Maktoum Bin Mohammed attends the very first ASEAN Global Business Forum in Dubai.

Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, attended the first-ever ASEAN World Business Forum (GBF) at Expo 2020 Dubai on Wednesday.

GBF ASEAN seeks to strengthen economic ties and bilateral trade relations between Dubai and the 10 member states that make up the ASEAN region.

Addressing Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and other delegates, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, stressed the importance of the Forum and the platform provided by Expo 2020 Dubai to further explore trade and investment between the two regions.

“Holding Expo 2020 Dubai at this critical moment in world history is helping the global economy make a fresh start and accelerate its recovery and growth. ASEAN countries can play a key role in global economic growth by supporting international trade and building partnerships. The large populations of ASEAN countries offer huge investment opportunities and support the global supply chain. The UAE views the ASEAN region positively, as it occupies a strong economic position with a total GDP of $ 3 trillion. The ASEAN and GCC regions complement each other and play a vital role in the global economy, ”he said.

On the first day of the Forum, Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Managing Director of Expo 2020 Dubai, also spoke. She said resilience and the ability to overcome obstacles are essential for the continued growth of GCC and ASEAN countries.

While the pandemic has exposed the fragility of traditional economic systems, it has also highlighted the potential of those who accelerate their adoption of digitization, build innovative and agile startups and SME ecosystems and establish a global reputation as hubs and platforms for long-term and sustainable partnerships. Gulf and Southeast Asian countries are introducing several forward-thinking initiatives – we are entrepreneurs and problem solvers, always looking for new perspectives to spur creativity and innovation. We have demonstrated these qualities since the founding of the United Arab Emirates in 1971 and throughout our journey into the 21st century, ”said Al Hashimy.

In a discussion that followed, Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, highlighted Dubai’s strategic location which has enabled it to become a shopping center and a gateway to other areas. Companies around the world have successfully used the UAE’s location as a stepping stone to access lucrative new markets.

“If you want to expand your business beyond a specific geographic area to diversify the risks, the best way to enter a region is to set up a hub in the United Arab Emirates. This gives investors the opportunity to reach a population of over two billion people spanning various markets including Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. What this gives potential investors is access to a pool of high quality talent. It also gives them the best time zones to work with in the east and west. You can start with Asia, then the afternoon with Europe and the evening with the United States, ”Al Olama said.

“In addition, businesses can expand beyond a country. With a presence in the UAE, countries in the region will be much more likely to help businesses grow in their geographies. There are several exemplary models that investors can use to unlock their growth potential in markets in Asia and beyond. One example is the expansion of DP World operations beyond the GCC into Asia, Africa and Latin America, ”Al Olama added.

He also drew attention to the facilities that Dubai provides for companies operating in the rapidly expanding tech sphere, with Dubai Internet City home to over 60% of the region’s artificial intelligence startups and Dubai attracting over 62% of all. foreign direct investment in the region. Digital Economy.

Representing Dubai Chambers, Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, President of Dubai Chambers, explained how Dubai provides a fertile business environment for ASEAN companies. He called for greater cooperation between stakeholders from both regions to maximize their mutual potential.

“The ASEAN region is a strategically important market for Dubai at a time when bilateral relations have developed in recent years. The number of ASEAN companies registered with the Dubai Chamber and operating in Dubai has increased by 35.5% since 2018 to reach 3,300 today. Non-oil trade between Dubai and ASEAN over the past five years has reached around 110 billion dollars (404 billion Dhs). Yet there is enormous potential to further develop bilateral trade and exploit existing synergies. For this to happen, we must work together to remove barriers to trade, make it easier to do business and identify new areas where we can align our ambitions, ”said Al Ghurair.

Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat, said: “Bilateral trade between Dubai and ASEAN countries over the past two decades amounted to $ 37 billion and we believe the Emirates Arab Emirates and Dubai, in particular, can open up new partnerships between ASEAN and GCC countries. The ASEAN countries have a lot to offer. Investments in the digital economy and e-commerce topped the list, as the region has a population of over 660 million people. We are confident that the UAE can help forge strategic partnerships with ASEAN countries in areas such as technological advancements, supply chain and green technologies, as UAE is already a pioneer and a leader in sustainable finance and green investments.

