Sharjah delegation in China, led by Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations
Sharjah delegation in China, led by Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations Image Credit: Supplied

Beijing: An official Sharjah delegation to China recently partook in high-level meetings with senior Chinese officials to explore cooperation opportunities and strengthen economic, cultural, and academic ties during their first stop in the capital city of Beijing.

Led by the Department of Government Relations (DGR) in collaboration with the UAE Embassy in China, the delegation comprising 18 departments and institutions representing Sharjah then travelled to Shandong Province, a hub of both historic and modern trade routes in China, to discuss ways to strengthen collaboration with relevant Chinese entities.

The visit is part of an ongoing official trip to the People’s Republic of China from June 2 to 8, covering three major Chinese cities: Beijing, Shandong Province, and Shanghai.

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Highlighting Emirati culture

Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of DGR, said the delegation’s visit to China reflects the vision of His Highness Dr Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, emphasising the mission’s goal to solidify governmental relations and deepen the ties between Sharjah and Asian nations, particularly China. The delegation aims to foster comprehensive cooperation across all sectors, leveraging successful global expertise, while showcasing Sharjah’s strategic assets and its role as a representative of Emirati and Arab culture, as well as its notable contributions to promoting global scientific, knowledge, economic, and cultural exchange.

Sharjah delegation in China, led by Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations
The delegation in a group photo Image Credit: Supplied

Strengthening economic cooperation

The delegation’s ongoing agenda includes several meetings between Sharjah officials and their Chinese counterparts. Participants include Hamad Ali Al Mahmoud, Chairman of the Sharjah Economic Development Department; Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA); Ali Mohammed Al Naqbi, CEO of Weqaya, Beeah Group; Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office; and Omar Al Mulla, Chief Investment at Sharjah Asset Management.

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Growth in tech sector

During the visit, the Sharjah delegation held several important meetings regarding trade, including discussions with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and representatives from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products. These meetings centred on strengthening trade ties between Sharjah and China, exploring opportunities for mutual growth and development.

The delegation also met with representatives from leading Chinese technology companies, such as Xiaomi, as well as visiting the Huawei Beijing Research Centre, showcasing the emirate’s interest in fostering partnerships in the tech sector. Additionally, DGR, Shurooq, and the Sharjah FDI Office held a meeting with Pan Asia Capital to explore potential collaboration in the business and investment domains, further strengthening the economic ties between Sharjah and China.

Forging partnerships

Commenting on the visit, Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of Shurooq, said: “The Authority’s participation reflects our commitment to strengthening economic and trade relations with one of the world’s major economic powers. This visit presents a golden opportunity to explore new investment avenues, promote sustainable development, and advance eco-tourism. Building on well-established commercial and cultural ties, we aim to forge fruitful partnerships with leading Chinese institutions, contributing to Sharjah’s position as a major regional economic and trade hub.”

Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office, underscored the influence that the investment relationship between the UAE and China has on both economies. He noted that China is a strategic partner in qualitative investments, particularly in technology, digital infrastructure, and the integration of AI in industry, agriculture, healthcare, and education. Al Musharrkh highlighted that over 700 Chinese companies operate across various sectors in Sharjah’s markets and free zones, demonstrating the major economic ties between the two locations.

Strengthening cultural ties

In the fields of culture, tourism, and heritage, Eisa Yousif, Director-General of the Sharjah Archaeology Authority; Aisha Rashid Deemas, Director-General of the Sharjah Museums Authority; Dr Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage; and Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, Executive Director of House of Wisdom, met with representatives from the National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA), an administrative agency affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China.

The meeting, attended by Li Kun, Director of NCHA, and Wang Xiaodong, Secretary of the Palace Museum, aimed to strengthen cultural ties between Sharjah and China.

The delegation also had the opportunity to have an official tour of the National Art Museum of China, the National Cultural Heritage Administration headquarters, the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, and the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Enhancing tourism and investment

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCDTA), underscored the importance of fostering strong relationships between nations and communities as a fundamental foundation for enhancing tourism and investment. He further highlighted the UAE’s position as the leading host of Chinese businesses in the Arab world, noting the considerable potential for growth in these areas.

He said: “Through our participation in the Sharjah delegation, we aim to spotlight the emirate’s comprehensive tourism sector. Recognising tourism as a major contributor of mutual economic interest, and acknowledging the Chinese market as one of the largest sources of tourists to Sharjah, this visit will elevate Sharjah’s status as a premier global tourist destination and a cultural hub. We aim to fortify our ties with our Chinese counterparts, foster collaboration, open new avenues for joint ventures, and exchange expertise across various sectors, particularly in trade, tourism, hospitality, and travel.”

Collaboration in science and technology

In the fields of science, technology, and education, Abdul Aziz Ibrahim (Al Mulla) Al Hafezi, Business Development Executive at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP); Dr Khawla Al Najjar, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Sharjah; Dr Abdulrahman Al Yasi, Director of Sharjah Youth, an affiliate of Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Future Leaders and Innovators; and Khaled Al Nakhi, Director of the Sharjah Institute for Capacity Development conducted field visits to Peking University, Tsinghua University, and the China Soong Ching Ling Science and Culture Centre for Young People.

Exchanging expertise in health

In the healthcare sector, Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Dr Abdel Aziz Saeed Obaid Bin Butti Almheiri, Chairman of the Sharjah Health Authority and Sharjah Healthcare City Authority; and Dr Abdulaziz Al Noman, Advisor to Sharjah Women’s Sports Foundation, met with representatives from the Chinese National Health Commission. This was followed by separate meetings with Fosun International and Sinopharm representatives, which concluded with a visit to the Peking University Health Science Center.

Dr Abdel Aziz Saeed Obaid Bin Butti Almheiri said: “Our participation in the delegation provides unique opportunities for collaboration in the healthcare sector between both parties and to promote Sharjah Healthcare City. The visit includes meetings with decision-makers in the Chinese healthcare sector and visits to several Chinese hospitals and health centres to explore ways of mutual cooperation between Sharjah and China.”

Tour of Beijing

Regarding the aviation sector, a meeting was held between Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of DGR; Mohammed Rashid Al Sharif, Assistant Director of the Commercial Affairs Department at Sharjah International Airport; and Miao Qian, Director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, as well as airlines representatives, including China Eastern Airlines. The Sharjah delegation also met with Shan Chuan, Deputy Director of the China Tourism Group, to discuss the development of mutual relations in the aviation sector, followed by a visit to Beijing Daxing International Airport.

The Sharjah programme included visits to iconic historical landmarks such as the Great Wall of China; the Forbidden City; and the Palace Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of over a million rare artefacts. An official banquet was also hosted by the UAE Embassy in China, where the delegation was joined by the Ambassador of UAE to the People’s Republic of China and members of the diplomatic corps.