Shurooq showcases Sharjah at HKTDC World SME Expo
- United Arab Emirates: Saturday, December 08 - 2012 at 13:48
- PRESS RELEASE
The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has successfully concluded its participation at the HKTDC World SME Expo, which was organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) from the 6th till the 8th of December at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Ahmed Al Khaja, UAE Consul General in Hong Kong, visited Shurooq's Stand where he listened to a presentation on Shurooq's vision and goals behind its international participations in exhibitions and conferences. Shurooq's delegation highlighted the Authority's most prominent achievements and landmark projects.
Al Khaja lauded the efforts by Shurooq to promote the UAE in general and Sharjah in particular. "Our country enjoys strategic geographical location and economic characteristics as well as business potential that qualify it to compete with all countries across the world, and also has a wise leadership that is fully aware of the importance of economic openness and supports it through attractive business and investment laws as well as world-class standards and services", the Consul General said.
He emphasised the consulate's support for all Emirati establishments and bodies that wish to communicate with companies, investors and government authorities in Hong Kong.
The Expo provided an excellent platform for Shurooq to further strengthen its economic ties with Hong Kong, in line with its on-going strategy to promote Sharjah as a premier investment and business destination in the Middle East.
Represented by Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, Shurooq COO, Elie Armaly, Director of Business Development at Shurooq and Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, Head of Investment Promotion at Shurooq, the delegation conducted on the first day a number of meetings with Hong Kong based companies and investors to discuss the wide array of investment opportunities that Sharjah has to offer and explore mutually beneficial business ventures.
Commenting on their participation, Shurooq COO Ahmed, Obaid Al Qaseer, said, "The HKTDC World SME Expo is a unique annual event, which provides us with the opportunity to come into direct contact countless SMEs that would benefit from expanding their business into the Middle East via Sharjah as a leading investment and business destination. Small to Medium Enterprises form the backbone of any healthy, thriving economy and as such are a major focus of attention in the Authority's overall strategy. We are pleased to report that Shurooq's participation is being exceptionally well-received and generating a high level of interest across the board."
Investor relations between the emirate of Sharjah and Hong Kong remain strong with considerable future growth still to come, Al Qaseer added.
During the Expo, Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer represented Shurooq, along with representatives from both Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman, in a panel discussion, which focused on business opportunities in the Middle East on the second day of the exhibition. The discussion was attended by Ahmed Al Khaja, UAE Consul General in Hong Kong, and Steven Wing, Regional Manager of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) a large number of delegates from various authorities and government agencies, as well as numerous investors and business individuals from both Hong Kong and further afield.
Highlighting the economic growth seen by the UAE, Al Qaseer said the International Monetary Fund currently estimates that the UAE will show real GDP growth of 2.3% in 2012, having already grown 4.9% in 2011. The UAE economy is also expected to further grow by 2.8% and 3.3% in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
In addition the UAE Central bank has indicated that the total assets of UAE banks had increased by nearly Dhs38bn ($10.4bn) in the first two months of 2012, which has allowed the UAE to retain the largest base of banking assets in the Middle East. The Emirates' economic development is also showing increased diversification with the UAE Federal Customs Authority having reported that the UAE's non-oil exports in 2011 hit Dhs114.1bn ($31.1bn) compared to Dhs83.1bn ($22.6bn) in 2010, expanding 37%. Hong Kong was its 5th largest re-export destination for non-oil exports.
With total exports that went up 35% to $3,498m in 2011 and a year-on-year increase of 22.8% in the first four months of 2012, the UAE is Hong Kong's largest export market in the Middle East. Conversely Hong Kong's imports from the UAE increased by 55.2% year-on-year to $1,583m in the first quarter of 2012, with the major imports including pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, telecommunication equipment and parts, and non-electric engines, motors and parts.
Sharjah's strategic location between Europe and the Far East, in combination to its position as the only GCC hub with direct access to both the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, makes it an ideal investment destination for foreign companies who wish to expand into the GCC and greater Middle East. The Emirate offers a gateway to 160 countries including 2 billion people, and has witnessed a remarkable rate of economic growth. Sharjah also shares its borders with all six of the other emirates, making it a highly advantageous base of operations in terms of physical location for SME's wishing to do business in the UAE.
Commenting on the feedback received from prospective investors during the Expo, Saud Salim Al Mazroui, Hamriyah Free Zone Director of Commercial Affairs, commented, "Sharjah's economy continues to grow rapidly across a diverse range of sectors including retail, renewable energy, tourism, healthcare and logistics offering investors and especially SME's excellent opportunities in these sectors. We are very pleased with the large number of businesses that have expressed and interest in setting up operations in the Emirate and look forward to welcoming many new partners to Sharjah."
Humaid Abdullah Al Khatri, Commercial Director of Sharjah International Airport - Freezone (SAIF Zone) remarked, "As globalisation continues to increase, businesses - particularly SME's - who wish to remain relevant must focus on maximizing efficiency, minimizing costs, and build responsive organisations. For this reason platforms such as the HKTDC World SME Expo play an extremely important role as they provide businesses and investors an excellent opportunity to network with organisations that can aid them in achieving maximised growth. At SAIF Zone we pride ourselves on having created a technically advanced infrastructure to enable organisations to meet their objectives within Sharjah's highly advantageous business environment. The level of response we have received is truly remarkable and is a clear indication of the even greater economic growth that will be witnessed in the Emirate's future."
Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic identity, so as to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world. The Authority's main mission is to provide the required facilities and incentives, evaluate investment related infrastructure projects, lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects and to overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate.
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