Qatar is ranked in 2018* as one of the Top 10 countries in the world for the growth of innovative companies and 15th globally for companies embracing disruptive ideas. These rankings are the result of Qatar’s deliberate heavy investment in emerging technologies. Qatar has identified emerging technologies – a collective term referring to innovative, high tech industry sectors as a key focus for investment in the Free Zones.
The appetite for investment in emerging technologies is not limited to the more mature IT markets of North America and Europe – it is global and Qatar’s Free Zones at Ras Bufontas and Umm Al Houl with their unparalleled infrastructure and operating environment are not only meeting but exceeding the needs of cutting-edge companies and positioning them for success.
New technologies are revolutionizing traditional industry sectors and the world of work, how organizations function and particularly where globally they want to locate operations to compete. Qatar Free Zone Authority is focusing its business development efforts to attract and build clusters in emerging technologies ranging from artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, automotive technologies, cybersecurity, 3D Printing, Blockchain, Virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics and computing power.
Qatar National Vision 2030 is a governmental strategy designed to innovate and diversify the economic landscape of Qatar and a key component of reaching this ambition is to provide the necessary support that will help certain industries to thrive, such as those in Emerging Technology. An example of this is the development of Q-Cert, an initiative aimed at addressing cybersecurity threats such as risks from hackers, malware, and other malicious actors.
Qatar’s telecom operators will roll out their 5G networks, offering immense capability for technologically focused industries such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Vehicles.
Operational inputs of industries within the Technology Sector are energy intensive. Due to world-leading liquefied natural gas production, Qatar is able to offer stable and price-effective energy solutions, setting the benchmark for energy and utility costs in the Gulf region.
The Qatari labor pool consists of highly skilled individuals, sourcing both local and international talent. Internally, Qatar’s prominent universities provide intelligent and adept individuals to meet the skills for industry and while externally, international workforce attraction efforts are supported through enticing incentives for workers and companies alike. For example, no individual income tax on attractive salaries and implementing the lowest administrative costs of employing foreign workers in the GCC.
Due to the way Qatar has structured the Free Zones, Emerging Technology companies are perfectly positioned to be a value chain addition to a myriad of different local industries operating in Qatar as well as a base to service regional and international markets. Qatar’s national industries provide local market opportunities, as well as the potential in partnership to pilot, test market and international emerging technologies from a Free Zone location. Furthermore, in addition to these local opportunities, the Free Zones also offer global connectivity through their state-of-the-art air and seaports competitively in a customs free environment.