Dubai Internet City has been ranked fourth by fDi in the Best incentives category globally and in the Middle East. Image Credit: Hadrian hernandez/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Internet City (DIC), one of the largest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) business parks in the Middle East and North Africa region, is celebrating its 15th anniversary today.

DIC is part of Tecom Investments and a member of Dubai Holding.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the creation of Dubai Internet City at Gitex 1999 in October.

Built inside a free trade zone as a knowledge-oriented business model, DIC has successfully developed a prosperous ecosystem for technology organisations and today is home to Fortune 500 listed companies in software, hardware, internet services and ICT companies as well as global multinationals, local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups.

Since the launch of DIC, Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource Zone, told Gulf News that the UAE’s ICT industry has also gone from strength to strength, which can be attributed to the government’s unwavering commitment to driving Dubai’s development as a “global hub for connectivity and business”, and dedication to driving the growth of the ICT sector as a key part of Dubai’s wider economic development.

In 2000, Dubai Internet City launched with only 100 companies and since then it has grown to become home to over 1,400 companies from across the ICT value chain.

Last year, Tecom’s ICT Cluster welcomed 181 new companies, and a number of the Fortune 500 companies.

Mohammad Mourad, regional director for Google Mena, said that DIC offers the right environment for tech companies like Google to run their operations and be close to their partners, clients and stakeholders.

Google opened its first office in Dubai in 2008 and has doubled its workforce in the last year.

“There is a growing opportunity to foster tech start ups and businesses and we’re very happy to be at the heart of it,” Mourad said.

Dave Brooke, general manager of Dell Middle East, said that Dell has been part of the Dubai Internet City family since its early years. “We have watched, contributed, and celebrated DIC’s tremendous journey bringing the technology world to the region, the UAE, and Dubai; and taking Dubai, UAE, and the region out to the world.

“We think DIC has been very successful in its vision and mission, and as technology continues to become a crucial part of many countries’ national vision in the region this hub is going to flourish even more,” Brooke said.

Coinciding with DIC’s 15th anniversary, this year Dell opened its Dell Solution Center here — a singularly unique offering for customers to understand, test, and refine theory data-centre investments before making investments.

“Dell looks forward to growing with DIC and the UAE in the exciting journey ahead,” Brooke said.

Significant developments within the ICT industry took place last year with the announcement by Shaikh Mohammad in October to transform Dubai into a ‘Smart City’ which will drive the emirate’s ICT and technology industry.

“Dubai Internet City is a key facilitator of the development of Dubai’s business environment, holding a pioneering position in the creation of business hubs that foster commercial success. This establishes Dubai Internet City as a substantial contributor to the growth of Dubai and the emirate’s economy, which in turn has a positive impact on the nation’s overall GDP,” said Osman Sultan, CEO of du.

He said the continued achievements of Dubai Internet City are exemplary, and authorities looking to establish similar ecosystems elsewhere can look to them as a role model.

“We are proud to consider Dubai Internet City as a partner for our own growth, and looking forward to continuing to work with them as our partner of choice,” he said.

“Over the last 15 years, DIC has attracted some of the biggest names in the ICT industry to setup operations in Dubai by providing a business friendly environment. DIC today has successfully transformed the UAE’s ICT landscape and developed a vibrant knowledge-economy,” said Jyoti Lalchandani, vice-president and regional managing director at IDC.

In bid to support and nurture entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs, DIC launched In5 innovation hub in May 2013 to provide infrastructure, support and a dynamic working environment for the development of start-up ecosystem in Dubai.

Al Suwaidi said the start-up sector in the UAE has grown significantly in recent years, through real commitment from the government to drive this sector, and through the creation of innovation hubs such as in5.

Now home to over 50 start-ups, he said that in5 has pioneered the growth of entrepreneurship in Dubai, and we have already seen several success stories from within its offering.

“Creativity and innovation are central to a successful knowledge and innovation economy, and through fostering entrepreneurs and start-ups and providing them with the support and infrastructure they need to develop their ideas into a product or service, in5 and innovation hubs have played an important role in driving growth,” he said.

Looking back, he said it is fair to say that DIC has been successful in achieving this goal and is ambitious to do more.

“in5`s support, right from the creation of an idea, through to the launch of a product or service is a testament to the success that can be achieved with the right support and framework provided by DIC,” Lalchandani said.

With the winning of Expo 2020 and the introduction of Dubai’s Smart City initiative, he said that Tecom Investments plays a key role in enhancing its offerings to Dubai`s ICT community. This is crucial as the region gears up to welcome new companies into the local ICT community, and possible expansion of some of their existing business partners.

“Dubai Internet City serves as a central platform for our team across the region to reach our customers and partners. We aim to double our revenues by 2017 as we continue to expand our team at Dubai Internet City,” said Lee Miles, Regional Director for Infor Middle East and India.

He said that DIC has developed into an ecosystem for technology companies and has been the forerunner to turn Dubai’s vision into a knowledge-based economy.