Dubai woos HK family offices to fund 10-year economic plan

Dubai is courting wealthy Hong Kong investors to fund its ambitious 10-year economic plan and pivot to a digital and tech-driven economy. The city aims to become a leading family office hub by 2033.
Dubai woos HK family offices to fund 10-year economic plan

Dubai is looking to bring in wealthy investors from Hong Kong to fund its ambitious 10-year Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) targetted at diversifying its economy. 

Key investment opportunities lie in digital transformation and robotics in logistics and manufacturing, fintech and virtual assets, and tourism, Hadi Badri, chief executive officer of Economic Development at Dubai Economy and Tourism, told AsianInvestor.

Hadi Badri, 
Dubai Economy and Tourism

Dubai launched the ambitious scheme at the beginning of 2023 which is aimed at building the city into a top-five player in manufacturing by scaling up digitalisation and a top-four global financial hub.

It also plans to become the fastest-growing and most desired corporate hub for multinationals, family offices, and small and medium-sized enterprises by 2033.


One of the opportunities for family offices is to help the economy transform its old labor-intensive manufacturing sector into a green and highly automated model operated by skilled professionals in a programme dubbed “Industry 3.0”.

The city is also hoping to attract investors that will drive a new age of fintech and virtual assets that are increasingly operating on a global scale.

“We're always calling on the brightest minds to come to Dubai and use Dubai as a platform…for people to bring their services, products and capabilities to help us continue on our digital transformation,” Badri said.

Dubai government’s latest data showed that the city ranked as the second most popular destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) from Hong Kong in 2022.

By sector, software and information and technology services (IT) were the most sought-after with 39% of FDI, followed by financial services (35%).


Badri visited Hong Kong in April and met with some family offices in the city. He said that while he was re-engaging with established connections, there were also some new relationships that were looking at tapping into the Middle East through Dubai or making investments in the city.

Besides family offices, he also met with government officials, trade associations, private equity and venture capital firms, as well as entrepreneurs across sectors, especially those in fintech and Web 3.

Compared to the pre-Covid period, Badri noted that Dubai now has a more diversified ecosystem, with established financial services providers, more talent, and new family offices, venture capital and private equity firms, and hedge funds.

“We are seeing an almost unprecedented pace of talent and businesses of all types coming to Dubai, establishing offices, sometimes redomiciling altogether from other markets,” he said, adding that Dubai's connectivity and track record of safety and security were attractive inducements.

The United Arab Emirates offers different types of tax exemptions, including no personal income tax, 50-year guaranteed exemptions from future taxation in the free zone, and no restrictions on repatriated incomes. 

“This ecosystem really creates a platform where family offices feel very much at home,” he said.

“This is where we're seeing significant attraction of ultra-high and high-net-worth individuals to Dubai who are setting up their family offices and to operate their global interests, as well as to look for investment opportunities locally,” he said.

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