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Dubai, China aim to boost high-tech cooperation with launch of giant project

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-10-18 10:16

DUBAI - Dubai developer Meraas Holding and two major Chinese companies on Tuesday launched "Tech Town," a giant project aiming to boost cooperation on developing digital and artificial intelligence technologies.

The giant project was launched on day two of the ongoing Dubai Investment Week by Meraas with China's Alibaba Group and China Financing and Investment Property Corporation (CFIPC).

The "Tech Town" project, which plans to house over 3,000 high-tech companies, will be built near Dubai's free port Jebel Ali, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Speaking at the China-UAE Science and Technology Cooperation and Innovation Forum at the Dubai Investment Week, David Zheng, president of CFIPC, said the project will "work as an incubator for firms" from China, the Middle East and the rest of world to produce innovative solutions around digital transformation, robotics and mobility.

Chen Xinghai, president of Innovation Business Cluster at CFIPC, noted that "Tech Town" will be located adjacent to Jebel Ali Port, the world's largest man-made commercial port which is also near Dubai's new Al Maktoum International Airport.

"Phase one of the project will be completed by 2020, and "Tech Town" will eventually cover 2 million square meters with a total investment of $600 million," Chen said.

"Tech Town aims to serve more than 1 billion users and host over 3,000 high-tech enterprises," he added.

Ammar Al-Malik, executive director of Dubai Internet City, said Dubai aims to expand its position as the leading incubator for high-tech firms, and "Tech Town" will contribute to this objective.

This is why UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid launched on Monday the Artificial Intelligence strategy, which aims to lift the UAE to world's leading countries in AI in line with the government's Centennial 2071 masterplan, he said.

Clinton O'Leary, chief commercial officer of Yvolv, an IT cloud joint venture created by Meraas and Alibaba, said "Tech Town" is the logical result of the close cooperation between Dubai and China in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) over the past years.

Huawei, a leading Chinese ICT firm, deployed in 2010 together with UAE telecom giant Etisalat the first pre-commercial Long-term Evolution (LTE) network in the Gulf Arab state.

In November 2016, Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing division of Alibaba Group, launched with Meraas a data center which is the first full-fledged public cloud company in the Middle East.

Since 2014, China has been Dubai's biggest foreign trade partner, as over 4,000 Chinese businesses and more than 300,000 Chinese nationals reside in the UAE.

In the first quarter 2017, China remained the biggest non-oil trade partner of Dubai with a trade volume of $12 billion.

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