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Fri 5 Jul 2019 12:19 AM

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Expo 2020 Dubai driving growth plans of UAE firms, says HSBC

More than four fifths of UAE companies expect to grow over the next two years, according to HSBC survey

Expo 2020 Dubai driving growth plans of UAE firms, says HSBC
Expo 2020 remains the overriding factor resulting in such strong confidence for growth in the UAE.

More than four fifths (82 percent) of UAE companies expect to grow over the next two years, as the twin engines of Expo 2020 Dubai and their own aggressive investment plans drive new business, according to research by HSBC.

The boost in business confidence makes the UAE one of the world’s most optimistic markets for growth globally, behind only Indonesia, India, China, and Mexico.

According to the new HSBC study of over 2,500 companies in 14 countries, UAE businesses intend to pursue aggressive investment plans to drive growth in the medium-term.

Almost two-thirds plan to increase investment by more than 5 percent with the majority focusing on upskilling staff (56 percent).

It added that 78 percent believe the mix of skills and diversity in their workforce will change in their business in the medium-term.

Innovation also remains at the forefront of achieving growth, the report said, adding that despite 37 percent of UAE businesses identifying cost as a barrier, 86 percent of UAE businesses expect technology to change.

The internet of things (68 percent), 5G (66 percent) and artificial intelligence (63 percent) are viewed as the greatest opportunities to facilitate increased speed to market, business transparency, improved productivity and enhanced customer experience.

The desire to operate in a more eco-friendly future is also clear with over a third of UAE businesses intending to increase investment in sustainability, out of which 60 percent intend to achieve this by more than 5 percent.

Some businesses said they plan to improve product manufacturing, upgrade plants/premises or equipment. Others will focus on investing in sustainability practices.

Mike Davis, head of Commercial Banking, HSBC UAE said: “Expo 2020 remains the overriding factor resulting in such strong confidence for growth. With an estimated 190 nations participating and more than 25 million visits to Expo 2020 expected, businesses are seeing how this international event has the potential to connect companies across the globe. It will be a catalyst to even greater growth opportunities.”

He added: “It is exciting that an increasing number of businesses are also putting sustainable practice at the centre of their growth strategy. While the survey data shows that many plan to increase investment in this area, we are also seeing a number of businesses take advantage of alternative ways to become more sustainable."

Interviews for the survey were conducted in the UAE, Australia, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, the UK and the US in May.