Dubai: On Thursday morning, UAE residents saw their telecom providers’ names changed to “WelcomePresChina” as Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Abu Dhabi for an official visit. The Chinese expat community are thrilled.
Xuehong Guo (Shirley) , a 33-year-old IT professional told Gulf News: “I am so excited about President Xi’s visit. I was so happy when today morning my phone network changed to WelcomPresChina.
We also got the news that tonight prominent buildings in Dubai will have a display to mark the visit.” Guo is planning visit Dubai Mall in the evening for a display on Burj Khalifa, as is 27-year-old Chinese expat Xiaozhong Ma (Maria). She said: “I have to see all the building displays ....”
Chinese photographer and editor Zixuan Lin (Devin) couldn’t contain his excitement either. He said: “If I were to rate my excitement for Xi’s visit on a scale of 0-10, I’m a nine. Even though I really wanted to plan to visit Abu Dhabi for this, I could not, due to my job.”
The 25-year-old was not the only one. Xiaomin Yang, a 28-year-old Chinese expat who works as a marketing manager in a real estate company told Gulf News: “I feel so thrilled about Xidada’s visit to UAE, I even wanted to apply for a leave from work, to welcome him in person at the airport.”
The news is particularly exciting for 25-year-old Danielle Ting because Xi Jinping comes from her province, the Shannxi Province. Ting loves UAE because the country, “encourages us (Chinese) to host many cultural events. This visit is a great thing and will prove beneficial to Chinese expats living in the UAE”.
The Chinese community expects good things to come out of this official meeting between Xi and the UAE’s leaders. Xuehong Guo added: “I hope this visit will strengthen the relationship between the UAE and China. It will be enriching and will result in some sort of a win-win model for the two nations.”
According to Can Cai, a 31-year-old business development manager and assistant at a local Dubai law firm: “There will be a lot of benefits after our President’s first visit to the UAE, we expect it will strengthen our trade and businesses. The UAE’s founding father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s visited China in 1990. We opened an Arabic centre and developed trade between the two countries. Now almost after 30 years, China has become the second biggest economy in this world, Xi’s first visit to the UAE will make significant ties between our two countries. UAE is a very important part of China’s ‘the Belt and Road Action Plan’”.
Xiaozhong Ma who works at a travel agency in Dubai said: “I work in the travel industry, and I feel this visit will promote tourism from China to the UAE. Xi’s supporters will definitely visit this country that their president has visited.
“Moreover, there are many people in China who will learn more about UAE culture due to this visit. There are people in China who don’t know much about this country. But now the Chinese media and news websites are covering this visit, so people will try to understand more about the UAE.”
Many Chinese expats feel that the UAE has been an excellent host for Chinese expatriates. Cui Mucheng (Katrina Cui), a 25-year-old editor and translator in a Chinese media house said: “The UAE has proved to be a very friendly country for Chinese expats. This visit will be very beneficial for the Chinese expat community in this country, it will make the Chinese stay here for longer and treat Dubai like their home. It will make us Chinese love the UAE more.” Cui plans to keep an eye on all news coverage of the visit and keep her friends and family updated about it.
Can Cai, who is also the appointed head of the legal department of Sichuan Chongqing Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Fellow Provincials in the United Arab Emirates, said: “The UAE has also done a lot of preparation for his visit. Many of my friends have shared pictures of China’s flag displayed on prominent UAE buildings. We feel so happy and proud about it. I have been in the UAE for five years now and the people here are very good, very friendly. This is one of the safest countries to live in.”
Xiaomin Yang added: “The UAE treats Chinese people very well, we can even visit UAE with a visa on arrival. Chinese driving license is also valid in UAE after attestation. This visit will also provide a chance for the Arabic world to know more in detail about the real China - our culture, traditions, warmth and hospitality and more.”
A few others also felt that there was more scope in strengthening cultural understanding between the two countries.
Zixuan Lin felt: “In order to strengthen the ties, we still need to take more actions regarding a culture communication.”
Can Cai added: “I hope we open a cultural centre, promote Chinese tourists to visit the UAE and expats to invest in the UAE.” President Xi Jinping will visit Dubai on Saturday.