Abu Dhabi Global Market, the capital’s international financial centre, opened a representative office in Beijing, its first overseas foray as it aims to attract more financial services firms from the world’s second-biggest economy and establish itself as an offshore centre for renminbi to support internationalisation of the Chinese currency.
“The ADGM -China office is an extension of ADGM’s role as a financial services regulator in supporting Abu Dhabi’s economic commitment to strengthening its regulatory and financial collaborations with the Chinese government and enterprises,” Ahmed Al Sayegh, the chairman of ADGM told a gathering of government and financial industry representatives from China and the UAE on Friday, at the inaugural ceremony in Beijing.
“The China office will initiate new projects and joint efforts to further enhance the cross-border connectivity and boost new opportunities between the two economies,” he said. “One of the key commitments for ADGM and ADGM-China office will be to support the RMB internationalisation strategy and we aim to build up an offshore RMB centre serving the Mena region via ADGM.”
As part of the launch of its Chinese office, ADGM, which is the fastest-growing international financial centre in the region, signed several preliminary agreements with key Chinese institutions including UAE-China Industrial Co-operation Demonstration Zone, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Asian Financial Co-operation Association and Guotai Junan Securities.
“The reason why we are setting up the Chinese office is because we see very strong flows [of Chinese companies to the UAE],” Richard Teng, the chief executive of Financial Services Regulatory Authority at ADGM, said. “We do have Chinese presence in ADGM in brokering and financing advisory but the pipeline is very strong … our key goal is to support growth.”
ADGM’s presence in China demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to the country’s Belt and Road initiative that aims to enhance connectivity and economic co-operation by linking the markets of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The strategy focuses on infrastructure; trade and investment; internationalisation of the renminbi; and policy co-operation and co-ordination.
The UAE, the Arab world’s second largest economy, is China’s biggest investment destination in the Middle East. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, in 2015 visited China, which set up the foundation for enhanced co-operation between the two countries including a $10 billion UAE-China investment fund.
Several UAE companies have made significant investments in China, while various Chinese firms are active in the Emirates’ energy, construction and trading sectors.
“With the support of the leadership from both countries … when it comes to trade, direct investments and cross investments, it is on top of the agenda,” Ali Al Dhaheri, the UAE Ambassador to China told The National. The pipeline, he said, was strong with companies from both the UAE and China actively seeking investment opportunities in the two markets.