The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial and business hub connecting the region’s emerging markets with the developed markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas, said today that the number of active registered companies went up by 7 per cent to 848 companies during last year. The annual report released by DIFC also showed that several new companies were attracted from around the world with increasing interest from Asia and sustained interest from the Americas, Europe and Middle East. Geographical diversification of total regulated firms illustrates the global integration of DIFC with almost equal distribution of Eastern and Western companies, the report showed. Record growth in the breadth and depth of financial activity by the Centre’s active regulated firms with major international clients using the DIFC platform to expand their regional footprint. Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIFC Authority, said, “DIFC’s achievements of recent years underscore our emergence as a global hub of finance and business. Our world-class infrastructure and common-law jurisdiction provide a stable platform for global and regional firms to access the regions emerging markets and beyond. “Although the past 2 years were exceptionally challenging from a global perspective, the community in DIFC was resilient and this was noticed in the net positive growth in the number of clients that tapped into the DIFC during this period. “We have the potential to double in size in the next five years, contributing to economic growth within UAE and the region as a whole”, he added. Operating review Despite the impact of the European debt crisis, the global economic downturn and the regional changes witnessed last year, DIFC continued to strengthen its position as the leading international financial centre in the region. As of Dec.31, 2011, 848 active registered companies had a presence in DIFC, with 322 regulated, 423 non-regulated companies, and 103 retailers. The number of employees working in DIFC is around 12,000. Alongside the sustained interest from the Americas, Europe and Middle East, 2011 saw an increased interest from companies in Asia to establish presence in DIFC. DIFC issued 135 new commercial licences in 2011, 71 of which were registered in the second half of the year, representing a 19 per cent annual increase in registrations (113 registrations in 2010). DIFC continued to successfully implement its strategy, which is heavily focused on building a business ecosystem that supports the growth of its clients. This was echoed in 2011 through the record growth in the breadth and depth of financial activity by the Centre’s active regulated firms with major international clients using the DIFC platform to expand their regional footprint.