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Tue 21 Mar 2017 03:26 PM

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Dubai named top hub for global firms looking for regional HQ

New research says 138 companies in Fortune 500 have picked Dubai to set up local presence

Dubai named top hub for global firms looking for regional HQ

Dubai is the most popular choice for top global companies who want to set up regional HQs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, according to a new report.

Infomineo, the market research company, said there was a 17 percent increase in the number of companies seeking a presence in the region in 2016 compared to 2015, with Dubai being the leading destination for regional HQs by far. 

The research looked at the top global companies, taken from the Fortune 500 ranking and looked at the locations of their regional HQs in MEA.

The report showed that Dubai and Johannesburg are the most desirable hubs in the region, followed by Casablanca and Nairobi.

Noticeably, London tripled its number of regional HQs in the region, acting as an MEA hub.

Given the geographical proximity and the talent pool present in the city, it could be that London is playing the role of a first step into the MEA region, especially for Japanese and North American companies, Infomineo said.

It added that overall, global Fortune 500 companies have recently begun to establish a footprint in the MEA region with 196 companies having a dedicated entity covering the region, compared to 167 in 2015.

However, the large majority of companies (305) still do not have dedicated entity covering the region.

Johannesburg remains the prime destination in Africa with a total of 58 companies while Dubai is by far the leading destination for regional HQs with a total of 138 companies, compared to 127 in 2015.

The research revealed that Germany and France are leading in terms of coverage rate while China has the lowest presence in the region.

The finance industry is still a leader in company count with 29 percent of finance companies having a presence in MEA while the energy industry has shown the highest growth rate in MEA with an increase of 61 percent.

The automotive industry, healthcare industry and food and beverage industry also ranked high, the report showed. 

Infomineo said the objective of this research was to assess the regional footprint of top multinationals in the MEA region and to look for any indications about the path that these multinationals were following before and when entering the Middle East and Africa.