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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Sino-UAE relations continue to grow strong

A history of the growing relationship between China and the UAE

Performers at the opening of Middle East's first Chinese Visa Application Centre in Dubai. Navin Khianey for The National
Performers at the opening of Middle East's first Chinese Visa Application Centre in Dubai. Navin Khianey for The National

Diplomatic relations between China and the UAE were established back in 1984. Since then, both countries built strong and deepening bilateral ties.

China has been Dubai’s biggest trading partner since 2014 and it has been the second-largest trading partner of the UAE as a whole since 2011.

Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $45 billion last year and Chinese companies have been turning their attention towards secure and stable countries in the Middle East such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in recent years.

Tourism has also sharply grown between the UAE and China.

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In 2015, Dubai welcomed 450,000 Chinese tourists, an increase of 29 per cent on the previous year, and 600,000 in 2016. “We have more tourists today in Abu Dhabi than [in the past],” said Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. “Last year, we put seven per cent on our visit numbers but we now have a lot more Indian and Chinese tourists.”

A total of 13 Chinese cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as Hong Kong and Taipei, are also connected to Dubai with more than 100 weekly flights.

UAE residents are also able to get a taste of Chinese trading culture at Dubai’s Dragon Mart Mall, the world’s largest Chinese trading hub outside China. The massive mall welcomes 120,000 visitors every day and of its 5,000 shops, more than 1,700 are run by Chinese retailers.

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