic’s fast business development and further investment in the kingdom highlight the cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia.

With the TIES framework, Jollychic has enjoyed a higher reputation with closer communication and ties with the Saudi government, industry peers and local communities.

Jollychic has always been promoting local employment and technology sharing and has been a model company in Saudi digital sector, Al-Thenayan noted.

This year’s FII focuses on topics such as investment, technology and society. During the conference, both Saudi Ministry of Housing and Ministry of Health invited Jollychic to join them in several key social projects.

“We have Jollychic on the e-commerce side and other Chinese companies collaborating in many different fields. We welcome all leading companies in China to come here and invest,” Al-Thenayan said.

Jollychic has achieved first-mover advantage through its relentless efforts and localisation strategy over the years, as the download rate of Jollychic App has now exceeded 80 percent in the Middle East, Du noted.

“With the acceleration of Saudi reform and opening up, the deepening cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia, and the Belt & Road Initiative, Jollychic is being offered a great opportunity of business development in the Middle East,” he concluded.