Dubai's status as the preferred re-export hub for Chinese traders is the biggest opportunity for financial firms, bankers say, as China begins to liberalise its currency and aims to position the yuan as an alternative to the US dollar.
"Trade [between the UAE and China] is in excess of US$30 billion (Dh110.2bn) per year and very few banks are focused on this," says Hameed Noor Mohamed, the head of emerging corporate banking at Mashreq.
"It is only natural that we want to capture this market."
In July, the bank became the first UAE lender to offer yuan-denominated accounts to Chinese companies and is hiring more Chinese-speaking staff. Small businesses, especially those based at Dragon Mart, are a crucial factor in the growth of this trade.
"If there's a smaller trader who wants to import from China, he doesn't have to fly all the way to China to get into a huge wholesale shipload," says Mr Mohamed. "It actually facilitates in breaking down the transaction to provide a greater reach for Chinese products."
Other banks are also seeking to tap this market. RAKBank says it is in the planning stages of developing yuan-denominated accounts to grow its links with Chinese small businesses, says Pritam Mirchandani, its head of business finance.
The interest comes as the Dubai International Financial Centre plans a push to become a regional yuan clearing and settlement hub.
ICBC Middle East said this month that remittances by Chinese companies in the region had increased in value seven-fold during the first half of the year compared with the same period last year.
During the same period, the volume of remittances grew by 150 per cent, the bank said. ICBC did not provide nominal figures for the increase in remittances.