Unperturbed by the Gulf crisis, the Qatar Financial Center’s (QFC) registered firms numbered 507, including 120 entities post blockade, thus reaching the more than the halfway mark set for 2022, six months ahead of the deadline.
“More than 500 firms have chosen the QFC platform to conduct business from Qatar,” QFC chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida told the media in Doha. In its 2017-22 strategy, QFC had said it was eyeing a target of 1,000 firms.
Highlighting that local, regional and international firms continue to see the multi-billion dollar investment opportunities that are available in the country’s unsaturated market, he said it is the reason why the centre continues to see businesses interested in the openness of Qatar as a market and in the attractiveness of its platform.
Despite last year’s challenges (of economic blockade), the QFC is well on track to reach its goals set out last year, he said, adding “our model is unique in the region, and this is clear in the number of institutions from around the world who are continuing to see the benefits of coming to Qatar and joining the QFC platform.”
Despite the blockade, 2017 was the most successful year for the QFC in its 13-year history. For the period from June 6, 2017 up to March 31, 2018, the QFC registered 120 firms. In comparison, in the previous-year period, the QFC registered 60 firms. The QFC has doubled registrations year-on-year for the same period.
Three major Qatar companies have relocated their structure from the neighbourhood financial centres and many multinational companies, which have clients in Doha, had also opened their offices in the QFC to better serve them, al-Jaida said, reasoning for the spike in registrations post blockade.
He said blockade is a short-term gain, which the QFC wants to convert into a long term sustainable strategy.
The QFC firms enjoy competitive benefits, such as operating within a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in any currency, 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double tax treaty agreement network with more than 60 countries.
Al-Jaida also said this year would see the phased shifting of the QFC into Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD), which will be its new headquarters.
It is envisaged that this development, which is testament to the QFC’s collective and continued growth, will further enhance Doha’s position as a robust international financial city, in line with the economic pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
The shifting is expected to be in three phases with the first one involving new entities to open their offices at MDD and at the second stage, all existing firms will move within three years. The last stage will see the QFC and its entities moving into MDD, where the area for the QFC, an onshore business and finance platform, would exceed 300,000 sq m.
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