Thursday 12, October 2017 by Jessica Combes

UK companies increasingly attracted to Dubai’s technology sector


Dubai’s ambitious growth strategy for its rapidly expanding technology sector is attracting strong investment interest from British companies, according to Links Group, a leading provider of commercial facilitation and advisory services in the Middle East. 

Links Group recently joined a UK-based, four-city roadshow hosted by the Department of International Trade (DIT). The roadshow sought to educate British companies about the benefits of trading in the Gulf region. A key focus topic was Dubai’s emerging position as a leading global technology hub and the vast opportunities this presents for foreign investors. 

“The appetite for expansion to the UAE among British companies remains strong. The UAE is already one of the most important trade partners of the UK with the two nations aiming to double their reciprocal trade to GBP 25 billion by 2020. In our view Dubai’s burgeoning technology sector will play a signigicant role in supporting these ambitious trade targets. The introduction of our new Market Entry Agreement product will further provide foreign businesses with a cost effective and secure route to doing export business. We will we continue to work closely with the DIT to break down barriers to trade and investment to the UAE,” said John Martin St.Valery, Founder and CEO, of Links Group. 

In 2015, the UAE Government launched its ‘Smart Dubai’ initiative, which aims to establish the emirate as the Middle East’s smartest city by 2021. According to Dubai FDI, 69 per cent of FDI projects attracted to Dubai during the first quarter of 2017 involved high and medium technology. In total, they accounted for 24.3 per cent of FDI capital into Dubai - a clear indicator of the the city’s credentials and potential to be a re-export hub of new technologies.

During the investment roadshow, the technology-focused panel discussion ‘Getting started with Exporting’ was the best attended session, attracting 200 delegates. Many expressed a strong interest in investing in Dubai’s thriving economy and taking advantage of its global strategic importance as a leading smart city. The DIT, Links Group and other consultants are now exploring how to work more closely with international ministers to facilitate market entry strategies and enhance bilateral trade links for international business leaders and investors in the technology sector. 

The Dubai Government recognises the need for foreign expertise to support its transition to a smart economy, presenting excellent opportunities for foreign investors. Much effort is being directed towards attracting the world’s best innovators to establish a presence in the emirate. Earlier this year, the Dubai leadership announced the opening of Area 2071, a creative ecosystem and community space in Emirates Towers where creative thinkers from government, business and culture will design the future together. 

Considered the digital capital of Europe, the UK is a clear leader in digital skills and collaboration within ecosystems. In terms of future UK prosperity, two thirds of business leaders identified the UK’s technology sector as the area they believe would prove most fundamental for the country’s economic growth, according to research from the Confederation of British Industry. Home to the most tech unicorns in Europe, the UK is in a prime position to capitalise on Dubai’s growing digital ecosystem. 

“The emerging economies of the Middle East, accessed through the UAE, present attractive opportunities for British companies in the technology sector where their expertise is highly sought. By working with Links Group, local government authorities and business practitioners, we will continue to help connect British companies to these opportunities,” said Alastair Long, Department for International Trade Regional Director for the Middle East.

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