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#Geoeconomics, Middle East: Chinese investment in UAE to grow by 16% in 2023

The UAE is taking steps to attract more FDI, focusing on diversifying its economy away from oil dependence. Since the launch of China's Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, Sino-Arab relations have developed in a diverse way. Relations have expanded beyond traditional trade in energy and goods to include a wide range of areas such as finance, investment, science and technology, and culture


The UAE accounts for as much as 60 percent of Chinese investment in Arab countries, Chinese Ambassador to the UAE Zhang Yiming pointed out at the China-Arab Entrepreneurs Summit held in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.





The ambassador also pointed out that the UAE experienced an incredible 120 percent growth in investment in China last year, accounting for nearly 90 percent of Arab investment in China. Ambassador Zhang also stressed that cooperation between the UAE and China is broad and deep, and that the UAE still maintains its position as China's second largest trading partner, first export market and third largest engineering market among Arab countries.


According to a new report by GlobalData, the United Arab Emirates has managed to move from the fourth position in the previous year to the third largest FDI market in the world by the end of 2023 in terms of project activity.


The report reveals that the UAE attracted a total of $23 billion in FDI in 2023 through 1,277 projects in a variety of sectors, mainly in business and professional services, software and IT services, and financial services.


"The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have become key entry points for Chinese companies to expand their markets abroad, while the GCC countries have also engaged in intensive cooperation with China," Zhang said. He added that sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf region have made "up to $2.3 billion in acquisitions and investments directly in China."


2024 Investcorp, an alternative asset manager with Mubadala Investments as its largest shareholder, has joined forces with China's sovereign wealth fund to launch a $1 billion fund. The fund will focus on investing in high-growth companies in Saudi Arabia, other GCC countries and China. Meanwhile, other Gulf companies are actively increasing their investments in China to further expand their portfolios.


In 2024, Middle East petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) announced that it had completed a RMB44.8 billion ($6.4 billion) investment in China's Hengli Petrochemicals, in which Saudi Aramco is considering acquiring a 10 percent stake.


According to a new report jointly released by the China International Entrepreneurs Federation and Oliver Wyatt Consulting, trade between China and Arab countries has grown from $14.7 billion in 2011 to $500 billion in 2022, driven by growing demand and rising oil prices.


Since the launch of China's Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, Sino-Arab relations have developed in a diverse way. Relations have expanded beyond traditional trade in energy and goods to include a wide range of areas such as finance, investment, science and technology, and culture.

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