First Abu Dhabi Bank aims to triple China business by 2026, advancing Sino-MENA corridor trade and investment

  • FAB China business revenue grew by 50% in 2023
  • Group’s cross-border capabilities provide strategic MENA platform for Chinese corporates
  • Chinese Ambassador H.E. Zhang Yiming hopes FAB will help Chinese business in the UAE and broader region, expand MENA investment into China

 

Abu Dhabi — First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is steadily solidifying its role as the go-to bank for UAE-Chinese and Sino-MENA trade and investment, with plans to triple revenue from its China business by 2026. The Group, which maintains the only fully licensed branch of a UAE bank in mainland China and grew its business there by 50% in 2023, was also singled out by the Chinese Ambassador to the UAE, H.E. Zhang Yiming, recently for its ‘vote of confidence in the Chinese economy.’

The ambassador’s comments were made during FAB’s recent Chinese New Year celebration in the UAE, attended by more than 50 leaders of Chinese state corporates, commercial businesses and bilateral trade bodies active across the MENA region.

FAB’s plans mirror the UAE’s deepening relationship with the Asian economic giant: China is the UAE’s top global trade partner, with bilateral trade expected to reach USD 200 billion annually by 2030. It is also the third largest foreign investor in the UAE, and the GCC’s top-ranking nation in trade flows. The UAE, a comprehensive strategic partner of China, is home to more than 6,000 Chinese businesses and was recently added to the expanded BRICS trade bloc.

The synergy between the two markets – with China offering the technological and industrial prowess critical to MENA growth and the GCC offering substantial investment as well as access to key markets including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt – also plays to the Group’s strengths.

FAB Group CEO Hana Al Rostamani said: “China continues to be a priority for First Abu Dhabi Bank, and we are committed to expand our business there while fostering Chinese engagement in the GCC and Egypt. As the UAE’s largest bank and a regional financial powerhouse, we look forward to facilitating more vital corridor trade and investment between the two regions and using our experience, expertise and network to drive transformative growth and development for both markets.”

The Group has grown from strength to strength in China – from being the first foreign bank to obtain a Chinese currency (RMB) license from day one of its operations to becoming an official strategic partner for leading state corporates and delivering multiple success stories for Chinese clients seeking trade finance, corporate finance and access to global markets. Building on these foundations, the Group is targeting AED 300 million in annual revenue from its China operations by 2026.

H.E. Zhang Yiming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the UAE, said: “FAB’s Shanghai Branch opened during the epidemic in 2022 and cast a vote of confidence in the Chinese economy with its practical actions. We hope that FAB, as the largest bank in the UAE, will give full play to its local full-license advantage and strengthen cooperation with China in helping Chinese enterprises to go overseas and settle in the UAE, broaden investment channels in China, and promote the internationalisation of the RMB.”

The FAB Chinese New Year celebration also marked the 40th year of diplomatic ties between the UAE and China. Business leaders in attendance reflected many of the most vital bilateral trade sectors between the two nations, including energy and petrochemicals, infrastructure and construction, technology and innovation, financial services and investment, and renewable energy and sustainability.