Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, marks a significant milestone today having registered more than 100 FinTech firms in the Centre.
The figures reflect a three-fold growth in registered FinTech firms since the end of 2018, intimating a sharp rise in 2019 as leading international and regional FinTech firms choose the DIFC as their preferred jurisdiction from which to scale their business in the region.
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority said, “The significant rise in the number of registered FinTech firms establishing a presence at the Centre highlights our sustained efforts to transform the region’s financial technology ecosystem and drive sustainable economic growth. It is a reflection of our commitment to reinforcing Dubai’s position as one of the world’s top ten FinTech hubs.
He added, "We aim to continue this momentum and growth through our evolving regulatory environment and the quality of collaborators we bring into the DIFC, as our vision of driving the future of finance becomes a reality.”
The FinTech firms recently attracted by the Centre span across a variety of geographical markets and technologies, including Bankable, the UK-based architect of digital banking and payment solutions and QFPay, the global mobile payment technology company from Hong Kong, providing backend solutions to the likes of Alipay and Wepay.
Furthermore, regulated FinTech firms to receive the Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) offered by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) include Sarwa, the region’s first online financial advisor, TokenMarket, a securitisation and tokenisation platform powered by blockchain, and Wethaq, an investment platform for sukuk and capital markets, demonstrating the Centre’s flexible yet robust regulatory framework.
The Centre has already seen a marked increase in the number of firms that make up its dynamic FinTech ecosystem, which more than doubled in size from over 80 to 200 companies in the last six months.
The Centre has also witnessed a significant upsurge in the number of FinTechs wanting to participate in the DIFC’s dedicated accelerator programmes, which has become a first step towards testing the regional market for many global start-ups. The third cohort of the DIFC FinTech Hive accelerator programme received 425 applications from start-ups operating in the RegTech, Islamic FinTech, InsurTech and broader FinTech sectors, a 42% increase from the 2018 programme. This also marked a three-fold increase from its inaugural cycle in 2017, exemplifying the pace of evolution of this fast-growing industry.
Subsidised licensing options and access to a dedicated USD100 million FinTech Fund managed by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and Wamda Capital, have proven both feasible and attractive for FinTech start-ups in the Centre.
Together, these key components have created a formidable marketplace for FinTech to grow, expand, and experiment with innovations, firmly positioning Dubai to be the FinTech hub for the region and accelerating into the future of finance.