A thriving technology sector and one of the biggest ‘smart city’ initiatives are the driving force behind Dubai fast becoming the world’s top tech hub.
Dubai, much like the early 21st-century digital start-up entrepreneurs, is young and rich. Having made its money by quite literally, striking oil.
Far from squandering their wealth, Dubai has invested much of it in commercial property and tourism.
Where There Is Money, There Is Technology
Not surprisingly, Dubai has turned to tech and is promoting innovation and entrepreneurship as the number one priority to expand the country’s economic growth outside of their oil, property and tourism industry.
And the world’s best tech minds are heading there in droves.
It’s the strong educational opportunities, limitless career growth prospects, supportive business legislations and high quality of life that contribute to their tech industry being valued at nearly $8 billion (R31,4 billion) which is projected to see an average 5% annual growth.
Already, we can see how effective this strategy is. An analysis on the largest Fortune 500 companies showed that 138 organisations (just under 30%) have opted to host their regional Head Quarters in Dubai. Only Johannesburg came a ‘close’ second, which is host to 58 companies.
Tech Is Being Backed by The Country’s Leaders
HH Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, made an announcement last year that the country would grant 100% foreign ownership and will issue 10-year visas to certain entities. These progressive tech policies are a key factor that encourages organisations like Chinese smart device manufacturer Huawei’s in their bid to help create a more connected world.
“It is establishing itself as the destination of choice for tech startups seeking to access emerging markets”, Muhammed Mekki, founding partner of Astrolabs, a tech hub that hosts entrepreneurs from over 40 countries, said for Forbes. “With over 2 billion people living within a four-hour flight radius and the right infrastructure to support a thriving start-up ecosystem, Dubai is a compelling location to consider for founders from around the world.”
Built from The Top Down
In 2017, SAP announced their five-year, US $200 million investment plan to bolster Dubai’s banking and finance, energy and natural resources, healthcare, government and public sectors – which are already seeing an enormous digital transformation. The integration of technology has become the prime focus as the UAE looks to expand across their country’s core sectors. Unlike Silicon Valley, Dubai is being built from the top down. If the public sector is committed and organised around the development and growth of the country, things can move incredibly quickly.
Location, Location, Location
The UAE is slowly becoming the preferred choice to host global conferences too, as more of the larger organisations flock to a more central location. Recently, Dubai held the World Blockchain Summit and is due to host the World Expo which will be host to 192 countries over the course of 173 days in 2020 and is touted as one of the most important expositions in history!
This is bringing in crucial foreign investment into the Emirates that is vital to the success of this ambitious vision!
There’s a lot to be hyped up about in Dubai with their main goal to become one of the world’s ‘smartest cities’ in good stead. We can expect to see a lot more investment driving innovation, entrepreneurship and highly impressive projects that will set new industry standards!
We are very excited to contribute to Dubai’s tech industry as Lindsay Cowan explains in our recent blog post!
Get in touch with us if you’re looking to become another expat!