China-Arab Entrepreneurs Summit: Significant Growth in China-UAE Bilateral Investment

Financials Author: EqualOcean News May 16, 2024 05:47 PM (GMT+8)

At the China-Arab Entrepreneurs Summit held in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador to the UAE Zhang Yiming announced that China's investment in the UAE has been growing at a rate of over 16% annually, reaching $1.3 billion in 2023, which accounts for 60% of China's total investment in Arab countries. Meanwhile, the UAE's investment in China grew by 120% in 2023, representing 90% of the total Arab investment in China.

Zhang Yiming pointed out that the cooperation between the UAE and China is multifaceted, with the UAE "remaining the second largest trade partner, the largest export market, and the third largest engineering market for China among Arab countries." The UAE is taking more measures to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

In 2023, the UAE attracted $23 billion in FDI across 1,277 projects, including sectors such as commercial and professional services, software and IT services, and financial services, making it the third largest FDI market globally.

Zhang Yiming stated, "The UAE and Saudi Arabia have become gateways for Chinese enterprises to go global, and the GCC countries have strengthened cooperation with China. Gulf sovereign wealth funds have directly invested $2.3 billion in China." This year, asset management firm Investcorp and China's CIC launched a $1 billion fund to invest in high-growth companies in the GCC countries and China.

Other Gulf region companies are also increasing their investments in China. For example, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) has invested RMB 44.8 billion in Chinese joint ventures this year, and Saudi Aramco is considering acquiring a 10% stake in Hengli Petrochemical.

Driven by growing demand and rising oil prices, trade between China and Arab countries has increased from $14.7 billion in 2011 to $500 billion in 2022. In 2019, Chinese AI giant SenseTime signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi to establish its regional R&D headquarters in the emirate, creating hundreds of jobs. By 2021, the total value of Chinese engineering contracts in Arab countries had reached $61.5 billion, the highest outside Asia.

In 2023, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office also partnered with Hong Kong's Arte Capital to help Chinese companies expand in the Middle East and North Africa region. This cooperation further strengthens economic ties between China and Arab countries, laying a solid foundation for future development.