Organized by the Dubai Chamber in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai, GBF ASEAN is hosting a comprehensive program of speaking engagements, presentations, panel discussions and workshops designed to explore ways to increase bilateral trade and make advance the economies of Dubai and the 10 ASEAN countries. Region. Organized under the theme New Frontiers, the conference is the latest addition to the Dubai Chamber’s Global Business Forum series, launched in 2013 to identify synergies between Dubai and promising markets around the world.

Business Confidence of Filipinos in the UAE: A national survey presented at Expo 2020 Dubai announced post-pandemic optimism among Filipino consumers for the UAE’s sustainable growth trajectory over the next 12 months.

The study conducted by The Filipino Times, the largest information platform for Filipinos in the Middle East and North Africa, focused on several key indicators to measure the confidence of expatriate Filipino consumers and covered 2,612 Filipino respondents from all emirates.

It measured the sentiment and purchasing power of Filipino consumers, as well as the business prospects of companies that cater or target Filipino consumers in the United Arab Emirates, which is considered one of the loyal consumer segments of the United Arab Emirates. fastest growing brand.

As presented at the Global Business Forum-ASEAN hosted by the Dubai Chamber at Expo 2020 Dubai, the survey found that an overwhelming 96% of Filipino expats believe the UAE economy is in better shape. position to achieve further progress in 2022 through improved performance. the private sector since the pandemic.

Thanks to the economic impact of the Dubai Expo, strong population growth, double-digit growth of new businesses as well as the highest vaccination rate in the United Arab Emirates, 89% of Filipino professionals are also in an optimistic perspective of a salary increase in 2022. A third of them already receive a monthly salary of more than 10,000 Dhs.

Fastest Growing Market: This strong optimism among Filipinos is reflected in their spending habits, making it a major profitable and rapidly growing consumer market in the UAE.

In an analysis, the survey underscored the importance of measuring consumer spending, which is directly linked to better job prospects. While spending stimulates businesses, the business recovery leads to a bullish job market and increased spending.

Due to the growing purchasing power of Filipinos and their well-established reputation for brand loyalty, they are being courted by local and international businesses in the UAE.

Almost 8 in 10 Filipinos also pointed out that they are willing to pay a higher price for the products they aspire to buy from well-known brands.

Of that number, 39% are willing to buy high-end gadgets; 26 percent on culinary experiences; 24% on branded clothing, fashion items and accessories; and 11 percent on cars / vehicles.

The average age of Overseas Filipinos in the UAE is in the ‘millennial’ range, which studies show stands out for its use of technology and embrace of digital life.

Dr Karen Remo, CEO and Managing Director of New Perspective Media Group and Editor of The Filipino Times, said: “As one of the largest expat communities in the UAE, Filipinos have become a consumer segment. major for many brands, both local and international. – in this country. We have seen more and more brands strengthen their strategy by capturing the heart of this important target market. “

“The positive sentiment leads to an optimistic business outlook, as the growing number of Filipinos, their growing purchasing power and the strengthening of ties between the UAE and the Philippines fuel the expansion of Filipino businesses, from Filipino entrepreneurs based in the Philippines. UAE and international companies targeting Filipinos, ”added Dr Remo.

As the survey results show, 6 in 10 respondents said they have personally noticed an increase in promotions and marketing campaigns by local and international brands that specifically target Filipinos.

Vince Ang, Vice President of Brand Engagement at New Perspective Media Group and Managing Director of The Filipino Times, said: “This survey shows that companies see the potential of the Philippine market in the United Arab Emirates as a group of target consumers ready to make that decision. to opt for a particular product or service.

The UAE’s overwhelming support for businesses in the region has also sparked a new wave of business-conscious Filipinos to engage in entrepreneurship, with 94% of those polled saying they’ve noticed more Filipino-owned businesses in the Emirates. Arab Emirates compared to five years ago.

At present, there are 792 Filipino-owned businesses in Dubai alone, according to the Philippine Ministry of Commerce and Industry, citing data from the Dubai Chamber.

Meanwhile, 98% of those polled also noted an increase in the number of Filipino brands on the shelves of their favorite supermarkets and grocery chains.