Three international companies have expressed firm interest in setting up facilities in the Dubai Outsourcing Zone, said its most senior official yesterday.

Gitex 2005

"We have attracted very good response on the first day of Gitex and we expect to sign up at least 15 companies by the end of the show," said Ismail Al Naqi, DOZ director.

The first phase of the zone, being developed at a cost of Dh200 million and covering 270,00 square feet located next to the Academic City, is fully booked, he said.

"We have requested the go ahead for the second phase to be ready by the end of next year covering an additional area of 200,000 square feet," said Al Naqi.

Already 25 international business processing outsourcing companies, mainly from Europe and India, have registered and about 50 more companies are in the pipeline, he said.

About 40 per cent of the construction is ready and the zone will be ready by next June.

Mashreqbank is setting up a BPO called Injaz to offer back office services to international companies and employ about 600 skilled workers, he said.

"We are also talking to a leading Indian BPO and animation outsourcing company and we hope to make an announcement soon," said Al Naqi.

The DOZ is focusing on four main industries banking and finance, information technology, health care, and insurance.

"We are banking on the advantages offered by Dubai's location and the ability for companies to tap into a large skilled multinational and multilingual workforce in the region," he said.

"We are promoting the employment of national youth in the outsourcing industry and we hope that 30 per cent of the employees are young nationals," said Al Naqi.

DOZ is sponsoring and participating in the first World Outsourcing Forum opening in Dubai tomorrow. More than 200 delegates from 15 countries will attend.

A distinguished panel of speakers will discuss industry trends and industry standards.