Dubai’s DIFC marks 20th anniversary with 23 percent revenue jump

DIFC has evolved into a hub for innovation-related companies.
Dubai’s DIFC marks 20th anniversary with 23 percent revenue jump
Operating profit at DIFC reached AED859 million, up 27 percent.

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) marked its 20th anniversary with stellar results.

The centre is now home to 5,523 active companies, a significant 26 percent year-on-year increase from 4,377 in 2022.

In 2023 alone, a total of 1,451 new companies were established in DIFC, a 34 percent growth over the previous year.

Announcing the results on Thursday, the centre also said it is ahead of schedule in achieving its target of doubling its GDP contribution by 2030.

Read: DIFC publishes its Sustainable Finance Framework

Combined revenues in 2023 grew at their fastest levels since inception, close to AED1.3 billion, 23 percent higher than in 2022.

Operating profit reached AED859 million, up 27 percent. Reflecting the strength of DIFC’s financial position, total assets stood at AED18 billion, an increase of 18 percent.

“Two decades ago, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, articulated an ambitious vision to transform Dubai into one of the world’s leading global financial hubs. This vision has remained the cornerstone of DIFC’s sustained performance over the years,” Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; and President of the DIFC, said.

“As DIFC continues its journey of success, its accelerated growth trajectory is perfectly aligned with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to double the size of Dubai’s economy over the next decade and reinforce its status as one of the world’s top three cities for business and investment,” he added.

DIFC attracts innovation and wealth management

The total number of financial- and innovation-related active companies in the centre now stands at 1,674, up from 1,369 in 2022, a 22 percent increase. During the past year, 316 fintech and innovation firms established a presence in DIFC, taking the net total to 902.

DIFC has also built the MEASA region’s biggest hub for wealth and asset management of over 350 firms primarily from the GCC, Europe, UK and the US. There are now 50 hedge fund related firms in DIFC’s wealth and asset management eco-system, with 15 establishing in 2023.

“DIFC’s 2023 performance reflects the centre’s stature as the leading global financial hub in the region. Reflecting DIFC’s position as the primary choice for financial services related companies and innovation firms over the last 20 years, the results catapulted DIFC towards its strategy 2030 targets which include doubling its contribution to Dubai GDP,” DIFC governor Essa Kazim said.

Initiatives propel FDI

Driven by DIFC-led initiatives, the financial services sector captured more than half (52 percent) of all FDI investments coming into Dubai. According to Financial Times’ fDi Markets data, Dubai climbed from eighth in H1 2022 to sixth globally in H1 2023. Additionally, Dubai ranked first globally in the attraction of HQ FDI projects.

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