Dubai: The incentives seem to be paying off, with Dubai's free zone DMCC confirming a ‘record-breaking’ intake of 2,025 new companies in 2020 - its highest in five years.
The gains were primarily due to the ‘Business Support Package’ launched in March, introduced after the pandemic broke. “This was the business hub’s largest ever commercial offer, offering a wide range of incentives and value-added services to both existing and new companies in the free zone,” the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre said in a statement.
Take up rates
More than 8,000 member-companies took up 13,000 offers and incentives granted throughout last year. “2020 was a year like no other, with the pandemic impacting every society, business and country,” said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and CEO. “We know that 2021 will not be without its obstacles, but we are optimistic about our growth trajectory and our continued ability to attract foreign direct investment to the emirate.”
Late last year, DMCC also introduced a limited time offer of allowing virtual licenses to be issued in five working days and zero upfront fees. The free zone is also rated as a likely gainer from the accord with Israel. Alliances have already been firmed up with the Tel Aviv diamond exchange.
DMCC said the huge interest was also due to an increased emphasis on digital marketing. The company’s free zone saw more than a 50 per cent drop in walk-ins and physical visits, with existing and new members preferring to conduct their transactions online.
“Beyond successfully reaching our targets, we made sure that both new and existing companies in the Free Zone received relief and support during the challenging year,” said Feryal Ahmadi, Chief Operating Officer, DMCC.
Meanwhile, 95 per cent of new companies in the free zone started off digitally. “By offering our largest business relief package in our history and ensuring a fully digitalised set up process, we remained the business hub of choice, attracting companies of all sizes, sectors and origins,” said Ahmad Hamza, Executive Director – Free Zone, DMCC.
Eyes on China
There was a 20 per cent jump year-over-year in Chinese companies joining. In November, DMCC inaugurated a representative office in Shenzhen.