Dubai ranked a top ten business location

Emirate named a Top 10 global business destination

Dubai is in the top ten of the most popular business locations in the world according to Business Footprints – Global Office Locations, a new report by the world’s largest real estate services firm, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).

The report maps the global office footprint of 280 major international companies, across 101 countries and 232 cities.

Of those companies profiled, just over half (56.1%) have an office presence in Dubai ranking it in 9th place overall, while the UAE as a whole was ranked 15th in the country ranking, with 171 companies present (61.1%).

Business Footprints ranks Hong Kong, which is home to 68.2% of companies surveyed, as the world’s number one business location, followed by Singapore (67.5%) and Tokyo (63.9%), while London is ranked the fourth most popular business location in the world (63.2%).

The top five is completed by Shanghai (61.4%).

The report compares the global office presence of companies across a range of different sectors. Notably, in the industrial goods and services sector, Dubai ranks 7th globally, with 23 of the companies surveyed present.

This represents 70% of the total amount. This is down to the fact that Dubai often serves as a regional headquarters for companies, who control nearby production facilities from there.

Dubai has emerged as a ‘gateway’ city between Europe and the Far East and as a base for conducting business in places such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Arguably it challenges Singapore in its global role.

“The continuing trend to off-shore parts of a business could distribute corporate activities more widely and reduce the degree of sector concentration for some cities. Dubai has a relatively balanced tenant mix,” said Nick Maclean, managing director, CB Richard Ellis Middle East.

“Over the past 10 years the city has been designed and constructed with the specific intention of attracting major international firms from a broad range of sectors. Whilst a number of government initiatives and tax breaks have helped do this, it is the creation of an integrated air and sea transport hub and regionally important financial centre which has created a strong resident talent pool, without which internationalisation would have been impossible,” he added.

The report also indicates a number of cities in less developed emerging markets are home to a significant proportion of international companies.

While Dubai is ranked as the 9th most popular business location overall, Warsaw is 12th, reflecting the fact that both have developed into strategic business hubs in their region. While Warsaw is an important business hub in Europe, the additional presence of Budapest (20th), Prague (21st), and Bucharest (29th) in the report’s top 30 list highlights the rising importance of many Central and Eastern European markets for international businesses in Europe.

“Our finding that over half of the world’s top thirty most popular office locations are outside of the most economically developed nations underlines the importance major companies are placing on gaining access to new markets to fuel their growth,” said Richard Holberton, director of EMEA Research at CBRE.

“It is particularly interesting to note the position of a number of emerging markets relative to established cities in developed economies. For example, Shanghai, Moscow, Beijing and Dubai feature in the top 10 most popular business locations, with more international companies present than in Paris (56%), New York (55%) and Milan (53%).

“In addition, one would not necessarily expect that second-tier emerging markets like Bangkok (48.9%) and Istanbul (41.1%) would have a comparable presence of major office occupiers to places like Sydney (48.6%) and Frankfurt (38.2%).

“While ‘emerging markets’ is a broad term, the key characteristic of the cities outside the advanced economies which have high numbers of international company offices is that there are principally in the world’s faster growing economies.”

Business Footprints: Top 15 Business Locations


City No. of Companies with office presence Percentage of total company sample (280)
1 Hong Kong 191 68.2
2 Singapore 189 67.5
3 Tokyo 179 63.9
4 London 177 63.2
5 Shanghai 172 61.4
6 Moscow 170 60.7
7 Beijing 169 60.4
8 Madrid 167 59.6
9 Dubai 157 56.1
10 Paris 156 55.7
11 New York 155 55.4
12 Warsaw 150 53.6
13 Milan 147 52.5
14 Sao Paulo 146 52.1
15 Bangkok 137 48.9

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