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Chinese gaming giant Tencent to base MENA Headquarters in Dubai Internet City

New regional HQ will promote development of local gaming sector and attract top developers to the region

Government, Games, Tencent Holdings (www.tencent.com)

Dubai Internet City will be home to the regional headquarters for the Middle East and North Africa division of Tencent Games, the Chinese gaming conglomerate

Tencent Games was launched in 2003, and has since grown into a leading global platform for game development, publishing and operation. The company behind this platform, Tencent, is a global conglomerate focused on internet-based technologies and is known for its various internet-related services and products in addition to interactive entertainment, including its industrial internet capabilities such as payment, artificial intelligence technology and smart industries initiatives including digital museums and cultural experiences. Tencent employs 55,000 professionals worldwide.

The opening of Tencent Games' regional headquarters is an indication of increased activities in the local and regional games industry which covers digital entertainment, education and cultural experiences.

According to market research firm Newzoo, the revenue of the UAE games sector is estimated at AED 1.2 billion (USD 324 million) in 2019. Furthermore, over 80% of smartphone users in the UAE play mobile games.

Upon signing the MoU, Ammar Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City (DIC) and Dubai Outsource City (DOC) said: "The launch of Tencent Games' regional operations at DIC is an indication of their confidence in Dubai's innovation-driven economy. DIC is already home to several multinational Chinese firms, and Tencent's move to the region will further drive the growth of this sector.  I am confident that we will continue to attract top innovators, entrepreneurs and international companies to Dubai."   

"Gaming moves beyond entertainment and is increasingly used to engage and educate, and as more gamers and creative enthusiasts enter the industry, we can certainly expect the market to develop rapidly in the coming years. This will also be a crucial driving force in attracting game and interactive content developers to the region." Al Malik added

According to a report by Statista released in late 2018, the UAE has the highest mobile penetration rate in the world at 173 per cent - nearly double the country's population. This is a considerable figure and represents a wealth of opportunities for game developers across the world, with revenues from mobile games representing more than half the income generated in the entire industry, while a rising number of people turn to mobile games for its interactivity and ease of access.

Vincent Wang, General Manager of the Global Publishing Department at Tencent Games, said: "The UAE's high mobile and internet penetration is an extremely encouraging indicator for tech firms across the world, and is especially relevant to the global games industry. Through our partnership with DIC and by setting up our regional operations in Dubai - which is already home to some of the world's most cutting-edge companies and highly skilled talents - we look forward to creating a platform that invests in and improves the regional games market, while encouraging local games enthusiasts and developers to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation."

Chinese investment within the UAE's evolving tech industry is expected to increase rapidly, especially considering plans announced by the two countries to expand economic collaboration during the Second Belt and Road Conference for International Cooperation in Beijing earlier this year, with trade set to hit US$70 billion by 2020.