Dubai International Financial Centre

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Dubai International Financial Centre
Industry Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Wealth & Asset Management, Brokerage & Capital Markets, Professional Service Providers, Corporate Offices and Retailers
Founded 2002,[1] operations started 2004[2]
Headquarters Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Key people
Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (President)
Essa Kazim (Governor)
Arif Amiri (DIFC Authority CEO)

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a special economic zone in Dubai covering 110 ha, established in 2004 and major global financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) markets. DIFC has its own independent, internationally regulated regulator and judicial system, common law framework, global financial exchange, tax-friendly regime, and a large, cosmopolitan business community. The district houses hundreds of financial institutions, including wealth funds and private investors, but it also hosts multinationals, retail outlets, cafés, restaurants, residential space, public green spaces, hotels and art galleries.

DIFC is one of Dubai's independent free-zones; it offers companies 100% ownership without the need for a local partner. The district is governed by a common-law framework distinct from the UAE legal system, with laws and regulations issued in English. DIFC offers clients a 50-year guarantee of zero taxes on corporate income and profits, complemented by the UAE’s network of double taxation avoidance treaties.

Independent jurisdiction[edit]

The DIFC is an independent jurisdiction under the UAE Constitution, with its own civil and commercial laws distinct from those of the wider UAE. DIFC laws and regulations are written in English and default to English law in the event of an ambiguity. The DIFC also has its own courts, with judges taken from leading common law jurisdictions including England, Singapore and Hong Kong. The DIFC’s independent jurisdiction extends to a range of areas including corporate, commercial, civil, employment, trusts, and securities law matters. Other laws of the UAE or the Emirate of Dubai, such as criminal law and immigration regulations, continue to apply within the DIFC.

The DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre is an independent centre of international arbitration that uses rules modelled on the London Court of International Arbitration.

The principal governing body of the DIFC is the DIFC Authority. The financial services regulator is the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which regulates the conduct of financial services in and from the DIFC. The DFSA is distinct from the UAE’s federal Securities and Commodities Authority, whose jurisdiction covers the wider UAE outside the boundaries of the DIFC.

International financial centre[edit]

Licence applications are considered from financial institutions in the sectors. The units offer benefits such as0%o tax on income and profits, 10%0 foreign ownership, no restrictions on foreign exchange or capital/profit repatriation, operational support and business continuity facilities.

One of the key elements of the centre is a privately held financial exchange that opened in September 2005 as Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) but was rebranded as NASDAQ Dubai in the year 2008.

The trading hours of NASDAQ Dubai are from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (06:00 am to 10:00 am GMT), from Sunday to Thursday.[3]

Companies listed on NASDAQ Dubai include ordinary shares listed by DP World along with DEPA. DP World's initial public offering was the largest ever in the Middle East and raised $4.96 billion;[4] 15 times oversubscribed, it is one of the most valued companies in the Middle East Region.[5]

NASDAQ Dubai is regulated by Dubai Financial Services Authority.[6]

FinTech Hive 2017[edit]

In April 2017, the DIFC announced its initiative to accelerate the growth of Financial Technology in the region.[7] Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer at DIFC commented: 'FinTech Hive at DIFC will connect innovators in financial services technology with the banks, financial institutions and service providers within our dynamic ecosystem at DIFC'.[8] The plan is for ten participating developers to present their products to venture capitalists.[9]

Technology partners Facebook and Envestnet | Yodlee have also been announced.[10]

Gate Avenue at DIFC[edit]

In April 2016, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) announced the launch of Gate Avenue at DIFC.[11] The project is set to emerge as a premium lifestyle destination offering world-class amenities to the financial centre’s diverse community of professionals, residents and visitors. Gate Avenue at DIFC will boast more than 150 dining, shopping and cultural experiences and provide connectivity to all building podiums within the district. Split into three zones, each zone will feature distinctive elements, connected by an open-air Promenade Level. Gate Avenue at DIFC will link a network of residential and commercial buildings across the 110-acre financial district.


The Dubai International Financial Centre has two hotels.

