Ningxia, China aggressively develops exhibition business, staying at forefront of China- Arab communications General MENA August 27, 20140 NINGXIA, China, Aug. 27, 2014 / PRNewswire – Driven by the need for large-scale development in Western China and the strategy of opening to the West, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region has been aggressively developing the exhibition and conference sector in recent years, recasting the city as a cutting-edge platform for communications between China and Arabic-speaking countries. Last year, the inaugural China-Arab States Expo was successfully held in the region. In September of this year alone, the 2014 China National Commodity Exposition in Ningxia, the China-Arab Auto Co-operation Forum as well as the 2014 China (Ningxia) International Halal Food and Muslim Commodity Trade Fair will be held in succession at the Yinchuan International Conference and Exhibition Center as complementary events to the China-Arab States Expo. Of all the Chinese provinces and regions that have established cooperative relationships with Arab countries, Ningxia is the only one to be a provincial Hui autonomous region (Hui being a Muslim ethnic group within China). The region shares similar cultural traditional and religious practices and has a long-term historical interaction with Arab countries. Despite the cultural and geopolitical affiliation, Ningxia’s important role in China-Arab relations had been neglected for a long period of time. The situation remained this way until 2010, when the successful hosting of the first of three consecutive years of the China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum and the first China-Arab States Expo, during which Ningxia’s vital role was gradually established. With over a decade of cooperation, the trade volume between China and Arab countries has grown eightfold, with China’s foreign trade with the area as a proportion of the country’s total foreign trade growing from 3 to 5.7 per cent. Investment by Chinese companies in Arab countries expanded from US$17 million to US$2.04 billion, with China’s foreign investment with the area as a proportion of the country’s total foreign investment increasing from 0.6 to 2.0 per cent. Besides crude oil imports and traditional trade activities, the cooperation has expanded to take economic and trade cooperation as the mainstay including collaborations across a wide array of sectors and investment types, including bilateral investment, financial cooperation, cultural exchanges and industrial complementation. Ningxia is now on its way to becoming a comprehensive platform for political dialogue, economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchange between China and Arab countries and the world’s Muslim regions.