Abu Dhabi links up with major Chinese free trade zone

Strategic partnership promises to boost mutual investment, innovation and enterprise – with Hong Kong also set to benefit

Abu Dhabi’s financial hub has formed a strategic partnership with a leading China free trade zone, with the aim of developing and promoting closer investment, financial innovation ventures and enterprise tie-ups.

Announced on 3 July, the arrangement links Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to the Qianhai Authority: managing body of the Shenzen-based Qianhai Zone.

The economic area not only operates under a set of more relaxed commercial rules compared to the rest of China, but has closer ties with Hong Kong, too.

As such, the Special Administrative Region will also play a significant role in the partnership, which, as well as boosting the financial and fintech ecosystems in each market, will also support the Asia Pacific’s landmark One Belt, One Road project.

ADGM’s half of the partnership will be managed through its regulatory wing, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

In a statement, ADGM said that Qianhai Authority has been specially designated by the Chinese government “to advance and facilitate innovation in key industry sectors including finance, modern logistics, information and technology for Mainland China and Hong Kong”.

It explains: “Through the new partnership, Qianhai Authority and ADGM will explore efforts and initiatives to facilitate greater investment cooperation and opportunities, [and] to strengthen the financial and fintech ecosystems in both markets to address the evolving local and international business needs.

“Both authorities will leverage each other’s expertise and fortes to establish a conducive investment platform that attracts and supports businesses and enterprises of Qianhai, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi in realising their investment and growth plans – in their respective markets and globally.”

FSRA chief Richard Teng said: “ADGM is pleased to enter into this partnership with Qianhai Authority that supports the One Belt, One Road Initiative.

“As an International Financial Centre, we aim to further bolster financial services activities, facilitate investment flows and encourage business innovation.

“We play a vital role in strengthening the financial forte of Abu Dhabi and provide the strategic link that connects businesses, investors and stakeholders to investment and growth opportunities in the Middle East and North African markets.”

He added: “I look forward to the close collaboration between the two teams to maintain the high regulatory practice in our markets, as well as to introduce joint initiatives that will expeditiously open up opportunities for our investment and business communities.

“At ADGM, we will continue to foster and strengthen our partnerships with China and like-minded countries to build a dynamic and efficient financial ecosystem for the benefit of our economies and people.”

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