Dubai – MENA Herald: Concluding its third visit to China in 2016, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) participated in the BOAO Forum for Asia held in Hainan Province to strengthen the Centre’s outreach to target markets along the South-South economic corridor.
As part of the Centre’s 2024 strategy to grow three-fold by increasing access to the South-South corridor, DIFC’s key focus for the first part of 2016 is to strengthen its relations with the international financial community and attract companies from emerging markets in Asia.
Through engagement in various discussions at the forum including the Boao Young Leaders Panel and the ‘Belt and Road Initiative and Asian Financial Cooperation’ conference, DIFC Authority’s senior management highlighted the need for financial centres to develop and adopt technological advancements to close the gap between markets. Also emphasised during discussions was the UAE’s significant role in enhancing the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.
Commenting on the role of technological advancements in financial centres, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, said: “DIFC’s technology infrastructure must continuously evolve to ensure clients have the best platform to conduct their business activities efficiently and effectively. Aligned with Dubai’s forward-thinking mandate to transform the emirate into a ‘Smart City’, DIFC has been quick to understand Dubai’s technological development and to enhance digital technologies as a core component of our offering.”
DIFC has recently launched numerous digital solutions, including a fully-integrated Client Portal that extends a wide range of online services to DIFC-based companies along with a mobile application that allows access to Client Portal services through mobile devices. Last year, DIFC signed an agreement with telecom provider du to provide specially priced and customised global Ethernet services to ensure faster connectivity.
At the Young Leaders Panel, Arif Amiri stated that in a global market dominated by web-based mobile devices, clients are demanding seamless integration of financial services across all platforms. He discussed the emergence of the mobile industry as a front-runner in the technology market along with the growing importance of FinTech as an alternative financial planning option.
DIFC Authority’s management also discussed the UAE’s critical role as an investment and trade hub along the New Silk Road with strategic access to the Middle East, Africa and South Asian (MEASA) markets, estimated to have a combined GDP of US$7.8 trillion. An established infrastructure with domestic stability, the UAE has the best airports and sea ports serving over 280 destinations. With global connectivity, the UAE acts as a gateway to OBOR’s priority investment regions such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region.
Additionally, with Dubai becoming one of the world’s leading hubs for multi-billion dollar sukuk trade, the UAE has deepened opportunities for Islamic finance along the Silk Road.
DIFC is home to China’s four largest banks – Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of China. Agricultural Bank of China listed a one billion renminbi bond on Nasdaq Dubai in 2014, while Bank of China listed a 2 billion renminbi bond and ICBC issued a US$500,00o bond in 2015.
Bilateral trade between the UAE and China has grown from US$63 million in 1984 to US$54.8 billion in 2015, projected to reach up to $60 billion by end of 2016. Signing multiple agreements at the end of last year, UAE and China strengthened relations by launching a US$10 billion joint strategic investment fund, renewing the UAE-China renminbi swap agreement that allows the UAE Central Bank to provide up to 35 billion yuan, and establishing a clearing centre for Chinese currency.