Over the past two decades, Dubai has risen to become a global financial, commercial shipping, aviation, and art hub. These essays examine Dubai's key role in revitalizing the historic ties between the countries of the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions.
Dubai is strategically located at a junction between Europe, Africa, and the Far East. For China, an emerging global leader in trade and international business, Dubai is a promising place in which to conduct business. Exploring Dubai-Sino economic relations beckons a more comprehensive understanding of both the level of Dubai’s economic diversification and the impact of the global financial crisis. Dubai’s private sector is extensively engaged in foreign trade, with an emphasis on the service industry. The service industry has three subsectors—tourism, finance, and real estate. Assessing the trajectory of China’s involvement in these three sectors of Dubai’s economy sheds light on how Dubai-Sino economic relations have been affected by the global financial crisis.
"Open Doors; Open Minds”—the tagline of the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU), a non-profit organization advocating awareness and understanding among the various cultures that live in Dubai—epitomizes Dubai’s emergence as an international trade and transit hub as well as a place of cultural symbiosis that hosts diverse nationalities from almost all corners of the globe.
While visiting Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi frequently over the past 20 years, I couldn’t fail to notice that the three cities have increasingly, inexorably become a metropolitan area, ever merging as they build and develop in each other’s direction.
Over the past several decades, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been transformed into one of the world’s most robust economies. The key to the UAE’s success has been economic diversification; indeed, oil now accounts for only one-third of the country’s GDP. According to UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade Reports, the value of non-oil exports increased thirtyfold during the period 1981-2009. Dubai accounted for approximately 82 percent of non-oil exports in the UAE in 2010, while Abu Dhabi accounted for 14 percent. In particular, by setting up over two dozen free zones as platforms for nearly all industry sectors, the UAE has become far less dependent on oil.