Hong Kong Middle East Chamber Forum: could the UAE be China's gateway to the Middle East?
According to a report by CNBC, Chinese companies are showing more and more interest in the Middle Eastern Market, especially in relation to New Silk Road projects, with the UAE a particular focus as a potential gateway to the continent.
Today (Monday), the Hong Kong Middle East Chamber is hosting a “Belt and Road” forum to present opportunities in the Middle East to Chinese businesspeople.
Chairman of the Hong Kong Middle East Chamber, Azmat Mui Moosdeen, told the South China Morning Post: “The Belt and Road initiative has boosted interest in mainland companies investing in the Middle East Area… enquiries from mainland companies and individuals looking to invest in the UEA and some other Middle East countries has increased more than 10 times last year.”
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He added: “Chinese state-owned companies have shown a strong interest investing in infrastructure, such as ports, and logistics business. And individuals have also been looking at property investment for their own use, or for rental income. The UAE could be a good gateway for Chinese investors investing in the whole Middle East region.”
According to the South China Morning Post, the UAE currently handles about 60% of Chinas exports to the Middle East, worth about $70bn per year. China is the UAE’s econ biggest import partner after India, and handles a fifth of all Sino-Arab trade.
A Chinese company showing interest in expansion in the Middle East is Cosco Shipping Port which is currently constructing the CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal at its main Khalifa Port.
Cosco’s deputy managing director, Kelvin Wong Tin-Yau, told the South China Morning Post: “Our investment in Abu Dhabi is part of a global expansion plan, as we will need ports in all major locations around the world. Abu Dhabi is a gateway to Middle East countries which is why we need to have an operation there. The Belt and Road is an important national policy which our company strongly supports.”