FAB hosts UAE investment summit for Chinese companies in Middle East

First Abu Dhabi Bank has highlighted the UAE’s potential as an investment gateway for Chinese companies, hosting more than 60 Chinese entrepreneurs, executives, and government officials for a China-Arab Entrepreneurs’ Summit at the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers hotel on Friday, 19 May.

In the past 10 years, China has become the Middle East’s largest trading partner, with investment and trade flows growing to more than USD $330 billion. In 2022, China’s exports to the UAE were valued at USD 64 billion, with UAE exports to China worth USD 22.8 billion. China has also become the UAE’s largest non-oil trading partner, reflecting the deep strategic partnership between both countries.

Forming part of a UAE visit organised by the Sino-International Entrepreneurs Federation, discussions at the summit focused on expanding existing economic partnerships by leveraging the UAE’s role as a business and finance hub. Topics of interest included capital raising by Chinese entities in the UAE, local debt and equity markets, debt and equity in the GCC and Egypt, as well as promoting the UAE as an attractive hub for international businesses.

Martin Tricaud, Group Head of Investment Banking at FAB, said: “There is enormous potential to expand the important and growing role of Chinese investment, knowledge, and capability in the UAE economy, and to build relationships in new areas. In particular, the increasing importance of Abu Dhabi as a regional and global business hub, along with the maturity of its debt and capital markets, can provide a platform for Chinese businesses seeking to accelerate their international expansion, and to finance future growth. As the UAE’s leading bank, FAB is deeply connected within bilateral China-UAE economic relations, including through our portfolio of trade finance and global transaction banking services. We are excited by the opportunity to evolve these relationships and bring greater mutual value for China, the UAE, the region, and globally, by supporting Chinese entities that wish to access the UAE’s full strategic and investment possibilities.”

Sara Al Binali, Group Head of Corporate and Commercial Banking and Acting Group Head of International Banking at FAB, said: “The UAE is well known as a centralised logistics hub for the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia, and is by far the most connected country for Chinese companies trading in the region. The UAE is also an appealing location for Chinese expatriates to live, making it a favourable destination for Chinese companies to set up regional headquarters, where employees and their families can live in a tolerant, cosmopolitan, and stable country. Already, the UAE has by far the largest Chinese community in the Middle East, servicing contracts across multiple regions and countries. The UAE will continue to grow its position as an international location of choice for Chinese partners, with our strategic location at the crossroads between Eastern and Western markets, business-friendly environment, and compelling lifestyle offering for global employees.”

Delegates at the China-Arab Entrepreneurs’ Summit came from a diverse range of industries, including banking and finance, payments, energy and infrastructure, mining, real estate and construction, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, technology, communications, food, and agriculture. Companies represented included some of the largest Chinese entities currently trading in the region, as well as emerging innovators seeking to expand outside their home market.

As the UAE’s largest and most global bank, FAB has a strong record of enabling China-UAE trade links. In 2022, FAB became the first UAE bank to open a fully licensed branch in Shanghai, China, to facilitate trade and investments flows across the region. Being a full-service branch, FAB in Shanghai offers wholesale banking services to corporate clients and financial institutions in China and the Asia-Pacific Region. Key product offerings include commercial lending, syndication loans, treasury dealings, deposit accounts, and trade financing.

Clarence Singam-Zhou, Head of International Banking at FAB, said: “With representation in 20 countries, FAB can offer Chinese clients unrivalled connectivity into GCC and MENA markets, built on our deep understanding of regional markets and stakeholders. Through the local representation offered in China by our Shanghai branch, FAB is well placed not only to open new markets to entrepreneurs with global ambitions, but also to help unlock sources of capital and finance needed to drive their growth.”