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DIFC Reports Strong Growth In H1 2015

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

08 September 2015

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a tax-free zone in the United Arab Emirates, has reported that the number of active companies registered at the Centre grew 8.3 percent in the first half of this year compared with the end of 2014, totaling 1,327.

In the period from January to June, the number of people employed within the free zone increased by 4.8 percent to more than 18,521, the DIFC said.

Essa Kazim, Governor of the DIFC and Chairman of the DIFC Authority, said that the strong growth rates show that the free zone is on the right track to achieving its goal of trebling its operations by 2024. "With a growing portfolio of active registered firms and an ever expanding and vibrant workforce, we are maximizing the opportunities for investment into and trade with the emerging markets of the MEASA region," he said.

The number of active companies registered at the DIFC by the end of June was up 19.2 percent compared with the end of June last year. During the first six months of this year, 140 new companies were licensed, including 36 financial services firms, 91 non-financial services companies, and 13 retailers.

Most of the new financial firms originate from the Middle East (53 percent), followed by Europe (19 percent), North America (8 percent) and Asia (6 percent), with the rest of the world accounting for 14 percent.

Banks and capital market firms now account for 42 percent of the active financial firms operating at the DIFC (24 percent and 18 percent, respectively), while wealth management companies represent 41 percent and insurance firms 16 percent.

The DIFC also said that it started constructing the 11th office building in The Gate District during the period, and leased an additional 178,376 square feet of commercial space.

The DIFC offers firms zero percent income tax guaranteed for 50 years, 100 percent foreign ownership, no exchange controls, and a legal system based on English common law.

TAGS: United Arab Emirates | tax | investment | tax incentives | law | accounting | financial services | insurance | tax breaks | retail | trade | individual income tax | Dubai | free trade zone | services | Europe | North America | Middle East

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