Dubai Week in China heads to Shenzhen

The third Dubai Week in China will be hosted in Shenzhen.

The three-day event, which is likely to take place in late October, will have a theme of “innovation and entrepreneurial spirit”, according to Hongbin Cong, the vice-chairman of international relations at organiser Falcon & Associates.

Shenzhen is the third city to host Dubai Week in China, following earlier events in Beijing and Shanghai, and Mr Cong said the location fits the innovation theme, as well as mirroring many of Dubai’s own characteristics.

The southern Chinese city bordering Hong Kong was a fishing town until 1980, when it was designated as one of four special economic zones as part of reforms aimed at opening China’s economy.

It is now a city of almost 12 million people and is considered to be China’s technology hub. It is home to telecoms giant Huawei, electric car maker BYD and the world’s biggest drone company, Da-Jiang Innovations Science and Technology. It is also home to some of China’s biggest financial institutions, including Ping An Financial and China Merchants’ Bank.

“Shenzhen is one of the most innovative cities in China,” said Mr Cong. “Also, it’s a very young, dynamic city, similar to Dubai. The local population counts for maybe less than 10 per cent – another similarity with Dubai.”

Mr Cong said there were already strong links between Shenzhen companies and Dubai. Huawei has signed a number of initial agreements to develop smart city initiatives with Dewa, the RTA and Dubai South, among others, and provides lots of infrastructure equipment for du and Etisalat.

BYD has also held talks with Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority about potentially setting up a facility within its zone, according to Mr Cong. BYD did not respond to a request for comment.

On top of this, the Shenzhen Foundation signed a strategic partnership last year with Dubai’s Museum of the Future to collaborate on innovation in robotics and the Internet of Things.

“We think between Dubai and Shenzhen there is a very good match in terms of history, development focal points and in terms of the vision set out by the two cities,” Mr Cong said. “We believe that having Dubai Week in Shenzhen will give a further push for cooperation between the two cities in the areas of technology, city planning, financial cooperation and people-to-people exchange.”

China has been Dubai’s biggest trading partner since 2014, with bilateral trade hitting US$45 billion in 2016 – 13 per cent of Dubai’s total non-oil trade.

Earlier this week, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said that the number of Chinese tourists increased by 64 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016 to 230,000. A waiver programme granting Chinese tourists a visa on arrival into Dubai was introduced in September.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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