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June 27, 2017

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Medical promotion efforts reach Dubai

TAIPEI -- Taiwan has teamed up with a management and marketing consultancy group in Dubai to promote its medical services in the Middle East, according to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).

Representatives from five hospitals in Taiwan and the Dubai-based Zabeel Group clinched the partnership by signing a memorandum of understanding Tuesday in Taipei.

The five hospitals were Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Cathay General Hospital, Cheng Hsin General Hospital and Min-Sheng General Hospital.

TAITRA also presented an "honorary consultant" certificate to the Zabeel Group at the ceremony.

"It marked a good beginning of cooperation," TAITRA Vice President Walter Yeh said at the ceremony before witnessing the signing of the agreement.

Yeh described the alliance as "significantly important," saying that the group will help introduce Taiwan's high-quality medical services to people in the Middle East and North Africa.

The initiative will also benefit from the introduction of nonstop flights between Dubai and Taipei in February, he said.

The partnership came about after TAITRA's office in the United Arab Emirates contacted Zabeel Group about a possible alliance to help attract investors and medical tourists from the wealthy Middle Eastern country, Taiwan's trade body said.

Zabeel Group CEO Fuad Abdul Qader said at the ceremony that people in the UAE only know of Taiwan's strength in electronics manufacturing, not its medical services.

But after he personally experienced getting a checkup and having an operation in Taiwan, an experience he described as "excellent and unbelievable," Abdul Qader said he wanted to promote what he has discovered here in his country.

In Dubai, many people travel abroad for medical services, often to the United States, Europe, South Korea and Thailand, and now they will be "happy to come here for medical services," he said.

In its role as Taiwan's first medical service referral platform in the Middle East, Zabeel will organize medical tours to Taipei, where clients can get "high end" checkups, TAITRA said.

One group has already been organized and is currently in Taiwan, with another group expected to come next month, the trade body said.

Health official Lee Wui-chiang said at the signing ceremony that the alliance could generate many opportunities.

Healthcare and medical services are only a small part of the initiative, he told CNA, suggesting that it could also involve foreign investment in Taiwan's health industry, including in the pharmaceutical, device and equipment sectors.

Founded in 2002, the Zabeel Group has more than 50 companies in the UAE, providing services in the industrial, contracting, medical, commercial, financial, legal, recruitment and management and marketing consultancy sectors.

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