Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has arrived in China, beginning an official three-day visit to the country.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces was welcomed to Beijing Capital International Airport in an official ceremony on Sunday. The welcome included a military presence and a traditional cultural performance.
On Monday, Sheikh Mohamed will go to the Great Hall of the People where he will meet President Xi Jinping and other senior officials. The two leaders are expected to review ways of increasing co-operation between the two countries across various sectors further, and discuss regional and international issues of common interest.
The two leaders are expected to witness the signing of at least 10 agreements in the fields of economy, oil and environment.
Next, Sheikh Mohamed is set to attend a joint economic summit that will be attended by more than 500 business people from the UAE and China, reported Dubai TV. He will also visit some universities where he will meet Emirati students.
The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince will round off his visit, which is aimed to further cement the UAE and China's developing relationship and celebrate 35 years of friendly ties, on Tuesday.
This is Sheikh Mohamed’s fourth visit to China. During his last trip, in 2015, Sheikh Mohamed spent three days attending meetings to promote the development of relations and co-operation between the two countries.
Declaring that the visit had been "outstanding" Sheikh Mohamed took out time to visit some of the country's most famous landmarks, including the Great Wall.
An estimated 200,000 Chinese live in the UAE, mostly in Dubai, in industries ranging from construction and oil to retail. There is also a small community of about 2,000 in Abu Dhabi.
On Sunday, the Chinese ambassador the UAE said bilateral trade between the two countries increased 6.2 per cent to $11.2 billion (Dh41bn) in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year.
"China-UAE trade is expected to maintain the momentum of rapid growth throughout 2019 and beyond," Ni Jian told the state news agency Wam.
Last year, Mr Xi became the first Chinese president to visit the UAE in 29 years after he travelled to the Emirates for a three-day trip.
The same year, Chinese exports to the UAE as well as imports from the UAE into China accelerated, increasing by 32.8 per cent to $16.26bn. China’s exports to the UAE also grew 3.2 per cent to $29.66bn.
There are as many as 6,000 Chinese companies operating in the UAE, mostly based in Dubai, Mr Ni said.
Sheikh Mohamed’s visit is expected to boost trade further with a number of deals planned that will build on a $3.4bn bilateral investment agreement signed in April. That deal included a $2.4bn investment from China to create a 5.57 million sq m storage and shipping station in Jebel Ali, to export Chinese goods worldwide.
The deal was part of China’s 'One Belt, One Road' initiative launched in 2013 in which the country is investing billions of dollars in infrastructure investment in countries located along the old Silk Road linking it with Europe. In the past year, Chinese companies have reportedly invested around $15.6bn in projects with some of the 125 countries that have signed up to the scheme. All of the six GCC countries, including the UAE, are part of the initiative.
Sheikh Mohamed on Sunday was accompanied by a number of senior figures, including Sheikh Said bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation; Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, chief executive of Adnoc Group and chairman of Masdar, and the Ministers of Energy, Economy and Culture.
On Saturday, the state news agency Wam released a video of an Emirati folklore group dancing the ayala on the Great Wall of China, in celebration of Sheikh Mohamed's visit.
Meanwhile on Sunday evening, Fang, China's top real estate internet platform launched services in the UAE, marking the event with an LED show on the Burj Khalifa.
For the UAE, Fang has announced the launch of uae.fang.com, a dedicated portal that will exclusively feature property listings in the UAE, covering the country’s leading developers as well as brokerages in China.
Dubai and the UAE are the latest addition to Fang’s extensive portfolio that covers property listing in 658 cities across 24 countries.
Fang's expansion into the UAE is expected to boost Chinese investment into Dubai's real estate market, which has grown rapidly over recent years.