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13 July 2024

UAE, China look to revive bilateral economic activity through first Economic and Trade Digital Expo

Photo: WAM


The UAE Ministry of Economy and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, CCPIT, have announced that they will together host the first China-UAE Economic and Trade Digital Expo on 15th July, a platform designed to reinvigorate trade activities between the two countries as they seek to lay the foundations for bilateral trade in the new digital economy.

Organised by Hala China - an initiative by Dubai Holding, and the China International Exhibition Centre Group Corporation, CIEC - the week-long event will see leading businesses from the UAE and China interact online to explore new enterprise and economic cooperation opportunities through a range of panel discussions with industry leaders. The seamless migration of the economic and trade interaction between the two countries to a digital platform reflects the focus of the recently-announced UAE cabinet restructuring – agile digital-first governance in a post-pandemic world.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Holding, said, "Bilateral trade between the UAE and China, like many, have met with a speedbump in 2020. Yet, the deep bonds, adaptability and ambitions to innovate that our two nations share will see us laying the foundations for mutual growth in the new digital economy we are transitioning towards.

"The inauguration of this digital trade expo is a case in point. The event is sure to spark a wave of new possibilities for trade and cultural exchanges between China and the UAE as we enter the reset and recovery phase of the global economic cycle."

Prior to the disruption caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, bilateral trade between China and the UAE had looked set to grow quickly, according to the UAE’s Ministry of Economy figures.

Official figures showed that bilateral trade exceeded US$50 billion in 2019 – a 16 percent increase from 2018. Non-oil exports from the UAE to China grew by 64 percent in the same period driven by the UAE’s aggressive economic diversification. The two countries had set their sights on bilateral trade climbing towards the $100 billion mark before the COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented global economic shock.

Sheikh Majid bin Abdulla Al Mualla, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hala China, said, "The Hala China initiative celebrates two years of existence this July. In this time, we have worked tirelessly to foster strong multi-faceted relationships between the two countries through events, cultural exchange and increased opportunities for businesses in the UAE and China. As the world works to recover and transition to a new way of life, our bilateral relations with China offer us new and strategic opportunities for mutual growth and cooperation in a post-pandemic world.

"The UAE is China’s most important trade partner in the Arab world, accounting for 26 percent of total non-oil-foreign trade between China and Arab countries. With this event we once again express our commitment to fostering a deeper relationship between our two nations."

The newly-launched China-UAE Economic and Trade Digital Expo, which aims to become a hub for collaborative business launches, trends and ideas across various sectors, expects to bring together over 100,000 attendees across the seven days of the event – it has already received registrations from over 1,000 exhibitors and more than 3,000 buyers.

Li Xuhang, Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai, said, "Crisis can be turned into opportunity. China-UAE Economic and Trade Digital Expo showcases how technology can be applied to create new forms of bilateral cooperation to deepen China-UAE’s community of shared future for mankind amid the COVID-19 pandemic, contribute to the economic recovery and Globalisation 2.0 in the post-pandemic period.

"China is at the forefront of e-commerce, with a 30 percent growth on major online sales platforms under the pandemic; it recently announced the establishment of 46 integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce. This event serves to transcend geographical boundaries for enterprises from China and UAE to conduct business match-making and realise trade opportunities, as well as to further global economic cooperation and development."

A key feature for exhibitors displaying their products will be the free-to-access 3D-light technology which will allow them to display their products on a digital platform in an innovative new way to buyers and audiences, who can see a 360 degree view of products by zooming in and out and rotating the product images on a smart device. The product models will be between 10–15 percent of the original sizes. The 3D-light technology, though available for the show, has been encrypted to prevent imitation, copying and reverse engineering.

During the expo, the software is available for free to all registered exhibitors, offering them a do-it-yourself conversion of products into 3D display by simply installing a tech conversion application on a smart device. Those that prefer to be assisted can provide event organisers with non-sensitive design data for the 3D light models to be uploaded on the platform.

To view the 3D-AR products, e-Visitors can scan a QR code on their smartphones or view the 3D models on a dedicated webpage by clicking the relevant link, without needing to install plug-ins or external software.

The opening ceremony of the Digital Trade Expo, which will be accessible to all on the dedicated webpage, will feature a series of introductions by dignitaries. E-visitors can access and listen in to any sessions. The investments and free zones segment of the exhibition is expected to contribute significantly to the growth of economic ties between the two nations. China’s largest free zone Hainan Free Trade Zone will introduce its various logistical and economic advantages to participants and viewers.

Daily activities during the week-long event include a series of webinars on "Digital Technology's Integration with the Tourism Sector Under Epidemic." Industry representatives will discuss opportunities in the travel and tourism sector at the webinars that will be available for all to view on the home page of the website.

The UAE’s educational institutions will be showcased during the ‘Study in UAE’ livestream that forms part of a campaign launched by the Ministry of Education in 2019. Education is a major pillar in The National Agenda 2021 vision and UAE Centennial 2071 strategy. Over the past two decades, the UAE’s higher education sector has seen tremendous growth, with eight universities listed among the top 3 percent in the world, according to the 2020 QS World Rankings. Two UAE universities rank among the top 50 universities in Asia according to the 2020 Times Higher Education World Rankings.

Panel discussions at the event include a session titled ‘City Brain’, which will see speakers from Dubai Airport Free Zone and ZTTC discussing the pioneering efforts to develop Hangzhou as a Smart City and Cross-Border E-Commerce hub. Other panels titled "International Investment" and "New Retail: the Future of the Retail Industry" will shine light on future possibilities and trends.

Informative livestream sessions and seminars titled "Innovation Agricultural Technology Park", and "Traditional Chinese Medicine in the UAE: Present and Future Trends" are also part of the seven-day programme.

The expo features a series of virtual exhibitions and discussions with keynote speakers spread between nine sessions - Smart Metropolitan and Big Data, Energy-Saving and New Energy Vehicles, Modern Agriculture, Free zone/Finance and Investment, New Building Materials, Textile and Fashion, Education, Healthcare Supply (medical items), and Travel and Tourism, through a series of virtual exhibitions and discussions with keynote speakers.