By Sarah Townsend
Free zone says foreign investments at the technology park account for half of total
A total of AED3.6 billion ($980 million) was invested in Dubai’s Silicon Oasis free zone over the course of 2015, it announced on Saturday.
Projects carried out by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) comprised half of all investments, according to a statement, while foreign investments at the technology park contributed to the remaining half.
The free zone recorded 16 percent growth in recurring revenues and a 38 percent increase in the number of companies operating there, from 1,391 in 2014 to 1,920 in 2015. Of those, over three-quarters (78 percent) specialise in technology, it said.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of DSOA, said current investment projects included the AED1.3 billion ($350 million) ‘smart city’ project Silicon Park, and the AED56 million ($15.2 million) student accommodation project for the Rochester Institute of Technology Dubai.
Sheikh Ahmed added: “Other key projects that are underway include the fifth phase of implementation of light industrial units costing AED46 million [$12.5 million], the AED23.5 million [$6.4 million] water treatment plant, two electricity generating plants valued at AED192 million [$52.2 million], the AED30 million [$8.1 million] Lake Park project, the AED44 million [$11.9 million] roads improvement project and Techno-hub, an office building dedicated to technology companies, valued at AED97 million [$26.4 million].”
DSOA attracted AED1.8 billion ($490 million) of foreign investment in 2015, it announced. This included the AED1 billion ($270 million) Fakeeh Academic Medical Centre, the AED500 million ($136 million) Avenues Mall Silicon Oasis, the AED200 million ($54.4 million) Axiom Telecom high-tech headquarters, as well as several other projects totalling AED165 million ($44.9 million).
Meanwhile, a total of AED 51 million ($13.8 million) of financial support was given to start ups from the authority, and investors, the statement said, adding that DSOA registered 77 percent customer satisfaction levels in 2015.
Sheikh Ahmed added: “DSOA has developed its 2021 growth strategy, which serves as a blueprint for expansion and shapes the tech-park’s development trajectory.
“This strategy is in line with Dubai’s vision to evolve as a smart city that encourages innovation and creativity, supports young technological talent and transforms ideas into successful tech businesses.”