Not only will the office, set up about a month ago, act as a "mobile office" for companies wanting to do business in China, but DIC's presence there is expected to encourage companies to come to Dubai — and set up in Dubai's technology free zone, of course,
The influence of the DIC is growing fast and it is exploring the possibility of expanding in other countries such as Iran, Malta and India. Already it has forged an alliance with the South Indian State of Kerala with which it has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop smart city, a hi-tech business campus for IT companies in Kochi.
The first phase will be developed on 350 acres in the heart of Kochi, Kerala's commercial hub, in seven years and is expected to generate 33,000 jobs.
The Kerala government is also leasing 100 acres to the DIC and 250 acres will be sold at a mutually agreed price. The completed park is expected to cover 1,000 acres and create at least 75,000 jobs.
Malta too offers many opportunities and great potential, reckons Salam. "It is geographically quite central and has high potential for ITC growth," he said.
To date, the DIC's growth has been impressive. Indeed, it has been so dramatic that it has already achieved its 2007 targets, said Salam.
In the five years since the DIC was established, an important part of the government initiative to transform the economy from an oil-dependent economy to a knowledge-based one, 780 companies have joined the technology cluster, 77 per cent of them from outside Dubai.
And if there are times when Dubai is unable to supply the required know-how, "we are only a couple hours to India and two hours to Jordan," said Jamal.
DIC's stellar growth, and potential for even greater growth, is one of the main reasons for seeking private investment in the Free Zone's infrastructure development, along with its Free Zone partner, Dubai Media City (DMC). The first building development within the Free Zone has just been opened and it is now completely occupied.
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