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Sun 11 Aug 2019 12:10 AM

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How the fintech sector is exploding at Dubai's financial hub

Dubai International Financial Centre says number of licensed fintech firms jump from 35 to more than 80 in the first half of 2019

How the fintech sector is exploding at Dubai's financial hub

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has seen an explosion of fintech companies in the first six months of 2019 reinforcing its position as one of the world’s top 10 fintech hubs.

DIFC said its fintech ecosystem has more than doubled in size from over 80 to 200 companies since the start of 2019 while the number of licensed fintech firms operating in the DIFC increased from 35 to more than 80 in the first half of 2019.

Key international fintech firms that have made DIFC their regional base include Dublin-based software company Fenergo, InsurTech leaders Charles Taylor and Swedish crowdfunding platform, FundedByMe.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: "We are continuing to cement our global position as a pivotal business and finance hub, while making significant headway towards meeting our 2024 targets. 

"Our focus on innovation and technology is delivering a blueprint for sustainable growth as we continue our journey towards driving the future of finance. DIFC’s emphasis on transforming its lifestyle offering, alongside strategic investments within technology and fintech means we are confident about reinforcing our position as a leading global financial centre – a great place to live, work, play and do business.” 

Overall, DIFC saw sustained growth in the first half of 2019, welcoming more than 250 new companies, and bringing the total number of active registered firms to 2,289, a 14 percent increase year-on-year.

This has fuelled the creation of over 660 jobs, boosting the combined workforce to more than 24,000 individuals, and has resulted in the occupancy of 99 percent of DIFC-owned buildings.

The DIFC now boasts more than 671 financial related firms, an 11 percent increase from the same period last year.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and president of the DIFC, said: “Dubai continues to gain recognition on the global stage as the destination where business meets innovation, and the DIFC has been a significant driver of this. The strong performance that the Centre has delivered during the first half of 2019 highlights the confidence and trust that international financial institutions have in Dubai.”

Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, added: “The Centre remains a fundamental driver in leading financial sector transformation, supporting the advancement of the UAE economy, and developing the next generation of financial professionals.”

DIFC announced new expansion plans earlier this year, supporting the economic future of Dubai and the UAE. The phased growth plan will triple the scale of the leading financial hub and will provide an international focal point for fintech and innovation.

Today, 91 percent of DIFC’s prime retail space is occupied by 432 leading lifestyle, art, fashion and food & beverage brands, an offering that will be significantly boosted once Gate Avenue is fully open. 

During the first half of 2019, Hilton Hotels & Resorts also announced the opening of Waldorf Astoria, Dubai International Financial Centre.

In addition, the DIFC welcomed a number of new culinary concepts including Marea, the New York fine dining experience led by multi-Michelin starred chef, Michael White as well as Grecian inspired Avli by Tasha. In March, it was announced that renowned chef Nusret Gökçe is set to launch casual dining concept Saltbae this year.

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