Key sectors and opportunities highlighted; business leads secured
Sharjah, 27 October 2012
A number of booming sectors where demand is outpacing supply; a key geographical centrebetween Africa, Asia and Europe; an increased requirement for specialised services due toa rising middle class; and a friendly and supportive business and investment environment –these are the key factors that were addressed during a ‘Hot Sectors in Emerging Markets’ discussion on the second day of the 2012 Global Entrepolis Singapore (GES).
The session, which was sponsored by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority(Shurooq), attracted a huge number of the region’s leading business leaders, entrepreneurs,high net worth individuals and policy makers, who listened as representatives from Shurooqand other Sharjah authorities delivered a number of sector-specific presentations.
Welcoming attendees, H.E. Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qassimi, Chairman of SharjahMedia Corporation said: “Forums such as this one form an excellent platform through whichto explore ways in which various organisations and government entities can pursue mutuallybeneficial avenues of cooperation and collaboration and are a vital medium for enhancingbilateral relations on a number of levels. We look forward to the many successful andprofitable partnerships that will result because of this even and will continue to work towardsforging even stronger business, investment and cultural ties between Sharjah and Singaporein the future.”
After opening remarks from H.E. Mohammad Ahmad Al Qubaisi, Ambassador of United ArabEmirates to Singapore, H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq addressed theforum.
Highlighting some of Sharjah’s most promising sectors, Al Sarkal said: “Continuing demandfor different experiences, the growing expatriate population, government investment andrising disposable income is creating new opportunities in the travel and leisure sector, withmarket potential expected to reach AED1.49 billion by 2016. The transport and logisticssector is also fast-growing – as the benefits of Sharjah’s access to the Arabian Gulf and theIndian Ocean continues to grow, so does the success of this sector. Here, market potential isexpected to reach AED6.24 billion by 2016.”
He added: “Healthcare is another promising sector where the increased demand forspecialised services is set to drive growth. The industry is expected to grow by 9.3%, fromAED4.59 billion this year to AED6.55 billion in 2016.”
Elaborating on the issue of healthcare, Mr Binu Pisharadi, Commercial Affairs Manager ofSharjah Healthcare City, stated that UAE is the 2nd largest pharma products consumer afterSaudi Arabia; that the UAE currently has 88 hospitals – 15 of which are located in Sharjah;and that Sharjah and NE register about 3 million outpatients and 130,000 inpatients peryear.
He indicated that the supply of specialised surgery centres, cancer centres, advanceddiagnostics, rehab centres, and cardiac care centres are currently limited or lacking and, assuch, represents an opportunity for investors.
Pisharadi explained that the SHCC’s primary objective is to make Sharjah as a one-stopsolution for all healthcare needs and, as a Free Zone, investors will be able to enjoy 100%ownership of their business, 100% freedom from taxes and duties of all kinds, and 100%repatriability of their capital and profit.
He said: “With the objective of providing the best customer service, excellent infrastructure,single window clearance system and a tax free environment, SHCC is confident in its visionto transform the Emirate of Sharjah into the most sought-after healthcare destination in theregion.”
Business and investment
A presentation by H.E. Hussain Mohammad Al Mahmoudi, Director General of SharjahChamber of Commerce and Industry, emphasised that the Chamber – which boasts morethan 47,000 members – aims to be a stimulant of sustainable commercial and industrialdevelopment for Sharjah business community and to be a centre offering the best practice.
He said: “Our objective is to be the pioneering and defending voice of the Sharjah businesscommunity and to serve our members by offering information and value added services, aswell as opportunities for growth, prosperity and competitive advantage in the global market.”
Attractive Free zones
The Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF-Zone) was another area of interestfor many attendees, and was addressed by Mr Humaid Al Khatri, Commercial Director ofSharjah International Airport – Freezone Authority, who elaborated on why the SAIF-ZONEhas become one of the most important business and investment hubs in the UAE.
He said: “With its state-of-the art facilities, the SAIF-Zone offers unprecedented investmentand trade incentives and unparalleled advantages, including 100% foreign ownership and100% exemption from personal and corporate income taxes. In addition, it is constantlyupgrading its value-added services, infrastructure facilities, technical and scientific expertiseand facilities.”
The SAIF-Zone was set up in 1995 and started its operations with 55 companies. Sincethen, it has developed considerably, and today hosts over 5200 companies from 138countries, including some of the biggest names in the fields of aviation, IT services, media,consumables, trade and manufacturing.
Saud Salim Al Mazroui, Hamriyah Free Zone Director of Commercial Affairs said that theyare looking to create a variety of special investments for Singaporean companies to benefitfrom. The Hamriyah Free Zone is a start mark for business and economic projects andthat is for the strategic location it obtains such as the Arabian Gulf and a highly organisedinfrastructure and road networks, in addition to the special facilities it gives to clients andvarious incentives for its investors such as stores, ready for rent offices and developmentopportunities in the leased land and fulfilling the tenants needs with regards to commercialand economic activities.
More than just investment
Looking at the investment environment from a different perspective was Mr Lee Koon,CEO of Sharjah Asset Management Company, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), whichis wholly-owned by the Finance Department of the Government of Sharjah with a strongpresence across the Middle East.
“Sharjah Asset Management Company’s mission is to generate income for the Governmentof Sharjah through portfolio management and investment activities,” explained Koon. “Whilewe can potentially invest anywhere in the world, the focus is on countries like Singapore,China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, where we cover an array of sectors, including Oil& Gas Support Services, Food & Beverage, Real Estate, Internet & Technology, Healthcareand Logistics.”
Tourism and Media
Mrs Conny Boettger, Destination Development Manager at the Sharjah Commerce andTourism Development Authority, delivered the final presentation – Explore Sharjah – which,in particular, highlighted Sharjah’s thriving tourism sector. She stated that 1.6 million peoplefrom across the globe visited Sharjah in 2011, which had a total monetary impact of AED5.8billion on Sharjah’s GDP.
Commenting on the successful conclusion of the forum, H.E. Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkalsaid: “The Sharjah delegation was able to showcase not only the Sharjah’s rich cultural andtourist attractions, but also its business and investment potential. Each delegate successfullydemonstrated the range of prospects in their respective sectors and, with many attendeeshaving already expressed an interest in the opportunities presented, we have secured anumber of new business leads.”
H.E. Osama Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre has demonstrated during the sessiona presentation having what local and international media are addressing about Sharjah’stourism and economic sectors potentials, and how Sharjah Media Centre is working topromote for Sharjah and attract different media representatives to it and he continued toexplain the plans that are being set for implementation to contribute to Sharjah’s investmentsector.
The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) was established in 2009 asan independent government body tasked with stimulating business activity and encouraginginvestment in the emirate. The Authority is dedicated to developing Sharjah through a rangeof quality projects and encouraging domestic and foreign investment by adopting the bestinternational standards in providing services and studies that help attract investors from theregion and all over the world.
Shurooq’s mission is focused on providing the necessary facilities and incentives,overcoming obstacles facing investment in the Emirate, evaluating infrastructure projectsrelated to tourism, trade and industry, and drawing up plans to complete these projects.
For more information please contact:
Yousef Al Taweel
E-mail: [email protected]
Mobile: 050 556 25 20
Mobile: 050 538 39 73