DMCC – the world’s flagship free zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise – welcomed 1,456 new member companies to its business district in the first half of 2023, recording a near identical 6-month performance since its record-breaking first half in 2022 when it registered 1,469 new companies.
The strong performance continues to be driven by the unique offering provided by DMCC in line with its commitment to continuously enhance the ease of doing business. It also means that today DMCC is home to over 23,000 member companies from across the globe.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, said: “We are proud of our remarkable journey and registering strong achievements across every sector we operate in. Today, we stand at an unprecedented 23,000 companies while also contributing over 11% to Dubai’s FDI. After such an exceptional half year performance and with many exciting plans still in the pipeline, we look forward to another successful second half and to unlocking new opportunities for companies to do business and connect with the world.”
Feryal Ahmadi, Chief Operating Officer, DMCC, added: “Our performance in H1 2023 is a testament to our relentless efforts in driving innovation and embracing the dynamic needs of businesses worldwide. We have created an ecosystem where the ease of doing business attracts and enables record-breaking numbers of companies from around the world to settle in Dubai and succeed. By facilitating trade, attracting foreign direct investment and cultivating strategic partnerships, DMCC is propelling the evolution of Dubai as a thriving hub for business. We remain dedicated to supporting the growth and success of all our member companies.”
Strengthening Position as the Business District of Choice
Despite the challenging global economic environment, DMCC continued to attract a broad range of multinationals, SMEs and entrepreneurs from all around the world through its unique value proposition.
Building on the record-breaking performance achieved in 2022, during which more than 3,000 companies joined the free zone, DMCC saw strong growth from key target markets including Israel, China and India.
Promoting Trade and Attracting FDI to Dubai
With DMCC worth approximately 11% of all foreign direct investment (FDI) to Dubai, the free zone continued to promote Dubai as a prime destination for FDI and a gateway to global trade, hosting its flagship Made for Trade Live roadshows in a number of key target markets, including Spain, South Korea, China, India and the United Kingdom.
Designed to educate the market about its world-class infrastructure, unique industry-specific offering, wide range of services and seamless business support, DMCC hosted 187 webinars and physical events in the first half of 2023, attracting over 17,929 attendees.
Following the successful roadshow across Mumbai, Surat and Jaipur in May, DMCC partnered with business services firm PP Shah and Associates to open a representative office in Mumbai. Providing a one-stop solution for Indian businesses looking to expand through Dubai, the new office will further boost the bilateral relationship in support of the UAE-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed last year.
In support of the similarly growing commercial ties between the UAE and China, DMCC hosted over 200 Chinese business leaders during a dedicated China Business Day to boost the USD 200 billion China-UAE bilateral trade growth by 2030. More than 600 business leaders also attended DMCC’s roadshows in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing.
In June, DMCC signed an agreement with the Administrative Committee of Beijing Daxing International Airport Economic Zone to achieve greater strategic collaboration on business and trade and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lin-gang Special Area of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone to cooperate in areas such as innovation, commerce, logistics and trade.
Driving Global Commodities Trade
DMCC continued to facilitate trade across a wide range of important commodities, including gold, diamonds, precious metals and stones as well as agricultural produce such as tea and coffee, supporting the advancement of the global commodities market and cementing the position of Dubai as a leading hub for commodities trade.
To further strengthen the position of Dubai as a global hub for diamond trade, DMCC announced the establishment of the Tender Best Practice Forum Code of Conduct under the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), representing the first bourse-led initiative to advance industry best practice in the world.
DMCC also supported the leading international Jewellery, Gem & Technology Dubai (JGT Dubai) tradeshow as the official partner of its second edition which was held in February 2023. Building on the success of the diamond story, DMCC will host the world’s first Lab-grown Diamond Symposium in July 2023, bringing together growers, manufacturers, retailers and financial institutions to identify opportunities and challenges to help shape the future of the LGD industry.
As a result of these extensive efforts, the Ministry of Economy issued a resolution to confirm that the DDE is now included in the official list of the organisations that represent rough diamond traders and regulate their trade in accordance with the rules and regulations of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the World Diamond Council. This is a significant step towards industry self-regulation, testament that DDE operates in accordance with global standards and contributes to the responsible and transparent trade of diamonds.
