You might be surprised that there are around 300,000 Chinese expats living in UAE. Over two third of them live in Dubai. Unlike British, Indian or Pilipino community, Chinese community is quite invisible and domestic-oriented. You might wonder: Where are they, and what do they do and how is the community like?
SME @DragonMart & Murshid Bazar
The first group of Chinese expats came to Dubai in early 90s. Some of them were sent by the government-owned trading companies, while the others saw the import-export opportunities from two ports in Dubai. Before DragonMart was built, most of the small traders opened their shop in Murshid Bazar and the bazaar in Sharjah. From electronic accessories, furniture to shoes and Chinese supermarket, all sorts of "made-in-China" products could have been found here.
DragonMart was opened in 2004 and it became the symbol of Chinese (cheap) products in Dubai ever since. Many business owners moved their shop here. Some smart people quickly grabbed the opportunities, expend the business and started exploring other industries to invest. Nowadays, you won't see many Chinese sitting in the shops in the DragonMart, however, these Chinese business owners hire other expats to deal with Arab customers.
The majority of the Chinese middle class in Dubai work for Chinese enterprises traditionally in bank, telecom, construction, logistics and manufacture industries. They prefer staying in the Chinese community but raising kids in a western environment.
Recent years, more and more e-commerce startups and teams come to Dubai. They localise the experience and products that are proven successful in China, and quickly fill the gap. Dubai provides a great location and security for the team to stay and open the whole MENA market.
Hospitality & Mall & Dubai Duty Free
According to Dubai Tourism's stats, total of 157,000 Chinese visitors came to Dubai in just the first two months of 2017. Due to the language barrier and cultural difference, retail and hospitality giants, since a few years back, have recruited a great number of Chinese staff to better serve Chinese tourists. Five star hotels, Emirates airline, Dubai Duty Free and the Dubai Mall
Since 2012, the dynamics of Chinese expats witnesses a big change. More and more young professionals come to Dubai, many of whom have international education background or work in the non-Chinese companies. Unlike the older generation staying in the Chinese community, the young professionals are more outgoing and confident on the networking events, mingle more with non-Chinese friends and colleagues, and shift towards a better lifestyle and work-life-balance.
The Chinese expats community in Dubai is very diversified, but people more or less stay on the same community network to exchange information and make new friends.
DUBAIREN, literal translation into Mandarin as Dubai People, is the most popular and recognised Chinese online community in Dubai. Its 360 degree platforms including website, social media (wechat) and bi-monthly magazine dive deep into Chinese expats life here. It pushes daily news from China and UAE, features individuals with interesting stories, writes reviews of restaurants (mainly Chinese restaurants) and service facilities, and host corporate events targeting local Chinese community.
If you want to introduce your business to UAE Chinese community, click here to stay in touch with Dubairen.