Committee to decide on UAE industries open to full foreign ownership

Foreigners are set to be allowed to own up to 100 percent of onshore UAE companies following a directive announced this week. (Shutterstock)
Updated 24 May 2018
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Committee to decide on UAE industries open to full foreign ownership

  • Committee of representatives from UAE's seven emirates to decide on which industries are open to 100 percent foreign ownership.
  • Undersecretary for foreign trade & industry tells Bloomberg that new law's goal “is to attract quality investments and expertise and isn’t necessarily about the size or number of investments.”

LONDON: The UAE’s new law enabling foreigners to own 100 percent of onshore companies will be limited to specific industries deemed essential to the country’s economy, according to a senior government official.
Abdulla Al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade & industry at the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, told Bloomberg that a final decision had not been taken on what industries to include in this week’s landmark decision to allow foreigners to fully own non-free zone companies.
Al-Saleh said a committee — made up of representatives of the country’s seven emirates — would make a decision on which industries to initially include, and would add further industries and companies in the future.
The law’s goal “is to attract quality investments and expertise and isn’t necessarily about the size or number of investments,” he said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg.
The UAE’s Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said the ownership changes — as well as longer visas for selected students and selected professions — would be put implemented by the end of the year.
The move to extend foreign ownership has been welcomed by economists, even as key details have yet to be announced.
“The eligibility and the extensiveness of the investment liberalization will be critical to gauge the support to the economy,” Monica Malik, the chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, told Arab News on Thursday.
“Recent official comments indicated that the area of focus will likely be on factors such as job creation and technology transfer.”
Such a theme is in keeping with the UAE’s move to allow visas for up to 10 years for specialists working in medical, scientific, research and technical sectors, alongside 5-year student visas and 10-year visas for “exceptional” students.
Longer visa terms are predicted to especially impact the local real estate sector, which has languished in recent years thanks to increasing supply and sluggish economic conditions.


‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

Updated 26 May 2019
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‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

  • This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei
  • Another critical partner, ARM Holdings, said it was complying with the US restrictions

BEIJING: While Huawei’s founder brushes aside a US ban against his company, the telecom giant’s employees have been less sanguine, confessing fears for their future in online chat rooms.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei declared this week the company has a hoard of microchips and the ability to make its own in order to withstand a potentially crippling US ban on using American components and software in its products.
“If you really want to know what’s going on with us, you can visit our Xinsheng Community,” Ren told Chinese media, alluding to Huawei’s internal forum partially open to viewers outside the company.
But a peek into Xinsheng shows his words have not reassured everyone within the Shenzhen-based company.
“During difficult times, what should we do as individuals?” posted an employee under the handle Xiao Feng on Thursday.
“At home reduce your debts and maintain enough cash,” Xiao Feng wrote.
“Make a plan for your financial assets and don’t be overly optimistic about your remuneration and income.”
This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei as a result of the ban.
Another critical partner, ARM Holdings — a British designer of semiconductors owned by Japanese group Softbank — said it was complying with the US restrictions.
“On its own Huawei can’t resolve this problem, we need to seek support from government policy,” one unnamed employee wrote last week, in a post that received dozens of likes and replies.
The employee outlined a plan for China to block off its smartphone market from all American components much in the same way Beijing fostered its Internet tech giants behind a “Great Firewall” that keeps out Google, Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other foreign companies.
“Our domestic market is big enough, we can use this opportunity to build up domestic suppliers and our ecosystem,” the employee wrote.
For his part, Ren advocated the opposite response in his interview with Chinese media.
“We should not promote populism; populism is detrimental to the country,” he said, noting that his family uses Apple products.
Other employees strategized ways to circumvent the US ban.
One advocated turning to Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao to buy the needed components. Another dangled the prospect of setting up dozens of new companies to make purchases from US suppliers.
Many denounced the US and proposed China ban McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and all-American movies and TV shows.
“First time posting under my real name: we must do our jobs well, advance and retreat with our company,” said an employee named Xu Jin.
The tech ban caps months of US effort to isolate Huawei, whose equipment Washington fears could be used as a Trojan horse by Chinese intelligence services.
Still, last week Trump indicated he was willing to include a fix for Huawei in a trade deal that the two economic giants have struggled to seal and US officials issued a 90-day reprieve on the ban.
In Xinsheng, an employee with the handle Youxin lamented: “I want to advance and retreat alongside the company, but then my boss told me to pack up and go,” followed by two sad-face emoticons.