Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) registered 26 percent year-on-year growth in the number of international companies signing up as tenants during 2012.
The free zone, located west of central Dubai and home to the emirate’s largest port, saw 454 multi-national firms move in during the 12-month period, according to a statement.
JAFZA said that more than a quarter (27 percent) of new tenants were headquartered in Europe, followed by the GCC (25 percent), Asia-Pacific (21 percent), the Americas (9 percent) and Africa and West Asia (18 percent).
In terms of countries, the UK was home to the highest number of new firms in JAFZA (11 percent), followed by India (9 percent) and China, Germany and France (5 percent each). Countries impacted by the Arab Spring accounted for 18 percent of new businesses.
Eighty-three percent of new tenants were focused on trading, 9 percent in services and 7 percent in industrial activities.
"Continued investor interest in JAFZA is quite assuring and reaffirms strong resurgence in regional economies and, at the same time, shows the growing importance of Middle East region for the developed, as well as, developing economies across the world,” said Ibrahim Mohamed Al Janahi, deputy CEO and chief commercial officer of Economic Zones World.
“This also cements JAFZA's status as the region's gateway and the top trading and logistics centre," he added.
The total number of active companies in JAFZA at the end of 2012 stood at 6,918, generating business estimated to be worth US$82bn, or more than a quarter of Dubai’s non-oil trade.
The free zone currently accounts for more than half of the Gulf emirate’s exports.
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