The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is pulling all strings in its attempt to entice technology firms from Asia and Europe with an array of exciting offers. Part of the Gulf nation’s tools in its arsenal includes speedy business licensing and giving employees attractive residency options.
A total of 300 firms are currently on the radar of the UAE administrators, with Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, noting that nearly 40 companies were in the advanced stages of a possible relocation. Al Zeyoudi told reporters that the government is currently eyeing a timeline of 24 months, with 2024 chosen as a tentative date to achieve its aims.
“The timing was very crucial because what we noticed from the beginning of the year was that many companies would like to move because of inflation, the tighter regulatory environment in many parts of the world, including Asia, especially Singapore and Hong Kong,” said Al Zeyoudi.
The government will attempt to lure the tech firms using “golden visas,” a 10-year residency with the additional perks of allowing expatriates to live in the country without the need for a sponsor. Al Zeyoudi remarks that the plan is to gradually reduce its dependency on oil and branch out wholly into the digital economy after notching significant gains in tourism.
“We want to make sure we are harnessing the fourth industrial revolution, so the latest technology, whether it’s the Internet of things, blockchain, AI,” said Al Zeyoudi.
Digital asset service providers are already taking advantage of the government’s positive stance to clinch operational approval in the UAE. Binance and Crypto.com are some of the firms to have set up bases in the country, while other firms are using the UAE as their headquarters in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The drivers behind the influx of digital asset firms in the UAE
Digital asset firms have been drawn to the UAE by the allure of the country’s favorable stance toward virtual currencies. Dubai, the economic live wire of the UAE, has led the charge in the quest for the country to be a digital asset hub after implementing Law No. 4 of 2022 (Dubai Virtual Assets Law), which established a new body for the control of the industry.
Aside from creating an enabling environment, Dubai’s government is also making its significant foray into the metaverse with the announcement that its strategy will provide 40,000 virtual jobs. Experts predict that the creation of metaverse jobs can contribute up to $4 billion in terms of gross domestic product for the city.
However, the UAE faces competition from its Gulf neighbors like Jordan, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia for the top spot in the industry as they announce their policies in favor of virtual currencies.