NPR

Will Morocco's Chinese-Funded 'Tech City' Ever Break Ground?

The Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City would stand in monument to China's expansion into a North African nation on Europe's doorstep. But experts say the project has stalled.
Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Li Biao, chairman of the Chinese Haite Group, are at the center of the launch of a Chinese investment project in Morocco, in March 2017. Source: Fadel Senna

In the desert scrubland of Morocco's Tangier region, a donkey laden with water bottles trots down a pebble lane chased by two small children. A farmer herds his cows in the near distance. Crickets leap in the dry grass.

It's within these gently undulating hills, just inland from the coast, that China plans to build an entire city that will stand in monument to its expansion into a North African nation on Europe's doorstep.

At a grand signing ceremony in March of last year, Li Biao, the CEO of the Chinese Haite Group, outlined the ambition: a city of gleaming high towers and industrial zones that will attract as many as 100 Chinese companies and expected investment of $10 billion over the next decade. According to, the area is expected to cover 7.7 square miles — about six times the size of Central Park in New York.

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