A total of 492 new companies joined the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), in the first half of the year, up 59% year-on-year (H1 2020: 310), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region said on Thursday (Sep. 9).
DIFC is now home to 3,292 active registered companies, an increase of 27%, compared to 2,584 in H1 2020. This growth represents a tripling in size since 2014 when the centre's “2024 Strategy” was initiated.
The strategy outlined goals and opportunities that the centre aimed to achieve within a decade, through continuing to expand its physical and legislative infrastructure, to keep pace with targeted growth, and to ensure that DIFC ranks within the top 10 financial centres globally. In 2014, DIFC had expected to increase the number of active domiciled financial firms to 1,000 by 2024.
DIFC has delivered continued strong growth in H1 2021, with the result that it has achieved its 2024 Strategy growth targets three years ahead of schedule. A total of 1,025 financial and innovation related companies call DIFC their home now, up 25% on last year (H1 2020: 820).
"DIFC has successfully built a global reputation as the leading financial centre in the MEASA region and the achievement of our 2024 Strategy targets to triple in size three years ahead of schedule is testament to the appeal of our proposition. DIFC will continue to build on our success to date to play a key role in accelerating not only our own growth but also the economic diversification of Dubai" His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, said.
DIFC made strong progress in H1 with realising its vision to drive the future of finance and nurture innovation. The recently launched Innovation Hub has already reached full capacity, with over 140 new start-ups and FinTechs joining this market-leading innovation ecosystem during the first six months of this year.
These include companies at all stages of development, from early-stage start-ups such as Rentd Technology Ltd, Crayfish Labs Technologies Ltd, PALFusion Technology Holdings and StashAway Management (DIFC) Ltd, growth stage ventures including Ebury and Adyen, unicorns including as SoFi (UAE) Ltd and established big tech players like Amazon and Huawei.
DIFC is also building its offering as part of its overall vision to connect business, arts, culture and lifestyle.
Established in 2004 DIFC is a special economic zone in Dubai covering 110 ha (272 acres) and in the words of the Crown Prince, is inspired by: “a bold vision to create a financial marketplace to fill the gap not covered by international financial centres of Europe, the Far East and North America.”
Today, is the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and a nominal GDP of US$ 7.7 trillion.
Dubai is the second largest Emirate, with an area of 1,510 square miles, and is outperforming many of its neighbours with its ambitions for growth and prosperity.