DUBAI, Dubai developer Emaar has announced plans to build the Middle East's largest Chinatown within the retail district of its mega development Dubai Creek Harbour.

Emaar's announcement comes ahead of the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UAE on Thursday and will further strengthen UAE-China relations.

The retail precinct will occupy a central location within the 6 sqkm mega project and will feature local brands and global fashion brands that appeal to Chinese tourists.

The wider Dubai Creek Harbour will feature commercial districts, leisure developments, residential neighbourhoods, parks and Dubai Creek Tower � set to become the tallest tower in in the emirate.

The development will also have a marina, a museum and cultural facilities, canals, landscaped promenades, pedestrian walkways and cycle paths.

The company also announced that it will open three dedicated pavilions in China � in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou � to promote tourism, education, trading and investment between the UAE and China.

In a third announcement, Emaar said it will expand its premium hotel brand, Address Hotels + Resorts, to China.

"Discussions are ongoing to develop and operate Address branded hotels in key cities in the country, given the strong appeal and familiarity that the brand enjoys among Chinese tourists," a company statement said.

Trade exchange between the two countries grew 15.1 per cent last year from $46.3bn in 2016 to $53.3bn in 2017.

Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, said: "The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UAE is historic and will further strengthen UAE-China relations, underpinned by initiatives such as the UAE-China Week announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

"The UAE and China share strong bilateral trade and cultural relations, which are bolstered by the presence of over 200,000 Chinese citizens who live in the UAE and the hundreds of thousands of Chinese visitors that the nation welcomes annually.

"The development of the new Chinese retail and lifestyle district at Dubai Creek Harbour - as well as Emaar's expansion into China, both in property and hospitality - highlight our commitment to the country, and our focus on contributing to the strength and success of UAE-China relations."

Emaar's new China-focused initiatives build on the strong Chinese investment in the UAE as well as the continued growth of Chinese visitors to the country, especially following the visa-on-arrival status granted to Chinese nationals by the UAE in 2016.

China is the fourth largest visitor source market for Dubai, with tourist and business traveller arrivals at 401,000 between January 1 and May 31, 2018, a growth of nine percent over the same period in 2017.

Source: Emirates News Agency