August 4, 2009 / 5:47 PM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX-China's economic interests in Algeria

Aug 4 (Reuters) - About 100 local residents and Chinese migrant workers fought using knives and bludgeons in the Algerian capital, witnesses said on Tuesday, in a flare-up of tension over Chinese immigration.

A diplomat with China’s embassy in Algiers said the incident would not deter Chinese companies from working in the North African country, where they are already among the most visible foreign investors.

Below are details of some of China’s growing economic interests in Algeria:

* ENGINEERING - Algeria is spending billions of dollars overhauling its infrastructure and in the process has become one of the biggest overseas markets for Chinese engineering contractors. Chinese firms are involved in sectors ranging from housing construction, public works and hydro-electricity projects to mining and transport.

* MAJOR CONTRACTS - China’s CITIC Group and China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) were among several foreign firms which won contracts in 2006 to build Algeria’s 1,216 km (756 mile) East-West highway. The total value of the project is estimated at $11 billion. Earlier this year, the Chinese civil engineering group CCECC won three contracts worth a total of $2.10 billion to build railways in western Algeria.

* LABOUR - Chinese companies awarded engineering and construction projects by the Algerian government often use Chinese labour. As a result, Chinese workers can frequently be seen building apartment blocks or new roads.

* ENERGY - Chinese state-owned energy giants Sinopec and CNPC have won exploration contracts in Algeria, an OPEC member and major oil and gas producer. Chinese firms have indicated interest in bidding for new acreage in a fresh licensing round this year.

* SMALL-SCALE BUSINESS - Chinese entrepreneurs often rent out properties where they set up shops selling imported clothes or other items. These businesses can be found across the country, not just in the capital.

* POLITICAL TIES - These have reflected the growing economic links between Beijing and Algiers. Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Algiers in February 2004. His Algerian counterpart, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, visited China in October 2000. The two leaders have also met several times on the sidelines of international meetings.

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