Making connections

Through sharing its story with China, Dubai hopes to unlock new opportunities for both. Giselle Pettyfer, Executive Vice-Chairman of Dubai Week in China organiser Falcon and Associates, explains 

Q: Tell us about the motivation for Dubai Week in China

A: We very much wanted to connect up all the wonderful elements that together tell Dubai’s story and give them an umbrella under which they could come to Beijing. We wanted to showcase everything that Dubai has to offer, be it in business, sport, culture or lifestyle.

Q: You hope to share with the Chinese audience aspects of Dubai that they may be unfamiliar with. What will surprise or intrigue visitors?

A: We did some research that showed that when Chinese people think about Dubai, they primarily associate it with iconic architecture, so buildings like the Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa. We were keen to introduce them to the life beyond those incredible landmarks – the people, the culture, and the traditions, both of the Emiratis, but also of the many internationals that make their home in Dubai. Because Dubai is a meeting point for people from all around the world.

Q: The ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative is an increasingly significant part of the Dubai story. How important is the emirate in helping China achieve its vision of connecting partners across Africa, Asia and Europe to foster economic growth?

A: We have to be mindful that in terms of the size of our two countries there’s a big difference. But nonetheless, Dubai does an enormous amount of trade with China. Indeed, trade grew 29 per cent in the last year, so that shows you the trajectory that it’s on. The sharing of knowledge around our shared business touchpoints is very much a part of that strategy.

Q: Equally, how important is China to Dubai’s own economic development?

A: There are opportunities on both sides. You can see, for example, tourism numbers increasing dramatically in terms of Chinese visitors to Dubai. Trade with China is moving forward at a strong pace and there are so many opportunities for Dubai businesses such as Dubai Week in China partner Emirates airline.

Q: There seem to be many synergies between Dubai and China. Which would you highlight?

A: Entrepreneurship is a very interesting one. China is a country with a 1.4-billion population among which there is a swathe of entrepreneurial ideas and innovation. And while Dubai may be much smaller, there is a real entrepreneurial and innovative spirit there too. So there are connections that one might not notice at first, but if you look closer you will find them. This entire event is all about realising that actually there is a whole lot more that we could be doing together.