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Chengdu and Dubai bolstering trade ties

Updated: Sep 18, 2019 China Daily Global Print
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Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, has strengthened economic cooperation with Dubai in the United Arab Emirates under the Belt and Road Initiative, through a trade cooperation conference held in Dubai earlier this month.

Dubai is a transport hub in the Middle East, linking West Asia and North Africa. The city is also a center for commerce, logistics, exhibitions and finance, ranked ninth among the top 10 world cities by Globalization and World Cities in 2018.

Chengdu is also an important gateway to Southwest China. As a key point on the trade routes of the BRI, it plays an active role in promoting international exchanges, and has acted as a business hub in Southwest China from ancient times to the present.

In early September, the Chengdu-Dubai Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference was held in Dubai, where eight companies from Chengdu signed agreements with six companies in Dubai, with a total investment value of 37.4 billion yuan ($5.3 billion).

Chengdu Xgimi Technology, a manufacturer of high-performance multifunctional smart projectors, is one of the beneficiaries. "Many companies in Dubai, including the biggest shopping mall in the country, Dubai Mall, have shown great interest in our products," said an executive from the company.

According to Chengdu Xgimi, the conference provided a platform to find out more about customer demands in Dubai.

At the same time, the company said it hoped to find high-quality distributors at the conference, who will assist in showcasing the company's products and expand its market share in the country.

Also at the conference, Sheme, a woman's shoe brand from Chengdu, announced it was in talks with Dubai Mall to open a store there.

The Chengdu logistics office shared the Chinese city's concepts and practices in building an international logistics hub in western China and the Chengdu Association of Building Economy Promotion briefed participants on international cooperation projects in Chengdu.

Cooperation between the two cities dates back to 2011, when Chengdu and Dubai International Financial Center launched a joint financial project.

Chengdu opened a direct flight to Dubai in 2016, and in June this year, the two cities signed an agreement to build an international airport shopping center.

"Chengdu is an important trade and logistics center in Southwest China, a high-tech industrial base and a transportation hub with strong comprehensive strength and enormous development prospects," Li Xuhang, consul general of China in Dubai, told the conference.

"The city has become a preferred place for many domestic and foreign companies to launch investment," Li said.

He said the development plans for Chengdu and Dubai are highly complementary and have great potential under the BRI.

Many Chengdu companies have opened branches in Dubai, which plays an important role in accelerating the pace of Chinese companies going global and expanding Chinese companies' international influence, Li added.

At the conference, the Chengdu delegation brought with them special local ingredients and cooked traditional food, including dandan noodles, mapo tofu and minced beef pancakes.

Hu Jiafeng, head of Chengdu's cooking association, said:"As one of the important exchanges between Chengdu and Dubai, cuisine can promote extensive cooperation in culture, economy, trade and tourism between the two cities."

Giant pandas and cuisine are the most iconic calling cards of Chengdu. In addition to its delicious food, the city staff also dressed up as pandas at Dubai Mall on Sept 6, attracting much local attention.

A resident named Abdulla said it was amazing to see a panda from Chengdu in Dubai and added he was interested in hotpot and the history of the Chinese city.

Chengdu officials said they have realized that their city cannot gain such momentum without cooperation with other cities worldwide and that they hope to seize more opportunities to work with global companies.

Based on the development of its business, tourism, finance and technology, Chengdu is looking forward to partnering with Dubai, an official with the Chengdu bureau of commerce said at the conference.

According to official statistics, foreign trade between Chengdu and the UAE totaled 3 billion yuan in 2018, increasing 19.9 percent year-on-year. The figure reached 1.7 billion yuan in the first half of this year, jumping 42.1 percent compared with same period last year.

An official from the Chengdu bureau of commerce said the city is looking forward to launching more projects with Dubai in business, advanced technology, financial services, commerce and logistics, aviation and tourism, as well as strengthening communication in culture, education, technology, sports and environmental protection.

"We hope to deepen cooperation and attract more Arab companies to invest in Chengdu and expand their market in western China, as efforts to promote the development of the industries and companies in the two cities and achieve a win-win situation," the official said.

Deals with a total investment value of 37.4 billion yuan ($5.3 billion) are signed during the ChengduDubai Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference held in Dubai earlier this month. [Photos provided to China Daily]


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