Abu Dhabi fishes for Korean tech investors

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Abu Dhabi fishes for Korean tech investors


Ahmad Mohammed Bin Ghannam, CEO of Abu Dhabi’s foreign direct investment office, speaks at the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum on Wednesday in Seoul. [KOREA INTERNATIONAL TRADE ASSOCIATION]

The capital of the United Arab Emirates wants Korean companies to invest in the country’s tech industries, including aerospace, renewable energy and health care.

Ahmed Mohammed Bin Ghannam, CEO of Abu Dhabi’s foreign direct investment office, led a delegation of roughly 70 people from 16 state-run companies and 15 private companies at the Abu Dhabi Investment Forum in Seoul on Wednesday.

During a summit meeting in March, President Moon Jae-in and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, agreed to strengthen the two countries’ cooperation in the areas of science, information technology and renewable energy.

At the forum, Bin Ghannam said Abu Dhabi is putting considerable importance on bolstering high-tech industries and looks forward to learning from Korean partners. The city’s focus is in line with an economic initiative it established in 2008. The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 aims to reduce the city’s dependence on oil and diversify its economy.

According to Bin Ghannam, the city started off with 60 percent oil and 40 percent non-oil businesses in 2008, but oil now accounts for 50 percent. The CEO stressed that now is a good time for Koreans to explore opportunities that the city is offering to foreign investors.

“We offer a tax-free environment and no minimum requirement for company setup,” Bin Ghannam said. “Korean investors into Abu Dhabi can also use the city as a platform to go international.” The CEO believes Korean companies can branch out to the entire Middle Eastern region, Africa and even Europe through Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the Korea International Trade Association, trade between Korea and the UAE has grown 80 times since they established diplomatic ties in the 1980s, and Korean interest in the country has expanded after Moon’s visit to the UAE. More than 100 companies participated in Wednesday’s forum, the Korea International Trade Association said in a statement.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]
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