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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 August 2018

China develops growing appetite for UAE tech sector  

Chinese companies such as tech giant Huawei find Emirates' progressive technology policies are a key draw   

Ammar Al Malik, CEO of Internet City. Chinese firms are being drawn to the hub. Pawan Singh / The National
Ammar Al Malik, CEO of Internet City. Chinese firms are being drawn to the hub. Pawan Singh / The National

Dubai is an increasingly attractive trade and investment destination for Chinese investors looking for an opportunity in the city’s rapidly evolving tech industry, with the value of trade between UAE and China at almost Dh195.8 billion last year, according to the Ministry of Economy.

With a thriving technology sector, deepening bilateral ties with China, and recent announcements by the UAE Cabinet to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in certain onshore industries, the Emirtaes' domestic IT market, now worth almost Dh29bn, is expected to grow at an average of 5 per cent a year in between 2017 and 2022, according to IDC.

Dubai Internet City – whose partners include leading Chinese companies such as Huawei, UnionPay, China Telecom Middle East and Oceanblue Cloud – is a major driver of this sector.

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“China has long been one of the UAE’s most important international trading partners," said Ammar Al Malik, executive director of Dubai Internet City.

"As our local tech industry matures amid game-changing reforms in our trade and investment laws, we are confident that Chinese citizens will find a wealth of investment and employment opportunities to explore here in Dubai.”

The UAE’s progressive tech policies are a key enabler for global ICT infrastructure and smart device manufacturing giant Huawei, the firm said.

“At the heart of the Huawei ethos is our dedication to innovation and knowledge sharing, and we could not have asked for a better environment than the Emirates to fulfil these ideals," said Li Xiangyu (Space Lee), vice president, public affairs and communications, Huawei Middle East.

"The UAE Government, as well as our local partners and customers, have demonstrated that they share our relentless drive for innovation and exploration."

The new 100 per cent foreign ownership laws are among drivers expected to create significant growth opportunities for private firms and increased foreign investment, in part aided by the recent launch of the Dh55bn China New Era Technology Fund aiming to invest or acquire firms across China and around the world.

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