Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman, Danube Group
Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman, Danube Group Image Credit: Supplied

The year 2021 will go down as a milestone year in Dubai’s history, especially for foreign investment – be it setting up of companies or investing in equity, acquisition of businesses or real estate assets.

The successful handling of COVID-19 pandemic makes the UAE a very safe haven for investors and professionals – who are now looking at the UAE as perhaps the safest place on earth to live, work and enjoy life. Thousands of investors have entered the UAE since the beginning of the year and invested in properties and businesses, which more than made up for the losses incurred in 2020, following the lockdown. The latest announcement reducing government fees in company formation by governments of Dubai and Abu Dhabi will go down well with new investors as these initiatives will lower the cost of doing business.

The immigration reforms announced earlier granting long-term visas and passports to large investors, scientists, academicians and qualified professionals are very reassuring and has already boosted investor confidence. When it comes to investment, there has never been a better time to invest in Dubai, especially following a number of reforms announced by the government.

According to data provided by Dubai FDI, the number of investment projects grew 13.46 percent to 455 in pandemic-hit year 2020, up from 401 in 2019. Due to COVID-19, investment value in Dubai also suffered, falling from $15 billion in 2019 to under $6.8 billion in 2020. However, this was similar to the investment level achieved in 2017, and the number of FDI projects into the city actually rose in comparison with 2019. FDI into Dubai is growing and this will be reflected in the reports next year. However, we can feel the pulse through various channels.

The following data proves this: In June 2021, the number of property transactions jumped 44.33 percent to 6,388 while sale rose 33.2 percent in value to Dh14.79 billion, compared to May 2021, which is the best performing month in eight years! Dubai Land Department recorded 23,373 sales transactions worth Dh61.97 billion during the first half of 2021, a reflection of the fact that the investors are returning to the market. Investment in property still fetches 4-5 percent rental return per annum – higher than that in India and higher than the bank interest from deposits.

The other attractive investment opportunity is in tech startups. Backed by the government’s latest announcement providing 10-year Golden Visa to coders, we expect thousands of coders and software engineers to enter Dubai and the UAE – that will change the start-up scene. Dubai is gradually becoming a tech start-up hub where thousands of new start-ups are being set up.

All of the above make investment in to Dubai a lucrative proposition for wealthy Indians, including those who want to launch start-ups or those who want to retire – there is something for everyone. Among other factors, world-class hard and soft infrastructure, safety, security, quality of life, ease in doing business, absence of corporate and personal income tax are some of the key reasons why it makes perfect sense to invest in Dubai.