Banking & Finance Mubadala’s Beijing office to deepen UAE-China ties By Pramod Kumar September 8, 2023 Wam Mubadala CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak. Mubadala is on the way to becoming one of the world's biggest credit investors Mubadala Investment Company, the second-biggest state fund in Abu Dhabi, has officially opened an office in Beijing. The move marks a significant development in the growing economic relations between the UAE and the world’s second largest economy. The sovereign fund entered China a few years ago but had to delay its office opening ceremony due to restrictions imposed during the covid pandemic, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed source. Saudi and Chinese bourses to explore cross-listings Middle East moves closer to China with comms deal Gulf sovereign wealth funds vary recipes for success The Beijing-based team of nearly 10 people focuses on direct investments and the fund’s investments in the world’s second-largest economy, the report said. Mubadala’s CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak and his deputy Waleed Al Muhairi attended the event. “Our Asia investment strategy has been in place for several years, with promising growth prospects throughout the region,” a Mubadala spokesperson told Reuters. Its China portfolio includes JD Industrials, Hasten Biopharmaceutic and online fashion retailer SHEIN. The UAE is the largest logistics hub for China in the Middle East and more than 60 percent of China’s trade in the region transits through the UAE. Bilateral trade between the two countries during the first quarter of 2022 was $15.5 billion. By the end of this decade, less than 40 years after China and the UAE established diplomatic relations, trade between the two countries is expected to reach $200 billion, with accelerated growth being driven by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Last week, four Middle Eastern nations were admitted into the Brics bloc of developing countries – made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – bridging regional political divides and signalling increased Chinese influence around the world. The decision to add another six members – Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE and Egypt, as well as Argentina and Ethiopia – was described as a political victory for China in its bid to bolster the “Global South” against perceptions of US domination. Last November, Zhang Yiming, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the UAE, said that China-GCC free trade agreement negotiations had entered the “final and critical stage”. The two sides have agreed on most issues and are putting the final touches on the agreement, he told the UAE state-owned news agency Wam. China’s outward foreign direct investment has increased by 20 percent each year over the past decade. The Arab world accounts for about $23 billion of the total, according to Saudi Arabia’s investment minister Khalid Al Falih. China is the biggest export market for oil and gas from the Gulf states.