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DIC untroubled by regional rivals

Senior management remains unperturbed by the apparent competition from similar technology zones coming up in the rest of the Middle East

Dubai Internet City (DIC), the premier technology cluster of the UAE, welcomed 112 new companies to the campus in 2007, including the likes of Google, Qualcomm and British Telecom.

According to its senior management, DIC, which has been experiencing 25%-30% of annual growth since inception, continues to attract global enterprises to the country, in spite of the growing competition from similar-themed clusters in other parts of the Middle East, namely Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

“Most of these clusters are actually adding value as the market keeps expanding. We have a lot of companies that have their regional headquarters here and have local offices set up in other GCC countries and right across the Middle East. It opens a new market for the business partners and the clients that we have,” said Malek Sultan Al Malek, executive director of DIC.

Other regional clusters have been becoming increasingly viable choices for businesses that want to set up office and operate in the region, since they are situated in cities where property prices remain reasonable. This allows organisations to not only operate more profitably, but also provides them with better options for accommodating workers.

Al Malek admits that rental prices in Dubai are high, but refutes the claim that this is the case within DIC’s boundaries. He says that when it comes to the cost of setting up businesses in the zone, DIC remains much cheaper than the outside market.

“We have subsidised a lot of costs to maintain the growth of the industry rather than pass on incremental increases to our clients. If you look at our rate today it is quite lower than the market rate, we’ve managed to keep it to a rate which is good for business and can be sustained," he said.