In a bid to bolster its global network further, the Middle Eastern carrier, Qatar Airways has bought a 5% stake in the state-owned Chinese carrier, China Southern Airlines Co.
A filing by China Southern revealed on Wednesday that Qatar Airways had purchased shares of the Guangzhou-based airline that were listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
According to the filing, Qatar Airways now holds 613.36 million shares of China Southern, with the investment making the airline the fourth-biggest shareholder of the mainland carrier – which is one of China’s ‘big three’ carriers.
The move, which is part of Qatar Airways’ plan to invest in the strongest carriers around the world and establish itself in the Asian aviation market, comes as the carrier focusses on implementing its strategy of blue-chip deals.
So far, as part of this strategy, Qatar Airways has bought 20 percent of British Airways owner IAG SA, 10 percent of South American carrier Latam Airlines Group SA and nearly a similar stake in Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.
Commenting on the move, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement, “There are opportunities for us to work together and build a long-term relationship in ways that would bring benefits to customers of both airlines.”
While the state-owned airline did not reveal the cost of the transaction, it said in a statement that the deal was part of its “strategy to invest in the strongest airlines around the world.”
The deal comes merely a month after Qatar government officials announced that China has become Doha’s third largest trade partner.
Officials noted that bilateral exports and imports totalled more than $10 billion in 2017.