Dubai financial hub growth takes DIFC to record results

Finance industry heads to Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in record numbers as the city attracts top fintech talent and alternative investments

Anyone doubting Dubai as a new centre for global finance, fintech and alternative investments should take a look at the numbers.

More than 660 companies joined the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in the first half of 2023, marking a double digit (23%) annual rise in new company registrations.

With such growth, a record-breaking 3,057 new jobs were created, up 20% YoY.

This brings the total number of companies registered at DIFC to 4,949 and the total workforce to 39,140. 

There are many good reasons for firms to flock to the Middle East’s most vibrant city and MENA’s top financial centre. As well as being a meeting place of east and west, Dubai has a positive approach to fintech and Web 3.0, ever-relaxing visa regulations in a bid to attract and retain talent, and a welcoming business environment that includes low corporate taxation – only introduced recently.

Among the influx of new registrations looking to leverage the region’s resilient economy were a significant number of hedge funds, looking to harness DIFC’s ecosystem of more than 300 wealth and asset management firms, and alternative investments. 

Big names such as Edmond de Rothschild, EnTrust Global, Nomura Singapore and St. James’s Place joined in 2023. 

How Dubai is shaping the future of finance

DIFC is home to 17 of the world’s top 20 banks, 25 of the world’s top 30 global systemically important banks, five of the top 10 insurance companies, five of the top 10 asset managers, and many leading global law and consulting firms. 

This further strengthens Dubai’s position as a global financial leader and underscores how the emirate is shaping the future of finance. 

“This achievement reinforces DIFC and Dubai’s prominence as a global destination for top-tier talent as we continue to deliver to our Strategy 2030,” said Arif Amiri, CEO at DIFC Authority

Part of that strategy includes a focus on AI, with a recently launched Dubai AI and Web 3.0 Campus at DIFC. Dubai has been quick to seize the AI opportunity and hopes to attract 500 startups by 2028.

This comes as Dubai enters a new phase of growth following the implementation of Dubai Economic Agenda D33. D33 intends to double the Dubai economy in the next decade, and includes 100 transformational projects. Some of those projects include:

  • Creating 30 global unicorns
  • Launching economic corridors with Africa, LATAM and Southeast Asia
  • Creating the ‘Sandbox Dubai’ innovation hub
  • Attracting the world’s best universities
  • Supporting 400 high-potential SMEs


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