Palm Jumeirah is an artificial island in Dubai. (NASA photo/Tim Kopra)
When Chinese President Xi Jinping flew to Africa on his way to the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) summit this past summer, he followed a route that has become familiar to many Chinese travelers: he stopped in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai International Airport—the busiest airport in the world by international passengers—has become a major hub for Chinese travelers heading to Africa, South Asia, and Europe. In fact, Emirates Airlines estimates that nearly one quarter of its passengers on Africa flights are Chinese who connected in Dubai.