Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Strategic Objectives Expands and DIFC Courts Implementing Paperless Mission by Richie Santosdiaz and Polly Jean Harrison
Fintech Middle East & Africa

New Opportunities for Dubai International Financial Centre with China

Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is home to the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region called Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). DIFC recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with one of China’s first Fintech innovation and entrepreneurship platforms, Jiaozi Fintech Dreamworks.

The MOU will enable the DIFC to further support the UAE in facilitating the ‘Belt and Road’ economic initiative and forms a central part of the Centre’s 2024 strategy to strengthen relationships with the international financial community and increase access to the South-South corridor. Based in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province and one of China’s emerging international financial centres. Chengdu has an important reputation in the world of finance having reportedly been the first place in the world to introduce paper bank notes. They now share a vision with DIFC to drive the future of finance by developing the next generation of tools for use in the industry.

DIFC is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for MEASA
DIFC is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for MEASA IMAGE SOURCE PROVIDED

Jiaozi Fintech Dreamworks was launched in 2016 under the guidelines of the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank and the local finance bureau. Fintech Dreamworks is on track to become
home to over 300 FinTech companies and 10,000 staff, occupying a space of more than 100,000 square metres. Well known enterprises have settled in Jiaozi Fintech Dreamworks. These include Huize R&D Center, which was listed on Nasdaq in February 2020, BBD – a star enterprise in big data industry and Mr. Ray, a renowned blockchain enterprise in China.

With Dubai recognised as one of the world’s top ten FinTech hubs and home to the region’s first and most comprehensive FinTech ecosystem, DIFC is well placed to make substantial progress on its objective to shape the future of finance. In recent years this has manifested in the Centre attracting more than 200 FinTech related companies.

The MOU signed by Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, and Wang Juan, Chairperson of Jiaozi Fintech Dreamworks, will enable FinTech firms based in both jurisdictions to benefit from a wealth of mutually beneficial opportunities, as well as access to respective markets.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority IMAGE SOURCE PROVIDED

Commenting on the agreement, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority said: “Chengdu continues to emerge as a leading financial centre in western China and there are vast opportunities for global FinTech firms to scale in China. In the same way that DIFC is the gateway to the Middle East, African and South Asia, Chengdu can become the equivalent for accessing China and broader Asia region. Sharing expertise and enabling our FinTech firms to work together presents opportunities and builds a collective force for accelerating the FinTech agenda in Dubai and China. “DIFC is particularly looking forward to collaborating with Jiaozi Fintech Dreamworks on key sectors such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Cloud Computing.”

Wang Juan, Chairperson of Jiaozi Fintech Dreamworks commented: “Dubai and DIFC in particular, continues to be the jurisdiction of choice for Chinese firms looking to access the potential of the fast-growing emerging markets in the MEASA region. With a robust Chinese ecosystem including the regional headquarters of China’s four largest banks, we are confident that our agreement will be benefit the Jiaozi Fintech Dreamworks community by helping them tap into new opportunities. Our agreement will also enable talented individuals from both cities to participate in cross-border workshops and training programmes.”

DIFC continues to see growth in the number of Chinese firms operating from the Centre. As well as being the regional home to China’s four largest banks; ICBC, China Construction Bank, Bank of China, and Agricultural Bank of China, DIFC is also home to several large Chinese corporations and FinTech firms that are tapping into MEASA markets and working with local institutions on the Belt and Road initiative.

Jiaozi Fintech DreamWorks vigorously promotes blockchain industry cluster development. To support
this, the Jiaozi Financial Technology Center has been built, along with the Jiaozi Blockchain Research
Institute with the University of Electronic Science and Technology. Together, they are researching
blockchain theory to accelerate its application in the industry.

DIFC is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for MEASA, which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and a nominal GDP of USD 7.7 trillion. With a 16-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre
connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai. It is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an
English common law framework, as well as housing over 25,000 professionals working across over 2,500 active registered companies.


  • Executive Economic Development Advisor (Emerging Markets) | Contributor

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