Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) opened in 2004 and is a 110-acre onshore financial centre aiming to compete with the likes of New York and London. It is one of Dubai’s major free zones. It has its own legal system and courts distinct from those of the wider UAE, with jurisdiction over corporate, commercial, civil, employment, trusts and securities law matters.
The DIFC aims to provide a platform for business and financial institutions to reach into and out of the emerging markets of the region. It was established to create an environment for growth, progress and economic development in the UAE and the wider region by providing the needed legal and business as well as physical infrastructure benchmarked against international standards.
Companies based at DIFC provide financial services in the following sectors; banks and banking services, capital markets, asset management and fund registration, insurance and reinsurance, and Islamic finance. License applications are considered from financial institutions in the sectors. Each of these units offer benefits such as zero tax rate on income and profits, 100 per cent foreign ownership, no restrictions on foreign exchange or capital/profit repatriation, operational support and business continuity facilities.
They are regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority and include Julius Baer (Middle East), Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered, Babcock and Brown (DIFC), Renaissance Capital, Merrill Lynch, GCC Energy Fund Managers, Alliance Re, Goldman Sachs and Praesidium.
One of the key elements of the centre is a privately held financial exchange that opened in September 2005 as Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) but was rebranded to NASDAQ Dubai in the year 2008.
The trading hours of NASDAQ Dubai are from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (06:00 am to 10:00 am GMT) from Sunday to Thursday.
Companies listed on NASDAQ Dubai include ordinary shares listed by DP World along with DEPA. DP World's initial public offering was the largest ever in the Middle East and raised $4.96 billion; it was 15 times oversubscribed, and is one of the most valued companies in the Middle East Region. Dubai Financial Services Authority regulates NASDAQ Dubai
Dominating DIFC, The Gate is a 15-storey building designed by US architects Gensler situated at the northern end of the development. Marble Walk located beneath The Gate offers numerous retail outlets and cafes while the surrounding terrace, The Balcony, houses mainly cafes and delis. The Gate Village, just east of The Gate, is home to restaurants and upmarket art galleries such as Art Space, Art Sawa, Ayyam Gallery, and the Cuadro Fine Art Gallery. Emirates Towers Boulevard is just north of DIFC and offers further retail and dining options.
There are numerous restaurants and cafes in DIFC.
Gate Village Zuma, La Petite Maison, Gaucho, Roberto's
The Balcony 1762, Yo! Sushi
Marble Walk Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Ritz-Carlton Blue Rain, Can Can, Centre Cut
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre opened its doors at the beginning of 2011. This 5-star hotel is located adjacent to the Gate Precinct within the Gate Boulevard district near the Gate Building. It is 14 stories tall and consists of 341 rooms plus 124 serviced apartments, 3 restaurants 2 lounges and a 1400 square meter ballroom. The hotel covers an area of 2000 square meters.
Two metro stations; Emirates Towers and Financial Centre serve DIFC and both are on the Red Line, making the area very accessible and easy to commute to and from.