Dubai has reinforced its leading position in the global electronics trade by becoming a focal point for major international IT exhibitions, most notably the GITEX IT. According to the statistics reported by Dubai Customs, Dubai electronics foreign trade during the first half of this year increased by 30%, hitting Dhs136bn, as compared to Dhs104bn for the same period in 2012.
This was the result of a remarkable 32% increase in imports to Dhs75bn year on year, up from Dhs57bn; as well as a 28% growth in exports and re-exports to Dhs61bn, compared with Dhs48bn last year.
This rapid pace of growth in the electronics trade attests to Dubai’s ability to keep pace with the technology and communications revolution, by fine-tuning its infrastructure to accommodate these cutting-edge technologies. This has made Dubai one of the world’s fastest cities to move into the digital era, consistent with the UAE’s overall drive towards the adoption of the Smart Government Initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. This initiative aims to make the full range of government services accessible via smart phones 24/7 without interruption. The Smart Government Initiative is in line with the Smart City Project announced by H.H Sheikh Mohammed to transform Dubai into a “Smart City”.
Dubai Customs successfully made this transformation and was able to launch smart services within one hundred days since the launch of the initiative, thus becoming the first 100% Smart Government Department. This means that along with offering all its services via smart phones without disruption, Dubai Customs also utilizes a follow-up system that ensures service processing as soon as client requests are submitted.
Dubai connects major IT and electronics markets throughout diverse regions of the globe through its first-rate ports and free zones. With respect to imports, Asian markets top the list, led by China with a share of 47% of total imports, amounting to Dhs35bn; followed by Vietnam, with a share of 16%, that is, Dhs12bn. Then comes Malaysia at 5%, equating to Dhs4bn. Overall, the share of these three countries collectively accounts for 76% of the total imports of Dubai, with an amount of Dhs57bn.
On the other hand, as far as exports and re-exports are concerned, Saudi Arabia is ranked first with a share of Dhs13bn, representing 21% of the total volume; followed by Iraq, with a total value of Dhs7bn, that is, 11%; and finally Hong Kong at 6%, which equates to Dhs4bn. Accordingly, the total share of these markets stands for 39% of the total export and re-export value, which is equal to Dhs23bn.
Dubai is considered to be a central hub for international trade in communications equipment, IT, and satellite broadcasting. Mobile phones operated by cellular networks and other wireless networks hold a leading position amongst the emirate’s imports of electronics, with a share of 50%, that is, Dhs37bn; followed by personal computers, with a share of 14%, equivalent to Dhs10bn; then comes satellite receiving equipment with a share of 5%, amounting to Dhs3bn. Overall, the total share of such products account for 68% of the total imports, with a value of Dhs51bn.
Whereas in regards to export and re-export activities, mobile phones come in first with a share of 58%, equal to Dhs35bn; followed by personal computers with a share of 12%, amounting to Dhs7bn, and bringing up the rear is satellite receiving equipment with a 3% share, a value of Dhs2bn. Taken as a whole, these products represent 73% of the total exports and re-exports, with a value of Dhs44bn.
Moreover, it is anticipated that a much higher growth in Dubai electronics trade will occur after the recent announcement of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in regard to the Smart City project. IT and communications companies around the world are aware that Dubai’s technological environment provides an ideal world-class platform to address neighboring markets through specialized exhibitions, especially the GITEX, one of the world’s most recognized IT gatherings. The GITEX constitutes an annual opportunity to showcase the latest innovations in the ever-evolving world of IT. The opportunity to host the GITEX is especially suitable for Dubai, now that it has become the regional headquarters for international IT companies thanks to the facilitations it offers them, especially at free zones like Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, amongst others.