Friday, July 31, 2009

Dubai, UAE

Dubai is located in the north east of the United Arab Emirates and is the country’s principal commercial center, chief port and the capital of the state of Dubai. The city has a population of approximately 970,000 people, a large proportion of which are expatriates and, according to the Dubai Development and Investment Authority; the population is expected to reach 1.4 million by 2010. 

Dubai’s economy was built on the back of the oil industry, which developed rapidly after oil was first struck in the mid 1960s. Since then Dubai has developed a diverse economy and by 2000 the oil sector accounted for just 10 percent of Dubai’s GDP. The city now has thriving manufacturing, finance, information technology and tourism sectors and is home to numerous multinational companies such as AT&T, General Motors, Heinz, IBM, Shell, and Sony. Figures published by the Dubai Development and Investment Authority show that Dubai’s GDP totaled $16.4 billion US in 2000.
The manufacturing sector in Dubai is very healthy with some of the most important industries including beverages, chemicals, paper, pharmaceuticals and rubber. The financial services industry grew by a remarkable 12 percent per annum during the 1990s and this trend seems set to continue. All the major international accountancy firms have offices in Dubai and the city is also home to dozens of national and locally incorporated international banks. Furthermore, the banking sector will be completely opened up to foreign banks by 2005. In March 2000, the UAE’s first stock exchange, the Dubai Financial Market was opened.
To encourage the development of the technology sector the Dubai Internet City was established. This information technology and telecommunications centre has been set up inside a free trade zone and allows 100 percent foreign ownership and sales, while company earnings and private income are exempt from any form of taxation. The site is already home to hundreds of companies including Arabia, Cisco, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.
The tourist industry is the fastest growing sector within Dubai’s economy. The number of tourists visiting Dubai has increased dramatically over the last 10 years, especially with regards to visitors from Western Europe, and the government hopes to attract 10 million tourists a year by 2010. With this in mind, huge investment is being made to develop the city’s hotel, leisure and recreational infrastructure.

Local Infrastructure:
Dubai International Airport is the busiest in the Middle East and, according to the Airports Council International (ACI), is one of the fastest growing airports in the world. It catered for approximately 16 million passengers in 2002, an increase of some 18 percent on the previous year, and is expected to cater for 30 million passengers a year by 2010. The airport has benefited from considerable investment and, in 2000, the first stage of expansion was completed with the opening of a new terminal. This brought the airports capacity up to 22 million passengers a year. The next stage of expansion work is currently underway and is due to be completed in 2006. By 2018 the airport plans to have a total passenger handling capacity of 45 million.
Dubai also benefits from extensive port facilities with terminals at Jebel Ali Port and Port Rashid. In 2001, the Dubai Ports Authority (DPA) catered for well over 11,000 ships carrying a total of 47 million tons of cargo. The ports are capable of handling a large variety of cargo and are among the best in the Middle East. The (DPA) was recently awarded the ‘Best Seaport in the Middle East’ award for the 9th consecutive year, at the Asian Freight & Supply Chain Industry Awards. 

Local Workforce:
According to figures from the Ministry of Planning, Dubai had an employed workforce of more than 522,000 people in 2000. The trade sector was the biggest employer, accounting for 25 per cent of employment, followed by manufacturing, construction and services. Government services were responsible for employing 9 percent of the workforce. 

Standard of Living:
Dubai is a truly cosmopolitan city with a lively and modern environment that offers a fantastic quality of life. The city benefits from excellent schools, modern medical facilities and great shopping and entertainment opportunities. Dubai also plays host to a fantastic horse racing track and the ATP tennis tour and there is an annual shopping festival, which is gaining an international reputation.
The city has a sub-tropical climate with mild temperate winters and very hot summers. There is very little rainfall, even in the winter months.

Business Costs:
Office occupancy costs in Dubai are extremely competitive. Figures from a report published by Richard Ellis Global Research & Consulting in 2002 put the total occupancy cost of offices in Dubai at $24.10 US per square foot per annum.



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