Dubai's efforts to become a global hub for the luxury retail market has got another shot in the arm with De Grisogono of Switzerland choosing the city to open its first-ever subsidiary.
With the support of the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), Geneva-based De Grisogono, known for its jewellery and luxury watches, aims to use its new Dubai base to build a network of subsidiaries and representative offices in new markets.
The company said its brand is already well-represented in the Middle East retail market.
The value of Swiss watches imported into the UAE rose 36 percent in the last three years, putting the country in the top ten of countries for the luxury accessories.
Cumulative 2013 figures released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry have ranked the UAE as the primary Middle Eastern country for the importation of Swiss timepieces.
The total value of Swiss watches into the UAE last year was 934.1 million Swiss Francs ($1.05bn).
Omar Chaoui, managing director - Middle East & India Region for De Grisogono said it made absolute sense to open their first-ever subsidiary in Dubai given the constant growth in the region, adding that New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo would be next in line for the company.
He said: "Dubai is in the heart of a very active and growing region - we are almost four hours away from Istanbul, Cairo or New Delhi. Moreover, the Dubai infrastructure in terms of free zones, airports and administrative services makes it a reliable location for us.
"The Dubai office will be looking after a wide variety of markets to the advantage of our partners and clientele," added Chaoui.
Established in 1993, De Grisogono remains a niche brand, yet has boutiques and retailers worldwide. The company has many distinctions to its credit, like being the first-ever premium jeweller to use Black Diamonds and winning the 2005 Grand Prix de l'Horlogerie de Geneve for the first-ever mechanical watch with a digitalised display of time.
Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI, added: "Dubai accounts for a major share of the local and regional luxury market today. The leadership in Dubai see the brand-consciousness and appetite for luxury among residents and visitors as strong grounds to promote economic diversification and further infrastructure development, as reflected in initiatives such as the Dubai Design District."
Recent reports put Dubai's share of the regional luxury retail market at 30 percent and lists the city among the new destinations preferred by savvy luxury shoppers.
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