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Is Dubai the Next Silicon Valley of the Middle East?

October 22, 2015

By Kerning Cultures In the 1970s, the population of the UAE stood at 230,000. It is now 9.3 million with an economy that grew 230-fold, ranking presently as the 28th wealthiest nation in the world. With 16% of the population national Emirati and the remaining majority expatriate foreigners, there is a unique dynamic to the UAE of a fast-moving, ever-changing country heavily shaped by visitor influences. I once stood next to a friend at a music festival in the a newly-opening design district in Dubai and remarked, “I don’t feel like I’m in Dubai.” To which he responded, “But when do you ever?” While less so in the outlying emirates that are calmer and more suburban, the most populated emirate of Dubai features a lifestyle that somehow feels to shift faster than you can grasp.   This has exciting consequences for the startup scene: the scene is pregnant with opportunity in its newness and under-saturation, your customer base comprises all nationalities, and there is the possibility to carve your mark on a citystage, where elsewhere residents may be largely anonymous. “I can’t believe that in two years I’ve been able…

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