Multimillionaire business owners in the UAE are planning to expand internationally over the next few years and are increasingly looking at Europe, Asia and the Americas for growth, according to a new survey by HSBC.

The bank’s Global Entrepreneurial Wealth Report 2023 found that business owners in the UAE are second most likely to expand their footprint abroad or be in the process of entering international markets (86%), just behind Hong Kong (96%) and ahead of their global peers.

Entrepreneurs with at least $2 million in fortunes tend to expand overseas due to key factors like access to direct investments, real estate opportunities and operational efficiencies, the research also found.

“Corporates and family conglomerates in the UAE are increasingly expanding internationally. They often expand first within the region with Saudi being a key growth market, but increasingly now also look to Asia, Europe and the Americas,” said Richard Van Der Meer, Head of Commercial Banking, UAE, HSBC Middle East.

HSBC’s study polled nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs across nine markets, including the UAE, US, UK, India, Hong Kong and mainland China. The respondents have investable assets ranging from $2 million to over $20 million.

More than half of entrepreneurs surveyed (55%) said they are looking at Europe for expansion over the next three to five years, while 42% are eyeing the Middle East. About a third (32%) also have North America in mind, while 23% are interested in Asia.

“It is no surprise that entrepreneurs and family business owners based in the UAE have a global outlook. The country’s strategic location, pro-entrepreneurial policies, advanced infrastructure and market access encourages global outreach and expansion,” said Farzad Billimoria, Head of Global Private Banking, UAE, HSBC Middle East.

While they want to expand their footprint globally, the majority of those in the UAE (56%) are also interested in using their fortunes to support philanthropic causes or go into sustainable investing.

However, almost one-third of UAE’s wealthy business owners have yet to discuss succession plans with their loved ones. A small number (13%) indicated they don’t intend to bring up the subject with their families.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria