The Gulf countries need not worry too much about the slowing Chinese economy, despite China being a major buyer of their main export products of oil and gas.

China is, and will remain, a key trading partner with the Gulf. Furthermore, the Asian giant is exploring other ways of trading with and investing in the region.

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> China diversifies Gulf spending

Despite China’s GDP growth dropping to 7.4 per cent in 2014, which is the weakest rate seen in 24 years, the country’s economy is still growing at rates that most other countries can only dream about.

It is still a major economic power that will continue to need to import fuel to support its growth.

Beijing is trying to diversify its sources of revenue away from domestic industries, and is looking to exports as a generator of growth.

In particular, the government is encouraging the export of services, having recently announced a target of $1 trillion-worth of exports by 2020.

It is here that the Gulf states are ideally placed to benefit from China’s changing strategy and support the country’s export ambitions.

Geographically, the Gulf is well-positioned to act as a springboard for Chinese companies looking to export into new, and potentially riskier, markets in North and Sub-Saharan Africa. It also has the physical infrastructure and legal frameworks in place to be an attractive place for companies to set up operations.

As well as a re-export hub, regional demand for Chinese goods is also picking up, especially as Beijing widens the range of products it exports, from low-value goods to high-value electronics and services.

Already the region is attracting an increasing number of Chinese firms, who are setting up shop in freezones such as Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone.

The Gulf also has several financial centres, such as in Dubai or Doha, where Chinese banks have been setting up offices to provide a greater array of services to clients operating in the region.

In addition, the region is capitalising on the rising number of visiting Chinese tourists. Targeted advertising campaigns are helping attract tourists to spend money in beach resorts and shopping malls in the UAE.

With so many different ways to work together, the Gulf does not need to be concerned about a decline in China’s GDP growth.

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