The United Arab Emirates today announced incentives aiming to attract 300 digital companies to set up offices in the oil-rich Gulf nation within six to 12 months, Reuters reports.
The incentives include a streamlined visa process, faster access to the financial and banking system, and attractive commercial and residential leasing, Trade Minister Thani Al Zeyoudi told a news conference in Dubai.
Regional competition to attract foreign companies and investments has intensified as Saudi Arabia enacts measures to remould itself as a financial and tourism hub under the leadership of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, challenging the dominance of Dubai. Last year Saudi announced that the government and state-backed institutions will stop signing contracts with foreign companies that base their Middle East headquarters in any other country in the region, dealing a blow to the UAE which has been the traditional hub for global businesses in the MENA.
"We're moving from a regional hub to a global hub," Al Zeyoudi said. "We're competing with the big, big boys now; the competition in the last years was with the region, now we're moving to become a global hub."