The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has achieved its ‘2024 Strategy’ growth targets three years ahead of schedule.
The 2024 Strategy was announced in 2014, and since then, the DIFC has tripled the number of active registered companies in the financial district, according to a recent announcement.
The DIFC registered 492 new companies in H1 2021, an increase of 59% from the same period last year. Total active registered companies in the DIFC now stands at 3,292, an increase of 27% year-on-year. Of these, 1,025 companies are financial and innovation related, a growth of 25% from last year.
The financial centre attributed the growth to recent initiatives such as the Innovation Hub, which saw over 140 new startups and fintech companies join in H1 this year. These include early-stage startups such as YAP, Beehive, Tabby and StashAway, growth stage ventures Ebury and Adyen, unicorns such as SoFi and big tech companies like Amazon and Huawei.
DIFC moves forward with initiatives
The Innovation Hub will be expanded over the next two years, as it seeks to accommodate up to 1,000 businesses.
Initiatives within the DIFC Innovation Hub include the Fintech Hive, which runs programmes such as its FinTech Accelerator and AccelerateHer. DIFC also launched a ‘Future Campus’ in February this year. The Future Campus has a capacity for up to 25,000 students per year, and offers programmes focusing on a sustainable and innovative future for the global finance industry.
On the regulatory front, the DIFC said that it has several consultation papers and proposals in the works, including for a data protection law and new intellectual property regulations.
The DIFC has also signed partnerships with other Dubai authorities this year, such as the UAE Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Through the partnership, it aims to establish a controlled regulatory forum in the country for the testing of blockchain-based digital assets to develop a licensing regime for companies. It also signed a deal with the MENA Fintech Association to drive progress in the fields of open banking, regtech, payments and digital assets in the region.
Featured image credit: DIFC