The DIFC is the world's fastest growing international financial centre. It aims to develop the same stature as New York, London and Hong Kong. It primarily serves the vast region between Western Europe and East Asia.
Since it opened in September 2004, the DIFC has attracted high calibre firms from around the globe as well as its region. A world-class stock exchange, the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), opened in the DIFC in September 2005.
The DIFC is a 110-acre free zone. It is part of the larger vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, together with the Government of Dubai, to create an environment for progress and economic development in the UAE and the wider region. The DIFC focuses on several sectors of financial activity: Banking Services (Investment Banking, Corporate Banking & Private Banking); Capital Markets (Equity, Debt Instruments, Derivatives and Commodity Trading); Asset Management and Fund Registration; Insurance and Re-insurance; Islamic Finance & Professional Service Providers.
Financial institutions may apply for licenses in the above sectors. Firms operating in the DIFC are eligible for benefits such as a zero tax rate on profits, 100 per cent foreign ownership, no restrictions on foreign exchange or repatriation of capital, operational support and business continuity facilities.