Source: Global Times Published: 2018-8-30
Affluent Gulf countries like the United Arab Emirates (the UAE) and Saudi Arabia are eager to attract investment from Chinese companies and businessmen as China's economic relations with the Middle East have expanded smoothly in recent years under the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative framework.
Salem Ahmad Abdullah Almoosa, chairman and general manager of the Dubai-based real estate and tourism project Falconcity of Wonders, who will attend the upcoming Dubai Property Show in Shanghai from Friday to Sunday, said that he is eager to bring the project to the attention of Chinese investors.
"We would like Chinese investment (in the project). They can live in it (by buying houses) or develop amenities like hospitals, schools, buildings and so forth," he told the Global Times on Thursday.
According to him, the Chinese population in Falconcity has already exceeded 300. "But so far, such investment is still at a small scale. We want bigger-scale investment like multi-million dollar investment from Chinese partners," he said.
His call for Chinese investment is a sign of China's developing relationship with the UAE, which has led to a rising Chinese population in the UAE and closer economic and trade ties with the country.
Zhou Rong, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, said that there are more than 200,000 Chinese nationals living in Dubai. "They have activated the city's retail and small commodity industry."
A Chinese who works as a retail seller in the Gulf country of Bahrain surnamed Huang also said that in recent years, he saw many Chinese people buy houses in Dubai. "They need those homes because they're settling in Dubai," he told the Global Times on Thursday.
According to Zhou, China's business relations with Dubai and other UAE countries are not restricted to energy projects but also extend to modern infrastructure, IT and engineering projects. Some big Chinese companies also set up branches in the UAE to cover the entire Gulf.
Zhou said that China's business relations with other Gulf countries have also been on the rise in recent years. "For example, China has cooperated with Saudi Arabia in several oil refining projects, as well as other infrastructure projects in sectors like rail transportation and engineering," Zhou said, adding that Saudi Arabia has become quite reliant on Chinese investment in recent years.
According to Zhou, China's economic ties with Gulf countries are getting deeper under the framework of the B&R initiative proposed by the Chinese government.
"The Belt and Road initiative is in line with many Gulf countries' interests. So they have actively responded to the initiative, and this has stimulated China's business ties with the Middle East," he said.
Salem Ahmad Abdullah Almoosa said that the B&R initiative can help people from different countries get closer to each other. "Now, active business links between China and the UAE are making the two countries become close to each other, but the two countries should be even closer... We have to move forward," he said.
Zhou Rong is a senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.