Mohammed bin Rashid's vision has made Dubai a global destination for high-tech investments: Hamdan bin Mohammed

Research and development accounted for 3.5% of total FDI into Dubai

  • ‘Dubai FDI Monitor’ report shows emirate leading the world in FDI share in technology transfer
  • Third best destination in the world to invest in artificial intelligence and robotics
  • Dubai attracted 367 investment projects and AED 27.3 billion in FDI in 2017
  • Research and development accounted for 3.5% of total FDI into Dubai
  • Medium and high tech projects account for more than 60% of total investment projects

Government of Dubai Media Office – His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said that the increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into Dubai and the emirate’s ability to maintain its global leadership among FDI destinations in 2017 reflects the confidence of local and international investors in the business environment in Dubai and the UAE.

The vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has made Dubai a world leader in attracting investments into cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and positioned the emirate in the forefront of cities strengthening the foundations of their future and economic prospects.

Sheikh Hamdan’s comments came on the occasion of the launch of the ‘Dubai FDI Monitor’ annual report on FDI trends and inflows issued by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED).

The report highlighted significant achievements for Dubai in terms of FDI inflows. The city ranked first globally in the share of FDI in technology transfer in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics and third among the top 25 destinations in the same category after Singapore and Shanghai, according to the Financial Times’ ‘FDI Benchmark,’ a leading platform for benchmarking the world’s key FDI destinations. The latest data shows that Dubai has the highest FDI focus on the technology component across business sectors.

Pioneering future transformations

The increasing inflow of investments with a knowledge and technology component confirms Dubai’s success in creating a business environment suitable for new business models that rely on technology and innovation as competitive advantages. Advanced services and facilities offered to investors and entrepreneurs in Dubai and the emirate’s adoption of transformational technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence to raise the competitiveness and efficiency of its manufacturing and services sectors have had a significant impact on FDI inflows.

According to the ‘Dubai FDI Monitor’ report for 2017, investment in research and development (R&D) accounted for about 3.5% of total FDI projects, whereas medium and high-tech projects constituted more than 60% of the total. Together, these projects accounted for 22% of total capital inflows, according to the classification adopted globally by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Continuing global leadership

The ‘Dubai FDI Monitor’ report also shows that the city was ranked fourth globally in the number of new investment projects, fifth in the number of re-investment projects and 10th in capital inflows into new investment projects, according to the Financial Times ‘fDi Markets’ index, which records data on capital flows and new FDI projects around the world.

Dubai's top ranking among the world’s best FDI destinations reflects the strategic advantages of investing in Dubai as a smart and sustainable city and a gateway for regional and global expansion.

Sustainability and growth of FDI

The latest ‘Dubai FDI Monitor’ report confirms the sustainability of FDI inflows into Dubai. Total investments reached AED 27.3 billion, an increase of 7.1% over 2016, while the number of projects increased 50% from the previous year to reach 367 in 2017. The projects include new investments, re-investments and M & As (mergers & acquisitions), among others. The sustainability and growth of FDI inflows into Dubai in recent years reflect improved investor confidence in the emirate's strategic plans that have created new and quality investment opportunities in various key emerging economic sectors despite global and regional economic challenges.

Gateway for regional and global expansion

The report also shows that Dubai continued to attract strategic investments from the major industrialised countries in 2017. Strategic projects with a capital of more than US$ 50 million accounted for 54% of total investment projects and 93% of total capital inflows.

The US, Austria, France, UK and Saudi Arabia were the top source markets for FDI into Dubai in 2017. The US topped the list of investment projects followed by the UK, France, India and Germany, reinforcing both Dubai's success in providing a platform for businesses to serve the world’s fastest-growing markets spanning the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and its status as a global economic hub.

Investing in future transformations

The report highlights the growing number of Dubai-based startup companies, which underline Dubai's success in developing an incubator environment that stimulates innovation and entrepreneurship. This year, the Dubai Investment Week, organised by Dubai FDI under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will be held from 7-11 October under the theme ‘Investing in the Transitions to the Future.’ The event will focus on investment opportunities in leading the digital transformation, startups and development. The Dubai Investment Week programme includes a number of discussions and forums on Dubai's strategic advantages, and sector-wise investment opportunities as well as investment potential in the digital and knowledge economy, research and development, and smart manufacturing.


Brief on FDI inflows into Dubai for 2017

FDI into Dubai in 2017

AED 27.3 billion

Growth in FDI inflows into Dubai compared to 2016


Number of FDI projects established in Dubai in 2017


Increase in the number of projects compared to 2016


Source: Dubai FDI Monitor 

Dubai’s global FDI ranking in 2017


FDI contribution to technology transfer in artificial intelligence and robotics


Top destinations for investing in artificial intelligence and robotics


Number of greenfield projects


Number of re-investment projects


Capital inflows into greenfield projects

© Press Release 2018

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