Shurooq discusses ways to develop investment partnerships between Sharjah and China

April 17, 2014 3:33 pm

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has begun its roadshow in Beijing with a series of intensive B2B meetings with investment authorities and representatives of the business community in China.

The roadshow, which began on 14 April, with the participation of Sharjah Environment Company (Bee’ah), aims to highlight Sharjah’s business potential and its investment and tourist offerings as well as to explore ways to develop investment partnerships between Sharjah and China. The Roadshow will continue until 22 April.

Shurooq is represented by a delegation led by HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), and includes Elie Armaly Director of Business Development of Shurooq, Yonghui MA, Investment Promotion Executive at Shurooq, and Fahd Shehail, Managing Director – Waste Collection at Bee’ah,

Speaking about the roadshow, HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, said, “We seek through this tour to explore new avenues of cooperation between the Emirate of Sharjah and China. Apart from being the world’s second largest economy, Chinese foreign investments have reached record levels, making the Asian giant the third largest investor in the world and one of the most influential countries in global economy and its rapidly changing trends.”

He added: “Sharjah is an ideal hub for investment in the Middle East thanks to its unrivalled strategic location, its direct access to the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, its state-of-the art facilities and sophisticated logistics infrastructure, and its incentive and flexible legislative structure, as well as its investor friendly environment. We made the best use of the meetings we held with our Chinese counterparts to highlight Sharjah’s business and investment offerings to facilitate the creation of new partnerships in various investment sectors.”

Al Sarkal revealed that there are many Chinese investment bodies and companies that have demonstrated their interest in boosting cooperation in various sectors, such as renewable energy and tourism as well as in entering into economic and investment partnerships with the emirate’s public sector.

On opportunities available in Sharjah’s environment sector, Fahd Ali Shehail, Managing Director – Waste Collection at Bee’ah, said, “Sharjah is currently working to tackle waste and build a solid waste management infrastructure – an approach that is in line with the Emirate’s drive to become the first city in the Middle East to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill by 2015. To achieve our goal, we are looking to expand our operations and actively seeking partners, technology providers, and investors for a number of projects in the Middle East, and this is why we sought to participate with Shurooq in this roadshow in China.”

Shurooq delegation commenced its visit to China with an official meeting with HE Ahmad Ibrahim Al Saadi, the second assistant to the UAE Ambassador in China. The delegation outlined its mission in China and Shurooq’s drive to introduce the Emirate’s business potential, investment opportunities and tourist offerings that would help boost its economy and achieve further economic and tourism growth. The delegation also discussed possible ways of cooperation that would help the Authority achieve its short and long-term goals with the members of the Emirati diplomatic mission.

On the same day, the delegation held a meeting with Leon Wang, Secretary General of China Int’l Tourism Investment Association, in the presence of a number of its members. During the meeting, the delegation showcased Sharjah’s premier tourist attractions and the investment opportunities available in the tourism sector, as well as the various projects already carried out by Shurooq and a host of other projects that are currently being developed.

The Emirate’s tourism sector is one of the vital sectors that has been witnessing rapid annual growth. Sharjah received 1.9 million visitors last year, compared to 1.7 million in 2012. In the light of expectations that Chinese tourists travelling abroad will increase from 20 million visitors per year in the first decade of this century up to 100 million by 2020, Sharjah is seeking to draw more Chinese tourists by focusing on developing more tourist destinations.

Al Sarkal underlined that Shurooq, since the first day of its mandate, is working according to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and the close follow up of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq, to boost Sharjah’s tourist assets by developing a host of state-of-art tourist destinations in the Emirate’s different cities.

On Day 2 of its visit, the delegation held a meeting with the China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises represented by its Secretary General Jin Deben, Eric Shin, Deputy Director of the International Economic Cooperation at the association, and Nancy Shu, Assistant to the Director of the International Economic Cooperation. The two sides discussed the tasks and services they offer and ways of utilizing these services in serving the interests of both parties.

During the meeting, Elie Armaly Director of Business Development of Shurooq, gave a detailed presentation on the major sectors that have investment opportunities for Chinese investors looking to invest in the Emirate’s thriving small and medium enterprise sector. Meanwhile, Fahd Ali Shehail outlined the services and products offered by Bee’ah in the environmental and waste recycling sectors.

On another note, the delegation conducted a meeting with Li Junfeng, Chairman of the China Renewable Energy Industry Association, Megan Tang, Deputy Secretary General of the Association, and Lee Nan, assistant to the association’s Managing Director. The two sides highlighted Sharjah’s drive towards finding renewable energy solutions and potential opportunities in this sector.

The Chairman of China Renewable Energy Industry Association praised Shurooq’s efforts to open up new channels of cooperation in the field of renewable energy between Sharjah and China, and reaffirmed his desire to activate a real and fruitful cooperation between Sharjah and company members of the association so as to achieve the common interests of both sides.

Sharjah plays a leading role in the areas of environmental investment and tackling waste as well as in building a strong waste management infrastructure, thus reducing carbon footprint in Sharjah and the UAE. The environment sector is one of the key sectors that Shurooq strives to promote in cooperation with relevant authorities in the emirate.

The delegation concluded its second day meetings with a visit to the China Investment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Commerce – the responsible body of Chinese foreign investments – where they met with Hing Kin Hong, Administrative Representative of the Agency, and a number of representatives.

During the meeting, Shurooq’s delegation gave a detailed presentation on the Authority’s mission and goals of attracting foreign investments. Shurooq called for working together to help Chinese firms develop their businesses in the region and enter into new markets via Sharjah.

The Chinese agency welcomed the visiting delegation and hailed the distinguished bilateral relations that encourage Chinese investors to bring their regional headquarters to Sharjah and the UAE to base their commercial and industrial operations. The agency also expressed its wish to work with Shurooq to direct Chinese investments into Sharjah.

On UAE-China trade, in the first half of 2013, combined imports and exports jumped almost 14 per cent to Dh78.6 billion, after registering close to 40 per cent year-on-year growth over 2012. Bilateral trade between China and Sharjah jumped more than 18 per cent, up from Dh3.3 billion in 2010 to more than Dh3.9 billion in 2012. This rapidly growing relationship is further supported by the already strong Chinese business presence in the UAE, where there are currently more than 4,000 Chinese companies operating in the UAE in a diverse range of sectors.

Established in 2009, Shurooq strives to encourage investment in the emirate of Sharjah by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world.

Shurooq’s key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the emirate, evaluate tourism and investment related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.

In recognition of its overall accomplishments, Shurooq was named The Banking Awards 2013 – FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region, in The European’s Global Banking and Finance Awards.