The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) increased its year on year growth by a record of 63.7% in the number of new firms registered in 2020 compared to 2019. The data indicates that 334 organizations were licensed in 2020 compared to 200 organizations in 2019. The latest developments make the QFC move closer to achieving its goal of licensing 1,000 firms in 2022 in line with its 2022 Strategy.
The new firms were registered in a variety of sectors including financial and non-financial services. The strategic clusters consisting of sports, media and finance increased by 62 new firms under the QFC.
The outbreak of the pandemic presented limitations and restrictions as well as opportunities and possibilities, especially for new information and communication technologies (ICT) in financial and non-financial services. It resulted in an increase of 139.5% of new firms in the digital sector and the launch of a license for fintech start-ups and scale-ups with 91 new firms from countries and regions including the United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia, India and Pakistan.
The State of Qatar is positioning itself as a thriving destination for global organizations, partners and investors. The QFC expects its progress to continue due to the interest related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup as well as the reforms in the legal environment, efforts to diversify the economy and improvements in the ease of doing business.
2020 saw the QFC introduce a number of support measures to combat the limitations and restrictions related to the pandemic. These measures included a digital company formation process, financial relief for registered firms and a new legal services policy for QFC licensed legal firms to serve international clients and customers as well as the new regulations for QFC licensed financial institutions to operate a representative office in the State of Qatar (with a range of permitted activities).
In addition, the QFC launched a thought-leadership series titled ‘#AccessQatar: QFC Webcast Series’ which engages and involves the business community and covers the latest trends across a wide range of industries. The topics in 2020 included Qatar’s economy, financial services, fintech, digital and sports while the ‘QFC Tech Talk Series’ with a focus on the fintech ecosystem.
The QFC is an onshore jurisdiction with competitive benefits such as up to one-hundred percent foreign ownership, one-hundred percent repatriation of profits, ten percent corporate tax on locally sourced profits and the right to trade in any currency in a legal environment based on the English common law. It has double taxation treaties with over 80 countries and the right to trade in any currency.