DOHA: China is spreading its wings in Qatar. After posting over 40 percent growth in the bilateral trade year-on-year in 2012, China is set to reinforce its footprint in Qatar with the launch of the Dragon Mart at the Barwa Commercial Avenue.
The mart, which is expected to emerge as a gateway for the supply of Chinese products in the booming Qatar, would offer Chinese traders and manufacturers a unique platform to cater to the needs of this sizeable market. Barwa sources told The Peninsula that Dragon Mart has plans to lease out a full unit of the sprawling commercial avenue and would be one of the largest trading centres for Chinese products outside mainland China.
On Monday, talking to The Peninsula, Chinese Ambassador Gao Youzhen (pictured) said China’s bilateral trade with Qatar saw a quantum leap in 2012 and the volume is set to surge further with in the coming years.
“Currently, a large number of Chinese companies are involved in Qatar’s key development projects. At least 22 Chinese companies are involved in Qatar’s various flagship projects, including the New Doha Port and Lusail Projects. Chinese companies are also participating in upstream development of Qatar’s oil and gas sectors,” he said.
Most projects are that Chinese companies involved in are directly associated with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the 2022 mega event.
China has recently made its entry into Qatar’s vibrant financial sector too. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Middle East has its branch in Doha now, contributing to the strategic expansion of the bank’s Middle Eastern business.
China and Qatar have recently signed a slew of contracts ranging from agreements to encourage investment, trade and construction projects. “I expect more Chinese professionals to come in to Qatar, once Qatar launches some of the key projects that are in the pipeline,” he said.
Another key decision to promote bilateral trade is to set up a trade commission to boost trade and business, the ambassador added.
Qatar is so important for China that it has opened the national bureaus of two leading media groups in Qatar. The state-run media outlet Xinhua and China Radio have full-fledged offices in Doha.
Gao said China was also planning to open an international school in Qatar, where Arabic language would be a an optional subject.
China and Qatar are also offering scholarships to eligible students of to pursue their higher studies in top universities of both countries.