Meraas plans Dubai tech hub project

Meraas, a Dubai-based holding company, on Tuesday teamed up with a subsidiary of Chinese tech giant Alibaba to set up a new joint venture to offer technology services to private companies and government institutions in the MENA region.

Meraas said it also plans to create a technology-oriented master-planned integrated community comprising a data centre, as well as hospitality, residential and commercial spaces, retail and food & beverage units, with the newly-formed joint venture company as anchor tenant.

Aliyun, Alibaba Group’s cloud computing subsidiary, has signed the deal with Meraas to create the JV which will specialise in application development, service-oriented architecture, testing, validation, citizenship e-services and big data operations with a special focus on analytics, revenue-generation and payment solutions.

The new Dubai-headquartered enterprise will support potential clients in achieving stronger business results, help them respond rapidly to market changes, and transform their business and IT services, a statement said.

Abdulla Al Habbai, group chief investment officer said the move was in line with ambitions to transform Dubai into a smart city, an initiative launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“The company will offer services that contribute to the six key pillars including transport, communications, infrastructure, electricity, economic services and urban planning. We strongly believe that the new company will alter the information technology landscape of the region.

“Alibaba, our chosen partner has an excellent global track record of offering world-class services to clients. Together, we aim to raise industry standards and provide state-of-the-art technology solutions that contribute to translating the objectives of our visionary leadership,” said Al Habbai.

Jack Ma (pictured), founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, added: “Dubai’s advanced infrastructure and economic strength is a good match for our technology edge, and with Meraas we will be able to provide local entrepreneurs with the vital infrastructure that will ignite innovation and help them to succeed.

“While the initial focus will be on the technology venture, Meraas will leverage its development capabilities through the creation of a technology-oriented master-planned integrated community comprising of a Tier 3 Data Center, as well as hospitality, residential and commercial spaces, retail and food & beverage units. The newly-formed joint venture company will be an anchor tenant.”