The Four Seasons Hotel DIFC[12] opened in early 2016. The interior wasdesigned by New York-based Tihany Design,.[13] The hotel includes the Firebird Diner, a modern-American diner styled restaurant, Penrose a lobby level tea lounge and a terrace for meetings and relaxation.[14]

The Ritz Carlton DIFC[15] was announced and construction was started in 2006.[16][17] Paris-based construction firm Bouygues[16] built the hotel for developers Union Properties.[16] The hotel was scheduled to open 2008,[18] but began operations in January 2011.[19] The 5 star[20] property is located adjacent to the Gate Precinct within the Gate Boulevard district near the Gate Building. It is 14 stories tall and consists of 341 rooms plus 124 serviced apartments, 3 restaurants 2 lounges and a 1400 square meter ballroom.[21] The hotel covers an area of 2000 square meters.[17] The developers of the hotel, Union Properties, sold it in November 2010 for AED 1.1 Billion in order to reduce debt.[17] It has a 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor.[20]

Art galleries[edit]

Dubai International Financial Centre is also home to several art galleries which showcase both local and international art:[22][23]

The galleries showcase works by Middle Eastern and international artists, and frequently host events to present new works from different artists. Some of the above galleries also act as auction houses.

Restaurants and cafés[edit]

There are over 100 cafes and restaurants located in the Centre, featuring local and international chains; the selection of eateries includes everything from fast food outlets to fine-dining options. A wide variety of cuisines can be found.[24][25]


Within the DIFC complex are located a variety of retail shops and convenience stores along with business services outlets:[26] Within the DIFC one can find hair salons for men and women, nail salons, fitness facilities, a cobbler, a tailor, flower shops, electronic stores, gift shops, a medical clinic, etc.

Important buildings[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DIFC announces project overview for real estate development | DIFC | Archived June 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is open for business | DIFC | Archived June 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "NASDAQ Dubai". NASDAQ Dubai. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  4. ^ "Clifford Chance advises on the largest ever IPO in the Middle East | Clifford Chance". Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  5. ^ "DP World nets $4.9bn in region’s biggest IPO - Money Matters". 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  6. ^ NASDAQ Dubai Archived April 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Dubai opens applications for Fintech Hive accelerator programme". Finextra. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "Dubai opens applications for Fintech Hive accelerator programme". Finextra. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  9. ^ Peyton, Antony. "Dubai International Financial Centre calls for fintech start-ups". Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "Dubai opens applications for Fintech Hive accelerator programme". Finextra. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  11. ^ Rizvi, Muzaffar. "Dh475m Gate Avenue on track to open in DIFC in 2017 - Khaleej Times". Retrieved 2017-01-22. 
  12. ^ "Four Seasons opens second Dubai hotel in DIFC". Arabian Business. Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  13. ^ "Tihany to Design Four Seasons Dubai | Sleeper". Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  14. ^ "Four Seasons to Open Second Property in Dubai". Four Seasons Press Room. Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  15. ^ Ritz-Carlton launches first hotel at Dubai International Financial Centre | Travel and Tourism | Archived April 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ a b c Bouygues hits Dubai with Ritz-Carlton job -
  17. ^ a b c Union Properties finalizes sale of Ritz Carlton Hotel at DIFC | Union Properties (UP) | Archived February 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Ritz-Carlton heads for DIFC - Travel & Hospitality -
  19. ^ New Ritz-Carlton to Open January 2011 at Dubai International Financial Centre Archived April 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ a b The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, International Financial Centre (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) - Hotel Reviews - TripAdvisor
  21. ^ World Trade Centre Hotel in Dubai: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai Intl. Financial Centre
  22. ^ DIFC Galleries Night | Dubai International Financial Centre Archived October 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Art & Culture | Dubai International Financial Centre
  24. ^ Cafés & Restaurants | Dubai International Financial Centre
  25. ^ Dubai Restaurants, Online menu Guide, Dubai Cuisines, Dubai Menu Guide –
  26. ^ Retail & Convenience | Dubai International Financial Centre

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°12′51″N 55°16′53″E / 25.21417°N 55.28139°E / 25.21417; 55.28139