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Cause for celebration

The Chinese New Year provides a good opportunity to reflect on the strength of the relationship between the UAE and China.

People in the UAE will be among those celebrating Chinese New Year today. From private parties to big bashes at luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, thousands of people will usher in the Year of the Snake with enthusiasm and a great sense of optimism.

These celebrations underscore the very healthy state of the friendship and business relationship between China and the UAE. As The National reports today, 250,000 Chinese nationals made trips to the UAE last year - 30 per cent more than in 2011 - and a further 200,000 Chinese citizens work or study here.

About 3,800 Chinese companies have set up shop in the UAE, and China's annual investment in the Emirates is estimated at $170 million (Dh624 million). At the same time, UAE investment in China is also increasing.

This strategic partnership between the two nations was cemented last year with an exchange of visits between Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Blossoming relationships like this one are engines of economic growth, for the UAE and for China. So today, as a new year dawns on the Middle Kingdom, a hearty "xin nian kuai le" (that's "happy new year" in Mandarin) from the Middle East.

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