The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a leading onshore financial and business centre in the region, has witnessed a "significant" 63.7% year-on-year increase in the number of new firms licensed on its platform in 2020.
Ending 2020 on a high note, the QFC maintained its business growth for the eighth consecutive year, despite the unprecedented global economic slowdown due to the Covid-19. It had registered 334 firms in 2020 against almost 200 firms in 2019.
The expansion of the QFC-registered firms, which represents a variety of industries, both financial and non-financial services, included a record increase of 139.5% in the digital sector.
Given the tremendous opportunities that emerged in the technology and digital sectors amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, and backed by the QFC’s fintech services provider licence, the platform welcomed 91 new digital firms, hailing from diverse countries including India, the US, Pakistan, France, Russia and the UK.
The QFC also continued to leverage its support to other firms across its strategic clusters, namely sports, media and financial services, registering 62 newcomers from these sectors.
This increase pushes the QFC much closer to achieving its goal of registering 1,000 firms, ahead of the designated date as per its 2022 strategy.
"Last year presented us with yet another chance to witness Qatar’s perseverance and ability to adapt and thrive amidst challenging circumstances. Specifically, it showcased the indispensable role of leading organisations, such as the QFC, in maintaining and accelerating the wheel of economic development," said Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, chief executive of QFC Authority.
He highlighted that the proactive approach, unique business model and diverse offering had spearheaded the recovery of business activities in the country, evidenced by its "extraordinary" growth in 2020.
"I am confident that the QFC’s progress will continue in 2021 and beyond, backed by the State’s ground-breaking reforms and economic diversification efforts, which reinforce the competitiveness and attractiveness of our business ecosystem and strengthen Qatar’s position as a thriving business destination for global investors,” according to him.
2020 saw the QFC’s implementation of support measures in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, which offered relief to its registered firms, in addition to new policies that create opportunities for firms looking to tap into the Qatar’s flourishing market.
This included a legal services policy, which ensures that new QFC-licensed legal firms have the capacity and expertise to serve international clients across geographic boundaries.
Another significant announcement was the new regulations for financial institutions to operate a representative office in Qatar, which further bolsters their business by allowing an increased range of permitted activities.
The QFC extended its business network by signing five memoranda of understanding with key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Qatar Financial Markets Authority, Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, and the Global Humanitarian Action Executive Alliance.
Another key agreement was between the Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar, which is licensed on the QFC platform, and UBS, the world’s pre-eminent global wealth management firm.
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