Chinese investments in Dubai real estate hit CNY2.44 billion (US$384 million) last year, an annual increase of more than 300 percent, according to the Dubai Land Department (DLD).
And in the first eight months of 2015 the figure had already reached CNY2.07 billion ($326 million) as the republic’s investors took advantage of Dubai’s tax-free environment and lucrative residential and hotel investment opportunities.
Chinese investors are the sixth biggest foreign investors in Dubai after Indians (CNY23.3 billion), British (CNY12.8 billion), Iranians (CNY4.6 billion), Canadians (CNY4.4 billion), and Russians (CNY3.1 billion). The top 10 list also includes Americans with CNY2.2 billion, the French (CNY1.6 billion) and Afghanis (CNY1.2 billion).
In 2014, China overtook India as Dubai’s top trading partner with foreign trade increasing 29 percent year on year to AED175 billion ($47.66 billion), according to the Dubai Government.
In comparison, trade with India was valued at AED109 billion ($29.68 billion) compared to AED137 billion ($37.30 billion) in 2013.
There are more than 4,200 Chinese enterprises operating in Dubai and around 200,000 Chinese expats live in the city, according to the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges.
“[But] in a few years, latest by 2020, more than half a million Chinese will move here,” said the centre’s executive vice chairman, Zhang Xiaoqiang.
The visa restrictions for Chinese people wishing to live and work in Dubai were relaxed in 2009, which has encouraged them to move to the emirate, he continued.
Xiaoqiang said Dubai’s real estate sector would continue to benefit from this influx and predicted that the city could get its very own Chinatown.
“Every major city around the world has one, why not Dubai?” he asked. “Maybe by 2020 one can be developed.”