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Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world's leading financial centers and home to the largest, most developed Financial Technology (FinTech) ecosystem in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. The region comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of three billion and a nominal GDP of US$7.7 trillion. DIFC boasts more than 25,600 professionals working across over 2400 companies, including the leading regional and global players in the financial services industry. DIFC's vision is to drive the future of finance. Today, it offers one of the region's most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programs, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.
Dubai is working towards cementing its position as a pivotal economic and commercial hub for the region to ensure Dubai's sustained prosperity and accelerate the development journey of the Emirate. Developing the financial sector is a priority that supports the economic future of Dubai, and further enhances investor confidence given the vital contribution it makes to Dubai's economy mainly through the DIFC, which provides a growth platform for major international financial institutions.
Dubai continues to undertake unparalleled initiatives to drive the UAE's future and to support Dubai's role as an essential component of the global financial system.
• The DIFC has built a reputation for driving the Future of Finance in the MEASA region. It will continue to expand and become the focal point of the Dubai Future District.
• DIFC has become one of the world’s top 10 FinTech hubs and offers the most comprehensive proposition to start-ups. This ranges from heavily oversubscribed incubation and acceleration programs through to investing in start-ups.
• Green and sustainable finance is growing. DIFC is part of a Dubai taskforce that will make the Emirate the region's most sustainable financial destination. DIFC will continue to uncover business and economic growth opportunities. With 70% of MEASA residents having limited or no access to financial services, DIFC is nurturing collaboration opportunities between start-ups and established leading financial firms to deliver solutions to challenges.
• Infrastructure is being upgraded. Financial services is the third largest economic activity contributing to Dubai's real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The development of infrastructure is continuously reviewed to ensure it is among the best in the world and that it can facilitate the best environment for supporting greater excellence and achievement. DIFC helped Dubai become one of the world's leading financial centers. The next phase requires the introduction of the latest technologies that can support the growth of various business sectors. It is not only trying to meet the requirements of the present time but also be a major contributor to shaping the future of the global economy and positively influence greater well-being for the world.
• Digital transformation is underway. DIFC is continuing to prioritize digital adoption and transformation to enhance connectivity and accessibility in and around the financial hub. The new modifications to infrastructure will further facilitate business practices to and from DIFC, demonstrating its understanding of the need to provide even greater convenience for the companies based in it.
DIFC realized the importance of digitalization many years ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic, however, has played a major role in accelerating the adoption of all digital channels offered by DIFC with full access to services and connectivity for clients.
A core component of the transformation was launching next generation Wi-Fi 6 in partnership with Huawei on November 1, 2019, offering the fastest Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) technology to date. The new solution was deployed across public areas in DIFC, reinforcing the center's position as the most advanced financial hub in the MEASA region. As DIFC looks to triple in size by 2024, the launch of Huawei's AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 will help the center meet its growing connectivity requirements, ensuring its community has access to the latest technology and network, with the capacity to support innovative smart services.
Alya Al Zarouni, Executive Vice President of Operations for the DIFC Authority, said: "Connectivity is the key to every aspect of infrastructure development in DIFC — we connect our community, physically and digitally, in the same way we connect the various facets of a financial ecosystem. With the rapidly evolving demands of professionals based in and visitors to the Centre, it's our responsibility to ensure we are offering the latest technological services. We are incredibly pleased to have launched Wi-Fi 6 in partnership with Huawei and believe it will be a game-changer for the DIFC community."
Wi-Fi 6 is the fastest WLAN technology to date and powers enterprises forward by dramatically boosting capacity and slashing delay. Its deployment allows a new and improved user experience in dense deployment scenarios compared to that of previous Wi-Fi generations. The network offers four times the system capacity of Wi-Fi 5, four times the concurrent access, and 60% lower transmission latency. Wi-Fi 6 enables ultra-high bandwidth 4K and Ultra-High Definition (UHD) video conferencing, as well as fast, seamless roaming, and ultra-low 10 ms latency for quick Virtual Reality (VR) response.
Complementing the Wi-Fi 6 launch is the DIFC Connect — HID Mobile app, which is designed to enable greater convenience for the Centre’s community and visitors. With features such as digital Identification (ID) cards and access control, users will be able to connect with one another at the click of a button, making it easier to do business while still adhering to protected security controls.
Business in DIFC can no longer be confined to the office — Wi-Fi 6 empowers users with always-on, anywhere-accessible, reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. It is essential that businesses remain connected to their customers and partners at all times, anywhere and everywhere, encouraging more productive habits.
With access to Wi-Fi 6, both residents and visitors are empowered with the ability to access government websites and make online transactions through their Wi-Fi-enabled devices, in the public areas within DIFC. Mobility at this level drives productivity and efficiency, creating more convenience for users by allowing them to access essential services at any time, for free, making business truly mobile.
Accessibility, transport, and infrastructure have proven to be a great strength of DIFC, as noted in the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI). Dubai's connectivity is a significant factor, enabling organizations to seamlessly service business opportunities locally and in the wider region from DIFC. DIFC's commitment to digital adoption will allow it to expand and diversify, supporting the latest phase of an ambitious expansion project that will back Dubai's mission to become a major economic force in the Middle East.