Top categories for new company registrations included management consultancies and general trading firms, among others. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai-based free zone IFZA has reported a 177 per cent increase in new licences in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year.

The free zone witnessed more than 100 per cent average year-on-year growth in terms of new registrations, compared to the same period last year, solidifying its position as one of the fastest growing free zones in the UAE.

Martin G. Pedersen, Chairman of IFZA

The rise in new business registrations reflects the strong business sentiment and robust growth in Dubai’s wider economy. Business activity in the emirate's non-oil private sector economy hit a five-month high in March as output expanded on stronger increases in both jobs and inventories, according to the seasonally adjusted S&P Global purchasing managers' Index.

“IFZA’s commitment to strategic partnerships, developing world-class infrastructure and providing excellent licensee support have made it an attractive destination for businesses that want to position themselves in an ecosystem built for growth,” said Martin G. Pedersen, Chairman of IFZA.

“We have strengthened our presence internationally by actively going out to form lines of trust around the world that extend from IFZA to our global network of representatives and agents, and from them to their clients whom they have established trusted relationships.”

The top categories for new company registrations in 2023 included management consultancies, general trading firms, investors in commercial enterprises and management, and IT consultants, according to IFZA.

“Our aim is to bring in investors that contribute to the growth of foreign direct investment in Dubai. Furthermore, we are working on several new initiatives that will continue to grow our offerings for licensees, ensuring they can efficiently set up their businesses in the UAE,” said Pedersen.

IT-related business activities, including IT consultants and IT network services, saw an increase of 247 per cent and 280 per cent respectively, in new registrations compared to 2022. IFZA’s social media marketing alone contributed to 20 per cent of new licenses issued.

The free zone is working to further diversify its offerings and services in line with the growing digitalisation trend triggered by Dubai’s goal of becoming the next digital economy capital of the world.

For the past five years, Indian nationals represented the largest proportion of IFZA shareholders at 27 per cent, followed by those from France at 14 per cent and the UK at 14 per cent. Today, more than 100 nationalities are represented under IFZA licensees, in line with Dubai’s ever-growing international demographic.