President and chief executive officer of China State Construction and Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME), Yu Tao, heads up the contracting giant’s regional operations.
With 2017 revenues of $750m (AED2.8bn), the company has been engaged in projects such as the 150,000m² Silicon Park, a smart city project at Dubai Silicon Oasis; the steel works at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Midfield Terminal Building; the new headquarters for National Bank of Kuwait, located in Kuwait City’s central business district; and the UAE’s iconic, newly opened Dubai Water Canal.
Over the next 12 months, CSCEC ME will be busy with notable UAE schemes, such as those for Arenco Hotel, Namaa Properties’ Paramount Tower, Expo Village, and Dubai Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) R881/3C2 Parallel Road Project. CSCEC ME received the RTA’s letter of acceptance for the project in January. The company said its contract for the road development is valued at $218m (AED800m).
In addition, the contractor is working on the administration facility of Kuwait University’s Sabah Al-Salem University City. And, this January, Ajman Holding signed an agreement with CSCEC ME to develop and construct Mirkaaz, a shopping destination in Ajman. Valued at $136m (AED500m), Mirkaaz will be the first mall in the UAE to feature an atrium roof of more than 7,900m2, and natural ultraviolet light. The project is expected to receive more than 10 million visitors in its first year. Construction work is due to be completed in Q4 2019.
Furthermore, in September 2017, Union Properties signed an agreement with CSCEC ME to develop a $2bn (AED8bn) masterplan for its flagship Motor City community in Dubai. The five-stage project was scheduled to break ground in January, with overall completion set for 2021. Each stage of the project will take 48 months to complete, Nasser Butti Omair bin Yousef, chairman of Union Properties, told Construction Week at the time.
Most recently, in June, CSCEC ME won a $19.6m (AED72m) contract to build roads and infrastructure for Akoya Oxygen, Damac’s billion-dollar luxury villa community.
With a total workforce of more than 12,000 construction professionals across the GCC – 1,312 of which are qualified engineers – staff training is a high priority for the contractor. Tao says that “optimising management resources such as labour efficiency” is one of the key challenges that the company faces at present, and the firm’s training and development budget for 2018 is $80,000 (AED294,000).
Technology is also a key focus for CSCEC ME, and in 2017 the company organised its first technical conference, which saw all the firm’s technical departments share “innovative engineering solutions related to their projects”, according to Tao.
The company plans to invest more than $1m (AED3.7m) in technology this year, as well as to emphasise the enhancement of its construction technology research work, including through its 3D Printing Construction Research & Development Centre.
As in 2017, Tao identifies China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ strategy as a key growth opportunity for CSCEC ME going forwards. The initiative on the part of the Chinese government aims to strengthen the country’s ties with other Eurasian markets, and will see continuing cooperation between China and the UAE in areas such as economic and technological development. This programme will facilitate CSCEC ME’s endeavour “to participate in more potential construction projects in the UAE”, Tao tells Construction Week.