Rania Abouzeid http://www.thenational.ae/article/20080604/BUSINESS/171492368/1118&Profile=1118

 

  • Last Updated: June 04. 2008 11:52PM UAE / June 4. 2008 7:52PM GMT

The fast-growing economic relationship between the two regions has largely been fuelled by oil imports out of the Gulf, and Chinese electronics and home products moving in the opposite direction. AP

DUBAI // Dubai will host its second annual China Sourcing Fair next week, an indication of the increased importance of the Asian powerhouse to the region.

The trade show, which will be organised by Global Sources, a Hong Kong-based trade publisher that opened its first Middle East office in Dubai last year, will run from June 9 to 11. Last year’s event drew more than 7,100 buyers from 95 countries.

The UAE is China’s largest trading partner in the GCC. Last year, bilateral trade broke the US$19 billion (Dh69.7bn) mark, a surge of 41 per cent. The total value of trade between the wider Middle East and China in 2007 was $69bn, up from $51.3bn in 2005, the Chinese ministry of commerce reported.

In early April Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, paid a visit to China, during which the two countries agreed to bolster trade ties.

The fast-growing economic relationship between the two regions has largely been fuelled by oil imports out of the Gulf, and Chinese electronics and home products moving in the opposite direction.

A recent survey by Global Sources indicated that 57 per cent of importers in the Middle East have already increased their purchases from China this year, and that another 37 per cent plan to do so in the next 12 months.

“There’s huge demand here,” said Bill Janeri, general manager in the Middle East for Global Sources. “Dubai is the third largest re-export market after Hong Kong and Singapore.”

Global Sources publishes over a dozen English-language, monthly trade magazines covering industries ranging from electronics to garments and textiles and hardware and construction materials. The publications, which are also available online, provide sourcing information for volume buyers about manufacturers and the products they offer for export.

The company has almost 700,000 buyers on its books, and updates its online database of manufacturers and buyers every fortnight.

Mr Janeri said that there has been “an overwhelming response to the publications” in the Middle East. Subscriptions in the UAE were five times higher in the region than elsewhere, largely due to low internet penetration.

“Magazines are still very widely used in markets where internet penetration and broadband availability are lower than in developed internet markets, like the United States,” Mr Janeri said.

Nonetheless, Global Sources was also looking to expand its online community of traders in the Middle East by more than 30 per cent, and in the UAE by more than 50 per cent this year.

In addition to providing an index of buyers and sellers in China, Global Sources also helps manufacturers directly market their products in its publications by cutting out advertising agencies.

“We actually had a reputation for turning away advertising,” Mr Janeri said, “because we said you can’t just place an ad that has your logo and says ‘contact us, we’re the very best, best ever’. Nobody’s going to believe it, they’re just going to skip your ad. You’re not going to get a good response and you’re going to cancel advertising with us anyway.”

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