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Signs show China increasing economic influence in UAE

A new report says China’s influence in the UAE is growing as the contractors from the Far Eastern country become increasingly active in local construction projects and the number of Chinese visitors continues to increase.

A report by the Arabian Business news website quoted consultants as saying that China’s growing investments in the UAE were parts of Beijing’s agenda to promote its strategic presence in countries that are located along the routes of the so-called ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road.

“This is part of the ‘one belt, one road [initiative] with the purpose of expanding its economic influence across Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and also Europe,” Marko Vucinic, the senior vice president of JLI consulting company was quoted as saying.

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“The main goal is to invest in infrastructure [along these routes]. Dubai is a key city in this strategy, and gateway to stable markets, especially in Africa.

Vucinic further emphasized that currently about 60 percent of Chinese exports to regional markets were channeled through the UAE.

He emphasized that China had serious plans to enhance its economic presence in the UAE, adding that a high number of significant Chinese investments in the UAE – such as in Abu Dhabi Industrial Park and Dubai Food Park – were already signs of growing Chinese economic involvement in the country.

“One of the most visible ways that China is having an impact on the UAE is through the large presence of Chinese contractors in the country,” Vucinic added. “China is also providing construction financing, which is impacting the overall market.”

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Additionally, he said China has become the fourth most significant source market for visitors coming to Dubai, behind only India, Saudi Arabia and the UK.

“There was a 49 percent increase, year-on-year, in the third quarter of 2017 [in Dubai]” he said. “We’re seeing a similar trend in other emirates. In Abu Dhabi, China is among the top two source markets, and we this spreading across the Middle East as a whole.”

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