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India sets sights on UAE’s technology sector

Indian businesses have long been known to be UAE’s strong business partners especially when it comes to technology.

The strong presence of Indian technology companies in UAE is reflected in the participation of over 50 Indian ICT companies in GITEX Technology Week 2017.

A statement released by the Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) says that it is participating at GITEX 2017 to provide Indian IT companies opportunities to exploit the burgeoning Middle East ICT market.  It is the largest participation by India, under the Council’s banner.

Kamal Vachani, Regional Director of the Council for the Middle East, said that Indian companies continue to play a major role in this space of E-commerce and Cyber Security.  “This holds tremendous potential for partnering in the entire MENA region,” he said.

Vachani continues: “ESC has been facilitating Indian participation on a regular basis at GITEX to take advantage of the booming IT market in the Gulf and leveraging that association towards getting businesses for Indian IT companies from a host of large global corporations, which are executing projects in the region.”

Vachani said the participating Indian companies in GITEX over the past years have reported to have bagged significant businesses, forged joint ventures, marketing tie ups, with the buyers visiting the exhibition.

Meanwhile ESC Chairman Prasad Garapathi said that Indian IT exporters will continue to look into the whole Middle East and MENA region through this important gateway of Dubai.

Read: What are the top 7 technologies at GITEX?

Indian IT exports to the Middle East

Statistics by the Dubai Chamber of commerce and Industry reveal that electronics goods export to Middle East Countries during 2016-17 is valued at $911 million.  Amongst the ME countries, UAE is the top destination for India’s electronics export.

Export of software and related services to the Middle East has reached $2bn in 2016-17 while India’s total export of electronics hardware during 2016-17 is estimated at $5.685bn.

Moreover, Indian companies in various sectors have been a great contributor to Dubai’s economic growth and development.

According to statistics provided by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Indian companies registered with Dubai Chamber has grown to exceed 37,000 while Dubai’s non-oil trade with India amounted to $26 billion in 2016.

The strong presence of Indian companies in various sectors and namely in ICT is remarkable in the emirates. But what attracts India to Dubai?

Why is UAE attractive for India?

According to a study published by Forbes, The Middle East nation is keen to elevate disruptive Indian fintech startups by providing them an international platform and financial support.

“With the UAE aspiring to be a technology hub, there has been considerable interest in identifying appropriate Indian technology startups that could address the nation’s immediate needs across sectors, especially finance,” said Forbes.

The studuy quoted Sandeep Jhingran, co-founder of cross-border payment start-up Remitr, saying “the UAE has a high appetite for innovation. Investors here are ready to pay for creativity, and disruptive companies stand a fair chance to thrive.”

The study also cited a report titled State of Fintech by Wamda saying that the number of fintech startups launched in the MENA region will reach 250 by 2020 from the current 105, and will be predominantly involved in offering payment solutions, P2P lending or raising capital. Notably, most of the startups surveyed in the report originated from the UAE. “With higher adoption towards technology and growing interest from banks in UAE looking to collaborate with fintech, this would be the right time to look for replicable models from India,” It said quoting Manavjeet Singh, co-founder of Rubique, as saying.

In addition to fostering their ICT ties, India and the UAE are working to further boost their business ties in the coming years.

Read: GITEX: 3 smart solution firms you need to watch out for

 Mutual investments

Governments of India and the UAE are working closely to strengthen the trade and investment relations between the two countries. There has been regular exchange of high level visits in the past few months for this purpose.

The two sides also signed 14 agreements whereby the UAE vowed it would invest $75 billion in India.

The two countries also set a target of 60 percent increase in bilateral trade in the next five years.

“UAE is one of India’s top trading partners and explained that plans are currently in place to increase UAE-India trade by 60 per cent over the next five years.

In a bid to boost business ties between the two countries, the Dubai Chamber is planning to open an office in Mumbai later this year.

“The opening of the Chamber’s office in Mumbai later this year will give a major boost to our efforts to explore business opportunities in India, promote Dubai as an attractive hub for Indian companies, and facilitate new partnerships that add value for our members,” says Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber.

According to a study published recently by the Emirates’ national news agency, the annual two way trade between the two countries today stands at about $53 billion.

It said that while India remains the UAE’s top trading partner, the UAE is India’s third largest trading partner.

It added that UAE has invested more than $4.7 billion in FDI into India since 2000.

“Indians invested AED 20.4 billion into Dubai’s real estate in 18 months from January 2016 till June 2017,” it also noted citing Dubai Land Department. “This is on top of the AED 20 billion invested by Indians in Dubai’s real estate in 2015.”

Read: French tech innovators in force at GITEX 2017