Revealed: the importance of China to UAE businesses

New HSBC survey shows eight out of 10 businesses in the UAE say China will be among the most important export markets of the future
Revealed: the importance of China to UAE businesses
Total trade between the UAE and China was $53 billion in 2017, with tourism playing a key role.
By Sam Bridge
Tue 06 Nov 2018 01:58 PM

Eight out of 10 businesses in the UAE say China will be among the most important export markets of the future, according to new research.

HSBC’s first Navigator: Made for China survey said that nearly half of UAE businesses already doing business with China plan to grow sales there in the next three to five years.

A further 10 percent of UAE companies yet to enter the Chinese market will prioritise expansion there, it added.

“China is clearly an exciting proposition for any business in growth mode and our survey shows that companies in the UAE expect China opportunities to expand as the economy develops and matures,” said Abdulfattah Sharaf, group general manager, CEO for HSBC UAE and Head of International, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited.

“The connections between China and the UAE are helping shape some of the world’s most exciting economic opportunities. HSBC’s expertise and long heritage in these markets enables us to connect companies of all sizes at both ends of the UAE-China business corridor,” he added.

Total trade between the UAE and China was $53 billion in 2017, a 14.7 percent increase on the previous year and, based on the findings of the survey, and with bilateral ties strengthened by President Xi Jinping's visit to the UAE earlier this year, further growth in trade between the UAE and China is anticipated.

The survey also said UAE businesses are aware of the need for specialist insight when entering the Chinese market, with 36 percent planning to invest in market intelligence companies to facilitate expansion into China.

UAE businesses also indicated that they understood the importance of direct selling and e-commerce platforms in reaching Chinese customers, with 53 percent identifying this as a strategy to access the market versus 46 percent of global respondents.

The survey found that establishing a reliable supply chain is viewed as a pivotal factor to growing sales in China, as is the ability to respond to shifts in consumer behaviour caused by e-commerce which generated over $1 trillion of sales in 2017.

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