By Courtney Trenwith
HSBC report found Dubai attracts twice as many expats looking to start their own businesses, compared to the global average
Entrepreneurial expats have voted Dubai as the second best city in the world to start a business, according to a HSBC global survey.
Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and London were highlighted for their good business environments, world-class infrastructures and good work-life balance. The cities scored between 85-87 percent, compared to the global average 56 percent.
The winning cities also offered a higher level of confidence in the local economy, with 56 percent of Dubai expats citing this sentiment, in additional to two-thirds (68 percent) who liked the emirate’s political stability.
HSBC said those opinions were backed by the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, which ranks the UAE 22nd out of 189 countries, scoring it well in areas including paying taxes, trading across borders, dealing with construction permits and registering property.
“Given these supportive conditions, it’s not surprising that Dubai attracts twice as many expats looking to start their own businesses (9 percent) compared to the global average (4 percent),” HSBC Middle East head of retail banking and wealth management Khalid Elgibali said.
“This is a ringing endorsement of the government’s diversification efforts and its investment in setting up the infrastructure needed to nurture entrepreneurs.”
Other expats also were moving to the UAE in droves, as global employment growth stalled at 1.4 percent according to the International Labour Organisation. More than half of them were in a good place to advance their career, compared to 41 percent globally, while nearly half (47 percent) also believed the UAE was good place to acquire new skills.
HSBC survey respondents earned on average $124,000 per year, nearly 20 percent more than the global average of $104,000.
Many expats also said they enjoyed generous benefits packages from employers, with more than half (55 percent) receiving accommodation support, compared to the global average of 33 percent.
However, cost of living remained a concern, with almost eight out of ten stating that their accommodation was more expensive than in their home countries and 60 percent saying they spend more on bills than at home.
“We recognise that high cost of living presents challenges for expats. While there certainly are aspects that are out of people’s controls, we see that nearly two thirds (65 percent) say that they have more disposable income since they moved to the country, which means that these expenses can be managed through better financial planning,” Eligibali said.
“On the whole, the UAE continues to be a popular choice for expats as three in five (60 percent) feel their overall quality of life is better here. This validation from expats shows that the country is one of the best destinations globally for those looking to move abroad to make a better life for themselves and their families.”
The survey interviewed 21,950 expats with 198 nationalities, including 2000 based in the UAE, during March-May 2015.
For information, tips and advice on setting up a new business or insights from those who have taken the leap into the world of entrepreneurship, click on the Arabian Business StartUp section.
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