(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC, the onshore financial hub of the region, said on Wednesday that it increased its economic value-add to the UAE's gross domestic product, or GDP, by seven per cent to 3.13 billion, or 1.4 per cent of the country's non-hydrocarbon GDP in 2011.
The rate of growth in GDP contribution was higher than that of key financial centres in the US and UK, but behind that of those in Singapore and Hong Kong, the DIFC said its fifth annual Economic Activity Survey Report.
The total assets of active registered entities at the financial centre stood at 115 billion at the end of 2011, including 109 billion in financial assets. The paid-up capital of DIFC registered entities stood at 29.5 billion as of 2011 end.
Releasing the report, Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, chief executive officer of DIFC Authority, said the report highlighted the financial hub's advancement as a global centre of finance and business.
"We are confident that DIFC will continue to be a catalyst of growth for the region, by providing a platform of world-class infrastructure for financial and business institutions to extend their reach and access new economies."
The survey, undertaken by the DIFC economics team, drew response from some 66.4 per cent of DIFC's client base, an increase of 11.2 per cent in the number of reporting entities compared to last year's survey. The total number of companies based at the Centre increased by 5.7 per cent in 2011.
A breakdown of DIFC's GDP by sector shows that financial activities remain the biggest contributor accounting for 70.3 per cent of total value added, while business services accounted for 28.0 per cent, with the rest attributed to public administration, which includes the DIFC Authority, the DFSA and the DIFC Courts.
The report shows that number of employees within the DIFC community grew by 14 per cent to reach 12,945 full time employees of which men represented 65.5 per cent. In 2011, 88 per cent of DIFC's international, diverse and highly skilled work force was university graduates and post-graduates. The percentage of UAE nationals working in the DIFC was a stable proportion of the total at 2.2 per cent.
The financial hub has also seen a big spurt in the number of Chinese firms using it as a platform to access markets in Africa.
"China is the biggest investor into Africa, and much of that activity is now out of Dubai," DIFC chief economist Dr Nasser Saidi told reporters at a Press conference in Dubai. A number of large Chinese firms have a presence at DIFC, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and oil giant Petro China. According to Saidi, there are 200,000 Chinese residents in Dubai. That is close to ten per cent of the population.