DMCC also supported the advancement of the coloured gemstones industry, which forms an integral part of its long-term growth plan. Held under the theme ‘The Future of Coloured Gemstones’, DMCC hosted the International Coloured Gemstone Association (ICA) Congress 2023 in February, convening key players and industry stakeholders to advance the global trade of coloured gemstones.
The different agricultural commodities supported by DMCC also saw strong growth in H1 2023. DMCC signed an MoU with the Bharat Subcontinent Agri Foundation (BSAF) that will see the two entities collaborate to advance the global agri commodities by partnering in FoodTech and AgriTech projects, sharing prospective business opportunities, and transferring knowledge through exhibitions and conferences.
Hosted by the DMCC Tea Centre under the theme of “Unpacking the Future of Tea: From Consumer Trends to New Market Opportunities”, the Global Dubai Tea Forum 2023 welcomed over 300 industry experts and professionals including traders, producers, suppliers, buyers and governments from across the globe. Seeking to encourage meaningful dialogue on the most critical challenges as well as growth opportunities within the tea industry, GDTF plays a major role in shaping the future of the industry and facilitating its growth.
DMCC Tradeflow, a fully digital registry for the possession and ownership of commodities stored in UAE-based facilities, saw strong growth across a number of key areas. The platform handled approximately 250 kg of gold bars and managed 6.3 million carats of rough diamonds in H1 2023. With over 78,800 Shariah-complaint transactions processed, it recorded a total value of AED 1.02 trillion in Islamic Finance transactions, a 37% increase over H1 2022. The first half of the year also saw Warrant Souq, a seamless marketplace for trading commodities, being introduced on DMCC Tradeflow.
Pioneering Innovation and Crypto Technologies
DMCC Crypto Centre continued to supplement its comprehensive offering by forming a number of strategic partnerships and agreements throughout the first half of the year. This included a partnership with the global crypto giant Bybit, in which the exchange will provide financial support totalling AED 500,000 for new crypto businesses as well as become the official listing partner for the DMCC Crypto Centre. Similarly, Enya Labs was introduced as the technology and ecosystem partner, utilising Boba Network to offer access and provide technical support to members interested in scaling their businesses.
Launched in support of the increasingly growing global and regional video gaming industry, the DMCC Gaming Centre has become one of the leading clusters of gaming and esports businesses in the MENA region with over 70 members. The Centre offers a comprehensive ecosystem that provides everything gaming and esports businesses need to scale their operations globally, providing a home to any type and size of gaming businesses.
DMCC also launched a special edition of its flagship Future of Trade report titled ‘Gaming in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Geared for growth’. The report gathered contributions from industry influentials to establish the critical drivers of the accelerated growth of the industry in the region and beyond, expecting revenues to almost double by 2027 from 2021 in the MENA region and reach USD 6 billion.
Home to over 290 companies in the e-commerce space including Deliveroo, Instashop, Cafu, Class Pass and JUSTLIFE, DMCC also launched the DMCC E-Commerce Ecosystem to capitalise on burgeoning demand in the sector and accelerate its growth across the region. Launched in partnership with the largest self-storage provider in the Middle East, The Box, companies will have access to an accelerator programme and tailored business packages.
Redefining Dubai’s Urban Landscape
DMCC achieved significant progress with its much-awaited Uptown Dubai district, with the flagship 81-storey skyscraper Uptown Tower nearing completion. In March 2023, the ‘SO/ Uptown Dubai Residences’ branded units by Ennismore were launched, including 227 signature residences on the top 28 floors of the tower. Mace Group, the renowned global consultancy and construction firm, has been appointed as the building operations management entity to ensure the delivery of industry-leading services.
DMCC also entered a strategic partnership with Brewer Smith Brewer Group (BSBG) that will see the global architecture, design and engineering firm deliver the second phase of the thriving district – two mid-rise towers of 28 and 21 storeys featuring a total of approximately 67,500 square metres of commercial space and 5,000 square metres for retail and F&B.
As the master developer of Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), DMCC continued to work on further enhancing the community. This included forming a partnership with Ellington Properties to develop Upper House, a residential development valued at AED 1.2 billion; another with Danube Properties to re-define luxury living through Viewz, twin high-rise towers of apartments and sky villas with Aston Martin furnished interior common areas and amenities that are valued at over AED 1.4 billion; and with Sobha Realty to develop Verde by Sobha, its first project in JLT which is estimated to generate sales revenue of AED 1.6 billion once completed.