In a recent press release, Bahrain has granted its first five Golden licenses and Whampoa Group, a multi-family office with investments in global tech firms, and its digital bank has received one of these licenses. The holders of Golden licenses are eligible if they will create more than 500 local jobs, or make an investment of over $50 million in their first years in the Kingdom while contributing to strengthening the Kingdom’s overall development.

The Kingdom of Bahrain has granted the first five Golden Licenses to projects presented by Citi, Eagle Hills Diyar W.L.L, Infracorp, Saudi Telecommunication Company (stc), and Whampoa Group. With a collective investment of upwards of USD 1.4 billion into Bahrain, the greenfield projects and expansions are expected to create more than 1,400 job opportunities within the next three years in support of the Kingdom’s Economic Recovery Plan goals.

The licenses were presented at the headquarters of each company to Michel Sawaya, Bahrain CEO for Citi; Dr. Maher Al Shaer, Managing Director of Eagle Hills Diyar W.L.L.; Majed AlKhan, CEO of Infracorp; Nezar Banabeela, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of stc Bahrain; and Shawn Chan, Group CEO of Whampoa Group. and a virtual signing event was organised for Singapore-based Whampoa Group.

The Bahrain Economic Development Board had welcomed Singapore based digital asset bank part of Whampoa Group to Bahrain earlier this year. The digital bank, which offers integrated financial solutions to serve institutions, innovators, and sophisticated investors globally, including digital banking services and the trading, custody, and asset management of digital assets, will open its operations in Bahrain by the end of year.

In 2022, Singapore’s Whampoa Group deployed about $100 million through a venture capital fund in start-ups in the burgeoning digital assets segment in Web3, digital assets, stablecoins and NFT. 

Whampoa Digital, the group’s digital assets investment arm, will invest in and incubate early stage startups in Web3 – a utopian vision of the internet where users, rather than shareholders, own websites and other online services.

In recognition of the Golden licenses’ launch, HE Abdulla Adel Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce, said, “The Golden License is a pivotal step towards successfully achieving the objectives of Bahrain’s Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to attract $2.5 billion in foreign investment by the end of 2023.”

HE Khalid Humaidan, Chief Executive at the (Bahrain EDB), said, “The Golden License is a successful public-private partnership that has created bespoke solutions for investors and start-up companies. It has provided them with fast-tracked approvals and several features and facilities that have enabled them to secure a global footprint from Bahrain.”