Dubai International Financial Centre

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Dubai International Financial Centre
Industry Banking, Financial Services
Founded 2002,[1] operations started 2004[2]
Headquarters Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Key people

H.E. Essa Kazim

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a federal financial free zone situated in the Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The DIFC was established pursuant to UAE Federal Decree No. 35 of 2004, UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 2004 and Dubai Law No. 12 of 2004. The DIFC occupies a physical territory of approximately 110 acres. It has its own legal system and courts distinct from those of the wider UAE, with jurisdiction over corporate, commercial, civil, employment, trusts and securities law matters.

The DIFC aims to provide a platform for business and financial institutions to reach into and out of the emerging markets of the region. It was established to create an environment for growth, progress and economic development in the UAE and the wider region by providing the needed legal and business as well as physical infrastructure benchmarked against international standards.

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.

Role as an international financial centre[edit]

Licence applications are considered from financial institutions in the sectors. Each of these units offer benefits such as zero tax rate on income and profits, 100 per cent 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 to 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] it was 15 times oversubscribed, and is one of the most valued companies in the Middle East Region.[5]

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


The Dubai International Financial Centre complex has two hotels.

The Four Seasons Hotel DIFC[7] opened in early 2016. The interior wasdesigned by New York-based Tihany Design,.[8] 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.[9]

The Ritz Carlton DIFC[10] was announced and construction was started in 2006.[11][12] Paris-based construction firm Bouygues[11] built the hotel for developers Union Properties.[11] The hotel was scheduled to open 2008,[13] but began operations in January 2011.[14] The 5 star[15] 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.[16] The hotel covers an area of 2000 square meters.[12] The developers of the hotel, Union Properties, sold it in November 2010 for AED 1.1 Billion in order to reduce debt.[12] It has a 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor.[15]

Art galleries[edit]

Dubai International Financial Centre is also home to art galleries which showcase both local and international art:[17][18]

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 is a variety of 42 cafes and restaurants located in this area featuring local and international chains; the selection of eateries includes everything from fast food outlets to dining options. A wide variety of cuisines can be found here:[19][20]


Within the DIFC complex are located a variety of retail shops and convenience stores along with business services outlets:[21] 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.


  1. ^ DIFC announces project overview for real estate development | DIFC |
  2. ^ The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is open for business | DIFC |
  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
  7. ^ "Four Seasons opens second Dubai hotel in DIFC". Arabian Business. Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  8. ^ "Tihany to Design Four Seasons Dubai | Sleeper". Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  9. ^ "Four Seasons to Open Second Property in Dubai". Four Seasons Press Room. Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  10. ^ Ritz-Carlton launches first hotel at Dubai International Financial Centre | Travel and Tourism |
  11. ^ a b c Bouygues hits Dubai with Ritz-Carlton job -
  12. ^ a b c Union Properties finalizes sale of Ritz Carlton Hotel at DIFC | Union Properties (UP) |
  13. ^ Ritz-Carlton heads for DIFC - Travel & Hospitality -
  14. ^ New Ritz-Carlton to Open January 2011 at Dubai International Financial Centre
  15. ^ a b The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, International Financial Centre (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) - Hotel Reviews - TripAdvisor
  16. ^ World Trade Centre Hotel in Dubai: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai Intl. Financial Centre
  17. ^ DIFC Galleries Night | Dubai International Financial Centre
  18. ^ Art & Culture | Dubai International Financial Centre
  19. ^ Cafés & Restaurants | Dubai International Financial Centre
  20. ^ Dubai Restaurants, Online menu Guide, Dubai Cuisines, Dubai Menu Guide –
  21. ^ 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