Qatar Financial Centre Authority CEO, Yousuf Al Jaida has revealed that the fast-growing financial centre is in talks with several global companies to encourage them to join the QFC platform.
“We are looking at different markets, including countries like Iraq, Kuwait and from Southeast Asia region. QFC is watching the disruptions happening globally. We intend to take advantage out of these opportunities”, Al Jaida told Bloomberg TV, in the first interview broadcast from Bloomberg TV’s newly set-up studio at QFC.
QFC is trying to create an alternative hub in the Mena region. With lucrative plans to attract global financial institutions, the region’s futuristic financial centre is targeting thousand companies by 2022, he said.
“We have great ambitions. If you look around, there are many financial centres in the region. I think everybody has to look into their own niche areas. We are looking at areas of financial services- Islamic Finance, Islamic Fintech. We are also into non-financial sectors like digital technology, sports and media. We are moving full-fledged and we have great ambitions to grow.” On wooing companies from Iraq and Turkey, Al Jaida said there’s been a lot of progress on that front as well. QFC is in talks with a lot of the companies, especially multinational companies. The multi-national companies are looking at Iraq as a potential future treasure in terms of business opportunities. However, a lot of companies are still hesitant in terms of locating themselves in that country. Turkey and Qatar have massive bilateral agreements together and that relationship is developing very well. Of late, a lot of the business has been coming into Qatar from Turkey.
Sharing his thoughts on the potential competition from neighbouring financial centres, Al Jaida said QFC’s business model is quite different from others.
On attracting talents to QFC, he said QFC is looking at different countries to tap into the asset managers. “We are looking at mostly on the Islamic side. We’ve had a lot of successful talks in terms of harbouring some of the Islamic asset managers and creating a hub out of Qatar. We are also seeing a lot of interest from Asian funds who want to go into Africa…. Qatar is well-connected into Africa. We understand a lot of Asian funds want to transit into Africa. We are in early round of discussions with many entities”, he said.
Al Jaida, who said that Qatar has the ability to serve as a bridge between East and West, elaborated on QFC plans to meet actual demands from China, the world’s second largest economy. “The Chinese are actually very much interested in the Middle East from a Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) perspective.
We are seeing a lot of opportunities in China’s manufacturing sector.” China has shown a lot of interests in Qatar’s free zone and financial institutions side. “Some of the Chinese financial institutions want to establish themselves in our financial center and want to look beyond. A lot of them are looking into Africa as well. We’re trying to figure out what kind of incentive model and package we can play with each of these Chinese conglomerates.
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