Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Investors back new research hub following Expo 2020 Dubai

Developers will create District 2020, a high-tech commercial and residential legacy

An artist's rendering of District 2020. Courtesy: Expo 2020
An artist's rendering of District 2020. Courtesy: Expo 2020

An area of the Expo 2020 Dubai site set to be redeveloped following the event is aiming to become a new research and technology hub.

Known as District 2020, backers of the initiative hope to regenerate the parcel of land into a thriving business and residential community.

The scheme will work in collaboration with partners including Atlas Capital Holding, a Shanghai investment firm.

The Expo 2020 Dubai fair will officially close in 2021, leaving a wealth of new opportunities to repurpose the sprawling 438-hectare site.

“We have a team that is part of the Expo but is also focussed on how we ensure a seamless transition after,” said Marjan Faraidooni, chief pavilions and exhibitions officer at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“We proactively seek organisations that meet our innovation vision. Atlas Capital is...a very positive addition because it supports the UAE in terms of future technology.”

Two major international firms have already confirmed their intention to establish a presence on the former Expo site once the event closes.

Siemens, a German multinational conglomerate, said it would set up a global logistics headquarters to assist with its airports, cargo and ports operations.

Meanwhile, Accenture, a professional services company, has also committed to opening a digital hub to support its clients.

With several leading firms already on board, Atlas executives continue to work to bring in more investors.

One aspect of their strategy involves attracting companies developing blockchain, an online platform that commonly underpins digital currency.

“District 2020 will provide the ideal location to build a community-driven by the blockchain and fintech ecosystem capable of attracting accelerators from all over the world,” said Rain Huan, co-founder of Atlas Capital.

“Our vision is to support Dubai in its goal of developing into a long-term hub for innovation by creating a blockchain campus of the future – an industry hub dedicated to connecting blockchain researchers and entrepreneurs with investors.”

The long-term development plans for District 2020 were recently approved by the Dubai Municipality.

As much as 80 per cent of the Expo site will be remodelled, with iconic structures including the main Al Wasl Plaza and Terra, a children’s science centre, and the Dubai Exhibition Centre, remaining.

Updated: October 14, 2019 12:47 PM

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