The Dubai International Financial Centre, a business zone, says it aims to double the number of companies there over five years by serving as a base for business with China, south Asia and Africa, not merely the Gulf.
With political unrest plaguing parts of the Middle East and Western financial firms still retrenching because of debt problems in their home markets, the business environment is challenging for Dubai.
But Jeffrey Singer, chief executive of the DIFC Authority, which manages the business zone, said Dubai could keep expanding rapidly as the Gulf's main financial centre by becoming a conduit for trade and investment with a larger region.
"Increasingly institutions are using Dubai not just as a base for business in the Gulf, but as a base to access a much wider area," he said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.
The DIFC, opened in 2004, is one of the United Arab Emirates' "free zones", offering foreign investors 100 percent ownership of their ventures and business-friendly
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