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The head of the UAE’s largest free trade zone visited China to find local partners

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(First Financial News) On July 3, Ahmed bin Sulayem, CEO of Dubai Multi Commodity Center, the largest free trade zone in the United Arab Emirates, visited China to look for business partners for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sulayem, executive chairman of DMCC, told Yicai Global that China has always been one of the most important strategic markets for the UAE. He added that the visit is not only to attract business investment, but also to find more Chinese partners.

As the Gulf countries headed by Saudi Arabia seek economic transformation, the UAE business community has also begun to come to China to find new partners.

Sulayem noted that the state-owned DMCC was established in 2002 to increase the volume of commodities traded in Dubai. He added that in the five months to May 31, the number of Chinese companies setting up in the free trade zone rose by nearly 25 percent from the same period last year, doubling in the past six years, with an average of two new businesses per week. Businesses join.

According to the China Representative Office of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the number of Chinese companies registered with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce has surged by 50% to more than 6,000 in the past six years.

Last month, Chinese electric vehicle startup NIO said it received a $738.5 million investment from CYVN Holdings, an investment firm backed by the Abu Dhabi government. The investor will also buy another 40.1 million Nio shares from Tencent Holdings, giving it a roughly 7% stake in the Shanghai-based automaker.

In 2020, DMCC opened a China service center in its headquarters building, providing support in Mandarin to attract Chinese companies to set up offices in the free trade zone. It also conducts online promotions through Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat, Xiaohongshu, and Zhihu.

Sulayem said that the UAE has set a goal of achieving a bilateral trade volume of US$200 billion between China and the UAE by 2030. “This is mainly driven by trade diversification, with non-oil trade between the UAE and China growing by 18% last year, according to UAE statistics,” he added.

The United Arab Emirates, China’s sixth-biggest source of crude oil, last year imported 42.8 million tonnes, up 34% from 2021, official data showed.

Editors: Shi Yi, Martin Kadiev

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