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Dubai – Silicon Valley of Middle East

Dubai – Silicon Valley of Middle East

Dubai has been considered as the forerunner in the Middle East region, for adopting new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IT), BlockChain, Big Data and many other latest innovations. With the Emirate’s reputation being constantly enhanced as the technology hub of the region, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum stated that Dubai has grown to be the ‘Silicon Valley of the Middle East’.

Likewise, the Global Innovation Index 2019 ranked UAE 3rd for Innovation in North Africa and Western Asia (NAWA) region (ranked 36th globally) and 1st among the Gulf countries for Network Readiness (ranked 23rd globally).

Dubai Technology Zones – Market Size

There are several technology zones in the UAE, with two major zones located in Dubai. The ‘Silicon Oasis (DSO)’ and “Dubai Internet City (DIC)” has played an important role in elevating the position of Dubai as a tech-based country.

By the end of 2018, the estimated revenue from Dubai Silicon Oasis was around Dh 656 million ($179 million) with an annual growth rate of 11 per cent. More than 80 per cent of the companies based in DSO specialized in technology, while 20 per cent were commercial services. The tech companies were primarily from the Middle East (37%) and Asia (33%), followed by Europe (23%) and USA (7%).

Similarly, Dubai Internet City (DIC) has focused on developing technological start-up applications that are highly innovative. The tech entrepreneurs in DIC attracted over Dh 7.5 billion ($2 billion) for their start-up businesses. Transactions in billions take place in DIC with an ad-tech company recently being sold for over Dh 3.3 billion ($1 billion). Other notable multi-billion tech deals include Amazon’s acquisition of Souq for Dh 2 billion ($ 540 million) and Careem acquisition by Uber Dh 11 billion ($3 billion).

Technology Trends – Dubai

Some of the major technological trends that are shaping Dubai are as follows:

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT solutions are considered to be the primary reason for transforming Dubai to a Smart City. Dubai further plans to integrate IoT in the government services focusing on health, education, safety and innovation. Likewise, the government has also declared that they will have their last paper transaction by the year 2021, after which all transactions will be paperless and made digitally.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) based solutions is being implemented at all levels of the government, to provide faster services and solutions to the residents. Some of the AI-based solutions that are actively being implemented are deep machine learning, neural networks and natural language processing.

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR is among the fastest developing technology in Dubai, as it is being adapted in several industries including Real Estate, Construction, Sports, Gaming, Medical, Healthcare and much more. Several innovations are being made in the VR to actively implement them in various sectors in Dubai.

Blockchain

With a focus on seamless transactions and the growing demand for e-commerce shopping, several tech companies have successfully implemented blockchain technologies to facilitate the transactions. The blockchain innovation is also expected to play a major role in Dubai’s vision for a digital city.

Investment Opportunities in the Technology Sector – Dubai

By the end of 2021, the government of Dubai aims to provide the following:

  • Smart and liveable digital Dubai
  • Connected and more responsive government
  • Globally competitive economy with help of technology
  • Providing ease of access of social and governmental services to people
  • Tech based smooth transportation system
  • Facilitate new tech start ups

With a strong motivation to become a technological leader and the government’s initiatives in encouraging tech entrepreneurs, Dubai is considered as one of the most attractive cities for tech related investements.


Research Konnection is a market research company in Dubai that assists local and international companies to set up or expand businesses in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and UAE. At Research Konnection, we specialize in Market ResearchFeasibility Studies and Business Plan Developments. Feel free to reach out to us on hello@researchkonnection.com



Author: Waqas Siddiqui
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at waqas@researchkonnection.com