Hi-tech businesses to increase in the UAE

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A view of the Dubai Internet City. Photo – MichaelCruz.com

The UAE expects to see more hi-tech businesses launching by the end of 2015 with around 96 technology-based start-ups expected to get started this year, a joint report by Dubai Internet City and consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan said on Saturday.

It forecasted the launching of 185 startups every year over the next three years.

Dubizzle and Souq.com, both founded in Dubai, are being touted as success stories. The city has also attracted some of the world’s largest high-tech businesses. Both Facebook and LinkedIn opened their regional offices at the Dubai Internet City this year.

Of all the start-ups emerging in the Middle East in the last six years, about 17% were launched in the UAE. That growth rate is set to exceed the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where about 520 tech start-ups are expected to launch this year.

According to a report, the most popular market for high-tech launches was in Jordan, which attracted 32% of the start-ups, followed by Lebanon, which attracted 20%. The report found that there were 55 venture-capital firms investing in the MENA region, such as Citadel Capital, Swicorp and EFG Hermes.

However, many Middle Eastern start-ups complain that they still found it too difficult to source funding. Malek Al Malek, the managing director of Dubai Internet City, also agreed that it was not easy for smaller businesses to secure funding. He said: “The majority of the [venture capital] funds – especially the international ones that came from abroad with their own criteria – may not be very suitable to this region.”

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