DETEKT – Your Gateway to the Middle East at Dubai World Expo 2020

Go back and look at some photos of Dubai in just the year 2000. There was definitely a plan in place and construction had already begun in earnest to turn Dubai from one of  the much less oil rich Emirates into not only a world class tourist destination but the financial and innovation center of the Middle East.

It was in 2001 when construction began on what was to become The Palm Jumeirah, 2002 when the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) was founded, and 2004 when concrete started getting poured for what was to become the iconic Burj Khalifa…which, according to the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, at 828 meters high remains the tallest building in the world.

The iconic projects we noted above are just the most obvious tips of the iceberg. Lesser known, but just as important are places like Dubai Internet City. Established in the year 2000 as well, Dubai Internet City has grown into the Tech hub, innovation center and startup gateway to the Middle East and the larger GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). The GCC includes Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates and has a population of over 65 million people and has one of the highest GDP per capitas in world (almost USD 70,000).

If you go even further back and look at the founding of the United Arab Emirates on December 2, 1971, it would have been hard, if not impossible, to believe that it would become one of the most progressive and innovative places, not just in the Middle East, but in the entire world.  And yet, when the hosting of The (world) Expo 2020 was awarded to Dubai by the Bureau International des Expositions on November 27, 2013, the world at large was already convinced.

The only way a country like the United Arab Emirates could gain the respect of the rest of the world so quickly was to be disciplined, forward-thinking and innovative. Having a lot of oil wealth, frankly most of it is in Abu Dhabi, is one thing.  However, understanding that economic diversification based on targeted investment and innovation is much harder. The leadership of the United Arab Emirates in general, and Dubai in particular have been laser focused on encouraging technological innovation and design innovation, personified by the Sheik CEO, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

For those that still do not believe that Dubai is fertile ground for startups, look no further than two of the companies that have exited in the last few years that remain based in Dubai. Careem, the premier ride hailing company in the UAE with its headquarters in Dubai, is one of the best funded startups (if not THE best) in the UAE. It announced in March of 2019 that it was being acquired by UBER (maybe you have heard of them?) for USD 3.1 billion and recently closed that deal at the end of January 2020.  Then, there is souq.com, based in Dubai and launched in 2005 by three founders from Syria and Jordan, including one of the Middle East’s most famous technology entrepreneurs, Hussam Khoury.  In July of 2017, Amazon outbid some of the biggest names in Dubai to acquire Souq for an announced USD 583 million.

DETEKT believes that innovation at its core requires innovative and transformational design. All of this innovation and design will be on display at The Expo 2020 in Dubai at scale (https://www.expo2020dubai.com/en/discover). As part of the event’s unique focus on technological innovation and startups, Dubai Expo Live, a precursor to the Expo itself, recently announced that five Arab startups would be awarded up to USD 100,000.  These awards are meant to fund sustainable initiatives for smart cities. The list of winning startups can be found here (http://bit.ly/3a2SxbZ)…look for them at The Expo along with all of the other startups and change-makers that will be participants and attendees.

Also looking for DETEKT’s Product Showcasing at The Expo where our teams from Bangkok office and some products that we designed, developed and innovated by our talents for the customer in the Middle East will be on ground service at Thailand Pavilion (https://www.expo2020dubaithailand.com/en/about/), and let us be your guide to the most innovative products and designs in Dubai, UAE as the GATEWAY to the rest of the Middle East. Your Tips —  “The Expo will be an amazing and unparalleled opportunity to find the best business connections as well”.