By Daniel Hunter
On a trade mission to the Gulf, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced plans for closer collaboration between London and Dubai’s thriving technology sectors, helping to boost trade and create jobs in the capital.
The Mayor wants to open doors for London businesses seeking to expand their operations to the Middle East and vice-versa. With London already home to the greatest concentration of tech firms in Europe and Dubai boasting Dubai Internet City - the largest ICT business park in the Middle East — there are huge opportunities to share expertise, attract investment and build trade.
Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor for planning and Joanna Shields will visit Internet City meeting with leading representatives from TECOM Investments and Dubai’s ICT and media clusters. A MoU will be signed between Internet City and Tech City to take forward the new collaboration.
The Mayor and Tech City want to build on successful ties between London and Dubai’s technology sectors. Just this week, GulfTalent.com, a leading online recruitment portal in the Middle East, will open its R&D centre in London.
It is predicted this move, which was supported by the Mayor's promotional organisation London & Partners, will create 30 jobs in the capital over the next three years. Later this year, Tech City-based company Eyetease is poised to launch innovative digital taxi top advertising on a fleet of Dubai taxis.
"One of London’s key economic success stories has been the explosive growth of high tech and digital industries, notably within the dynamic Tech City cluster," the Mayor of London said.
"When choosing where to locate in Europe, big name companies are opting for London which is boosting plans to rival the best of the world’s tech centres. The continued prosperity of this industry is a vital component of my plan to deliver jobs and growth for London.
"Global promotion and international collaboration is a key element to achieving this goal, which is why this link up with the Middle East’s premier silicon success story, Dubai Internet City, is such welcome news."
Joanna Shields, CEO of Tech City and the UK's Business Ambassador for Digital Industries, said: "Innovation and entrepreneurship are the engines of economic growth. Dubai Internet City pioneered the concept of a technology cluster in the region, and in just over a decade it has managed to become a global magnet for some of the world's fastest growing companies.
"Dubai and London share a common commitment to creating the best place to imagine, start and grow a business. I'm very excited to return here to share our success and learn from DIC's. Together we will build a bridge that will enable entrepreneurs and the businesses they create to grow internationally."
Yasser Hatami, Founder and managing director, GulfTalent.com, said: "GulfTalent.com is a household name in the Gulf region with over 3 million professionals and five thousand companies using our site. We chose London to set up our research and development centre because of its rich pool of technology and digital talent, as well as its emerging technology ecosystem, including some fantastic service providers. We are actively recruiting software engineers and digital specialists to be part of our London office to build the next generation of our online recruiting platform."
With an estimated 24,000 IT companies based in London, the capital is already home to significantly more tech firms than any other European city - its nearest rival, Paris, has 15,500. Last year the Prime Minister and the Mayor announced plans to create a flagship £50 million technical and creative institute to foster the next generation of leading digital entrepreneurs.
In a unique Government-funded project to be delivered by the Mayor’s Greater London Authority, the centre will cement London's reputation as premier choice for the world's most creative innovators. The institute will place London at the forefront of technical creativity, and bring the latest innovations to people across the globe.
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