Invest in Sharjah Invites Chinese Firms to Explore Emirate’s Economic Capacity

Saturday 29 June 2019
Sharjah - MENA Herald:

As part of its continuous and strategic support of Sharjah-China bilateral relations, the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), in association with Sharjah Media City (Shams), organised the first-ever Sharjah-Shenzhen Business Seminar on June 28, 2019, in Shenzhen, China. The seminar’s attendees included a large sum of senior government and business officials from Shenzhen’s private and public sector.

The seminar was part of a 3-day roadshow in China organised by Invest In Sharjah, June 25 - 28, which also saw the participation of Shams free zone.

The roadshow was led by HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), HE Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Media City (Shams), and Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Invest in Sharjah.

The primary objective of the business seminar was to explore unique business opportunities with China’s research and development sector, including large scale corporations and tech-firms based in Shenzhen, and showcase Sharjah’s free zones and unique investor services that have long positioned the emirate as a key and strategic gateway into UAE and wider MENA markets.

Participating at the business seminar were HE Rahma Abdulrahman Alshamsi, UAE Consul-General in Guangzhou, HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Shurooq, and HE Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams), as well as Mohammed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Invest in Sharjah, Li Jing He, Director Chief, Shenzhen Belt & Road Institute for Economy and Trade Strategy, Huang Jihong, President of Shenzhen Shenshang Holding Group Co., Ltd and Qu Jian, Vice President of China Comprehensive Development Research Institute.

Signalling the start of the Sharjah-Shenzhen business seminar was a welcome note by HE Rahma Abdulrahman Alshamsi who said: “The relationship between the UAE and China has a time-honored history and has yielded fruitful results. In the economic field, China has long maintained the status as UAE’s largest trading partner. In 2018, the bilateral trade amounted over 50 billion US dollars. At the same time, UAE is also a gateway for Chinese goods in the Middle East region and north Africa.”

He continued: “the Sharjah-Shenzhen Business Seminar is the realization of the vision of the two countries’ leaders to develop and enhance the bilateral relationship of all aspects in the economic and trade cooperation. In the past few years, the emirate of Sharjah, with the rapid development in the process of building a leading industrial center, has become a model for comprehensive and balanced development in the economic, trade and social fields. On the other hand, Shenzhen, an essential hub in the Greater Bay Area, is considered as China's high-tech industrial center and the cradleland to many leading Chinese companies such as Huawei and Tencent. Therefore, this grand event was of great significance for the development of the future of Sharjah-Shenzhen cooperation.”

In his speech at the seminar, HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal said: “Shurooq has been a key partner in China for more than 10 years, extending key business opportunities and economic bridges between the Chinese SMEs, enterprises, community and the emirate of Sharjah. Our visit this year, led by Invest in Sharjah, operating under Shurooq, and under the participation of Shams, focuses on representing key sectors that meet the requirements, demands and trends of Chinese investors worldwide, and the opportunity to invest in one of the safest and most stable economies in the region, and to tap into its non-oil economy which is valued at AED 89 billion (USD 24.2 billion) in GDP as of 2018, according to the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD).”

He added: “Research and development is one of the key growth sectors common between Sharjah and Shenzhen. Dubbed as the most innovative city in China and China’s Silicon Valley, Shenzhen is home to a number of world-leading and local brands such as Huawei, BGI, BYD Automobiles, ZTE Corporations and more. Our objective is to tap into Shenzhen’s 78-billion-yuan R&D market, and to grant access to top Chinese tech and consumer brands to explore their R&D performances and increase their business prospects into the region from Sharjah.”

Leading discussions on key solutions and benefits Chinese firms can enjoy today by setting up their businesses at the Sharjah Media City (Shams), H.E Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Shams (Sharjah Media City) said: “Shams has played a key role in helping media businesses grow and thrive. Our goal has always been to create an environment that attracts new talents enthusiastic to live, learn and co-create. Over the years, Shams has become a lucrative option for foreign investors because of its provision of 100 % ownership, flexible visa options, zero corporate taxes and flexible options to set up a business online.”

He added: “Today, Chinese property investors are currently among the top four foreign nationalities choosing to invest in the UAE’s economy. Both the countries operate on a foundation of transparency and credibility, fueled by the vision of great leaders working together to bring the ideas and aspirations of its people to life. With plenty of Chinese companies operating in the UAE, and the massive influx of Chinese tourists to Dubai these nations share a comprehensive strategic partnership not only in economic, political, and commercial areas, but also in other areas such as culture and education.”

He concluded: “Organising this road show in conjunction with Invest in Sharjah encouraged several discussions on how collaboration between two countries can yield positive results. While the UAE’s economy can benefit from China’s role of being a global exporter, China can benefit from the UAE’s unique geographic location and state-of-the-art infrastructure that covers a wide range of business activities for all those wishing to embark on their entrepreneurial journey.”

On his part Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Invest in Sharjah explained: “Organising this first-ever business seminar in Shenzhen reflects on our mission and vision to continue in strengthening Sharjah’s economic presence within China’s emerging markets, providing specialised services to a wide range of investors who are looking for unique market access to our local economy as well as regional economies, especially with the background of China’s Belt and Road initiatives, more Chinese investors are welcome to explore the opportunities in Sharjah.”

He added: “The city of Shenzhen is one of the world’s leading innovation and technology cities, and contributes to strongly to China’s highly diversified economy, thus hosting the business seminar in addition to our annual participations and visits in China, falls within our corporate objectives to uniquely diversify and service all sectors and industries in China, and support their growth in UAE and regional markets. Sharjah continues to grow its presence as a key access point for a number of businesses and establishments from the Far East, gaining market expansions into the wider MENA region.”

He concluded: “Our message during the seminar was that Sharjah is fully-equipped with the right tools, services and regulations that have long supported Chinese investments, and as we continue to expand and grow through major infrastructural projects and market growth, Chinese investors can benefit strongly from an emirate with a forecasted GDP growth of 2% y-o-y until 2020.”

Opening Direct Business Channels between Sharjah and China

The high-level roadshow in China also saw the participation of Invest in Sharjah at the Global Trade Development Week (GTDW) in Shanghai from June 25–27. This was the Sharjah entity’s fourth consecutive participation at the GTDW. During the event, Invest in Sharjah showcased the investment opportunities in Sharjah at its exclusive stand that provided Chinese investors a detailed breakdown of the emirate’s various sectors, free zones, services and offerings.

During its participation at GTDW, Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Invest in Sharjah, was part of a panel discussion titled “Public-Private Partnerships: An Integrated Approach to Support the Response to Illicit Trade”, where he led discussions on how governments play a crucial role in developing not only economies, but its infrastructural services to cope with the ever-changing demands of the future.

HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, members of the Shurooq and Invest in Sharjah team, and a number of senior business and government officials from China attended the panel discussion.

During the discussion, Al Musharrkh explained that Sharjah’s key emerging sectors that are healthcare, tourism, environment, logistics and education, and its six specialised free zones continue to service Chinese investors with customised and personalised services, granting them the advantage of the business prospects in the emirate. He also showcased Invest in Sharjah’s official WeChat account which was launched in April this year, as a new and direct communication channel between Sharjah and Chinese investors to keep them continually abreast of relevant information on FDI opportunities.

Sharjah has been collaborating with China over trade, culture and tourism over several years. There are more than 4,000 Chinese businesses in the UAE – from large state-owned enterprises to SMEs, and 735 of them are based in Sharjah. The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) is targeting the arrival of 200,000 Chinese visitors to the emirate by 2021.

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