Dubai Internet City has transformed in just over a decade into a thriving business hub, which attracts an average of 14 new investors every month.
The Internet City has managed to attract businesses despite the economic downturn. In 2011, 169 new companies registered and the total number of companies now stands at around 1,400, according to Malek Sultan Al Malek, the Managing Director of DIC and Dubai Outsource Zone.
Al Malek told Gulf News that since launching in 2000, DIC has grown rapidly and now housed more than 25,000 workers from 150 different companies. Currently, the business park hosts most of the IT Fortune 500 companies. Al Malek said the expansion was a reflection of the strength in the UAE's information and communication technology (ICT) sector
Dubai Internet City was launched as part of the emirate's plan to use innovations in the ICT sector and to create creative solutions for businesses. Later, Dubai Media City, Knowledge Village, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ) were added to the ambitious project, which had the ambitious aim of transforming the emirate from a trade-dominated economy to a knowledge-based one.
ICT is key to economic dynamism
The Dubai Government sees ICT as a crucial factor in engendering dynamism into the economy of SME businesses which need help in taking off. It recently held a seminar at Thuraya Hall inside the City to discuss how UAE-based businesses could benefit from ICT investments.
The keynote speaker on the "Art of ICT Investments for SME" was John Lincoln, the Vice-President of Marketing at Du, the UAE-based telecom service provider and a business partner of DIC. He spoke about how ICT investment can improve human resource efficiency and business effectiveness, as well as increase revenue generation.
Lincoln told the delegates in Dubai: "Investments in ICT are of paramount importance to increase an SME's productivity. A minimal 10 per cent increase in an SME's productivity can sometimes determine whether the business remains competitive and sustainable.
"Additionally, economic and well-planned deployment of ICT is critical to the success of small- and medium-sized enterprises. A non-optimal selection of a solution, or a provider, can have negative consequences for an SME, which can be further compounded due to its limited financial and human resources. As most SMEs do not have the necessary in-house ICT expertise to undertake related projects on their own, it is imperative that an SME selects an ICT partner that is reliable, knowledgeable and offers the best value for money."
SMEs are Biggest Job Generators
SMEs contribute a majority of the GDP in most countries and are also the largest job generators in the global economy. Their importance to the economy, for example, in Dubai is huge. A recent study by Du, in association with Frost and Sullivan, showed that 98.5 per cent of UAE businesses are SMEs. Companies in the UAE spend about AED9.8 billion for their ICT needs and SMEs account for 50 per cent of the investment.
The growth in the DIC is also good news for investors in Dubai's resurgent property sector. A dynamic economy suggests that property prices will remain stable in the long-term.
Companies moving to the DIC are also conveniently situated for some Dubai's luxury properties. Directly across from the bustling business district of TECOM on the Sheikh Zayed Road are the First Group's three hotel apartment developments - First Central, Metro Central and Grand Central. The luxury end of the market did particularly well in 2011, soaring 17.6 per cent.