Trade and investment ties with China will take a significant step forward this week as a 100-member delegation from Hangzhou will meet the UAE business community in the first initiative of its kind since His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited the Far Eastern country earlier this year.
Chinese investment in the UAE currently stands at $300 million (Dh1.1trn) with another $1bn under negotiation, while UAE investment in China is approximately $1bn, a senior Dubai official said. "We hope trade and investment will continue as we work towards building stronger ties between the two countries," Ahmad bin Byat, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Dubai Government, told Emirates Business in an exclusive interview.
The delegation from Hangzhou is led by Wang Guoping, a former primary school teacher, who is now a member of the Standing Committee of Communist Party Congress (CPC), Zhejiang Committee, and Chairman of Hangzhou Municipal Congress. The delegation represents the key sectors of real estate, banking and finance, trade and hospitality.
"Given the increased interaction from both Dubai and Hangzhou, other leading business representatives from sectors such as construction, IT, environment, service outsourcing, manufacturing, education, chemical engineering and development zones will also participate in the event. We are confident of establishing key ties that will register significant growth in the long term," Bin Byat said.
With a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $8,063, Hangzhou (pictured above) is ranked eighth among the 659 Chinese cities. Its foreign trade sector is estimated to be worth up to $5.58bn, while the total import and export volume amounts to $4.5bn.
The UAE and China have a long history of economic and business cooperation. While Dubai's trade with China jumped 47 per cent in 2007, China is the UAE's second largest trade partner.
Part of the Hangzhou delegation is Xu Ronggen, Chairman of the Zhejiang Jian Hua Group that operates in the plastics, machinery and chemicals sectors. He said: "In the next few years, our group will be committed to the development of the Hangzhou International Trade Centre. The construction area of 310,000 square meters will be built into a large-scale retail theme. We are looking for investment capital from Dubai."
Li Jie, Chief Executive of real estate development company Cosmos Group, said her interest lies in Dubai's "advanced real estate projects", and she is looking at a possible exchange of construction and building technology.
The Dubai Chamber will play host to the 100-strong Hangzhou delegation to the Dubai-HangZhou Economic Co-operation Forum tomorrow. The forum will host industry workshops that will be facilitated by senior representatives from HSBC and PricewaterhouseCoo-pers drawing high level delegates from Hangzhou.
Gao Yushen, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the UAE, said: "From the time China and the UAE established diplomatic relations in 1984, we made significant progress on the economic level as well. While China is now the UAE's second largest import partner, the forum will continue to channel the flow of trade between the two destinations, highlighting potential opportunities in various industries."
Hisham Abdullah Al Shirawi, second vice-chairman of Dubai Chamber, said: "Hangzhou is by far one of the most promising economies in the world. Parallels can be drawn between the two rapidly expanding cities in relation to the projects under way. Like Dubai, Hangzhou is an attractive investment destination."