More electric vehicles, flying cars coming to UAE, says top Chinese diplomat

Dubai in particular is seen as an increasingly attractive market

by

Angel Tesorero

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Photo by Rahul Gajjar
Photo by Rahul Gajjar

Published: Fri 12 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 13 Apr 2024, 12:11 AM

More electric vehicles (EV) and even flying cars manufactured in China are expected to arrive to the UAE soon, the newly-appointed Chinese consul general Ou Boqian has confirmed to Khaleej Times.

“The UAE and China relations are growing in all aspects. And as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of our bilateral relationship, we see further growth in the field of innovation and technology – in particular, new and renewable energy and futuristic transport,” noted Boqian, adding the influx of Chinese-made EVs and flying cars will boost UAE’s diversification and economic sustainability.


“Looking towards the future is what both the UAE and China have in common,” said the top Chinese diplomat, adding: “This is rooted in our history, where can see a parallel development trajectory of both countries in the past four decades.”

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She explained: “The UAE’s, particularly Dubai’s, diversification – started in the late 1970s up to early 80s; China made drastic economic reforms in 1978 and the first special economic zone was established in Shenzhen in 1980. For the past 45 years, both countries enjoyed very rapid economic growth.”

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Boqian added there has also been a huge influx of Chinese expatriates and businesses coming to the UAE. There are now more than 370,000 Chinese living and working in Dubai, and 8,000 businesses are operating across the emirate.

She added the UAE is also an active participant in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aimed establishing a network of trade and infrastructure connecting Asia to Europe and Africa.

Attractive market for flying cars

Dubai in particular is seen as an increasingly attractive market for eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) or flying vehicles because of the city’s push for new technologies for planned smart cities, noted the Chinese consul-general, who started her tour of duty in March this year.

Chinese-made flying taxis have made waves in the news. In 2022, the Chinese-made XPeng X2 successfully completed the first public test flight of its two-seater flying car during Gitex Global technology show. It was designed to carry two passengers and reach speeds of up to 130km per hour, lifting vertically off the ground using eight propellers.

Made from premium carbon fibre material and equipped with an airframe parachute, it can offer 35 minutes of flight.

When asked by Khaleej Times to confirm when flying cars from China will start landing in Dubai, the Chinese consul-general replied: “In the very near future.”

Culture, education and tourism

Boqian also did not only talk about business, technology and economic partnerships. She mentioned one of the first things she did when she arrived in Dubai “was to explore the city’s beautiful culture.”

“China and UAE’s strong relations are not only based on strong economic foundation but also on people to people relations. That is why we are also developing our cultural exhanges,” she added, noting there is a strong demand among Emiratis and expatriates to learn the Chinese language.

“China has also opened its first public-funded school in Dubai and there are more than 500 Chinese studying in various UAE universities taking up finance, education, communication, and energy science courses,” she continued.

Boqian will also encourage more Chinese students to study in the UAE and she is hoping a Chinese college will be established in Dubai soon.

In terms of tourism, Boqian said she is expecting to reach this year the pre-pandemic level of 1.12 million incoming Chinese tourists who visited in 2019.

“We are also planning to hold more concerts, arts and cultural shows to strengthen our diplomatic relationship,” she continued.

Brief history of Chinese CG

Ou Boqian, the new Chinese Consul General in Dubai - Photo by Muhammad Sajjad
Ou Boqian, the new Chinese Consul General in Dubai - Photo by Muhammad Sajjad

Boqian was born in June 1966 in Tianjin, a major port city in northeastern China. She entered the diplomatic community and was first posted as Attaché at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in 1989.

She served as Attaché at the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1990-1993, and Attaché, Third Secretary at the Chinese Embassy in Uganda from 1993-1996. This was followed by various posting and assignments in China, Australia, Grenada, Japan and South Korea.

Before coming to Dubai, her last foreign post was as secretary-neral of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (China, Japan, South Korea).

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