Dubai: Tecom added 160 new business partners into its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) cluster to take the total number to 1,520 companies last year.
Tecom’s ICT cluster includes Dubai Internet City (DIC) and Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ).
Key sectors that saw new additions within DIC include internet and multimedia software, telecommunications and IT services.
“2012 was a continuation of our growth. It was in line with our growth expectations. Expansion of business partners inside the community is another clear evidence for us for the industry growth. More than 60 companies expanded their presence and operation in the community,” Malek Al Malek, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource Zone, told Gulf News.
Out of 160, he said that 156 new companies joined DIC and four joined DOZ. As of 2012, 1,400 companies operate at DIC and 120 at DOZ. The occupancy rate at DIC stands at around 98 per cent while it is 100 per cent at DOZ.
Throughout 2012, DIC has also increasingly turned its attention to supporting and nurturing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and encouraging the development of innovative ideas.
“We see a recovery for many sectors in the economy this year and this will positively impact the industry growth. We will be servicing both local start-ups and MNCs, but local start-ups need more focus to grow to the next level. We continue to attract big multinationals but we are now also promoting start-ups and local technology companies from this region,” Malek said.
He said similar numbers of business partners are expected to join this year. “We are after bigger companies that do not have an operation here.”
Investing in innovation
“The UAE is one of the few countries that is truly investing in innovation through its various incubation programmes and funding tie-ups with international governments and private equity companies,” he said.
The year witnessed the development of the in5 innovation hub, a technology start-up incubator that aims to foster entrepreneurships and drive innovation. Hosted in DIC, In5 aims to foster and promote entrepreneurship and innovation in order to develop a technology start-up ecosystem in Dubai. The hub provides infrastructure, support and a dynamic and engaging working environment to entrepreneurs from the early stages of idea creation through to idea implementation and the commercial launch of a product or service.
He said DOZ also witnessed growth throughout last year. Dubai now counts for 90 per cent of the UAE’s outsourcing industry, and unlike other outsourcing hubs around the world, DOZ is a cross-sector zone catering to all types of outsourcing processes.
According to a recent report by Gartner Inc, ICT expenditure in the Middle East is forecast to reach $192 billion this year, a 5.5 per cent increase from 2012.