Why Dubai’s Healthcare Industry is Exciting for New Businesses
Healthcare and technology are both crucial sectors for continued economic and social growth of the country and present enormous opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Dubai’s position itself as a City of the Future and is an important gateway to the region’s emerging markets as well as a global hub of trade and investment.
A steadily growing population and a strategic focus on medical tourism makes Dubai attractive for healthcare investment. Opportunities include centres of Excellence in specialisations such as cardiology, neurology, and rehabilitation. The production of generic pharmaceuticals; the production, sales, and service of medical devices; and medical education continue to be areas of focus for investment in Dubai.
As a prime mover in implementing the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and incubating high-technology startups, Dubai is one of the first in the world to utilise the benefits of artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning, Blockchain, financial technologies (fintech), and HealthIT. Along with these, Dubai’s focus continues to be on 3D printing, cybersecurity, and geographic information systems (GIS).
From the FDI perspective, Dubai continues to attract high-quality investment. As a leading global FDI destination, the city recorded exceptional growth in FDI during the first six months of 2020, with 190 projects worth AED 12 billion, according to data from the Dubai FDI Monitor, which uses the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) methodology to track FDI data. Nearly 53% of the FDI attracted by Dubai during the first half of 2020 was directed to medium and high technology investments, underlining a growing recognition among global investors that Dubai is an ideal city in which to make technology-related investments.
Within healthcare, this means taking advantage of Dubai’s booming tech ecosystem for tech-enabled healthcare and making the most of zero-tax Free Trade Zones. So if you are looking to build or expand your business in the healthcare industry, here are some key things you need to know.
Key Healthcare Investment Opportunities in Dubai
There are 3 main areas where healthcare investors can potentially consider when entering the Dubai market.
Health-tech in the Middle East at the moment is primarily dominated by two types of companies: telemedicine and doctor booking. This is largely due to the fact that most entrepreneurs come from a digital background and have little exposure to the actual care provided to patients.
While there have been efforts to bridge the gap between technology and healthcare practices, there is still much room for innovation – especially with the increased accessibility to blockchain, 3D-printing, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and other technologies.
Dhonor HealthTech, for example, is officially building blockchain solutions for safer, secure and more streamlined organ donor matching and verification in partnership with the Ministry Of Health And Prevention. This is meant to not only prevent illegal organ trading but also save over $20 million in estimated dialysis costs every year.
Analysing the performance of Dubai’s tourism sector for 2018, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) reported total revenue of AED 12.1 billion (US$317 million), a growth of 5.5% from the previous year, from over 337,000 medical tourists. By 2021, Dubai hopes to attract more than half a million medical tourists from countries like Russia, China, Europe and Africa.
In line with this goal, the DHA set up the Dubai Health Experience (DXH), a portal for medical tourists to learn more about health services available to them in Dubai and the procedures for obtaining them. They can also make online bookings through the website and app, both available in 6 languages (including English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi and Russian) and offer a large selection of hospitals, clinics and packages for tourists to choose from.
Growing Local Demand
Dubai’s population is estimated to reach between 4.6 and 5.5 million, with 8% of UAE nationals being aged 60 or over, by 2030. Thanks to the introduction of mandatory health insurance in 2014, almost 100% of the city’s population benefits from health coverage, which drives increased demand for healthcare services in the city.
The DHA states that a supply gap exists in specific types of services, and there is opportunity for private sector investment within:
Centres of Excellence in Tertiary Care
Chronic Disease Management
Looking to start your business in Dubai’s healthcare industry now. Speak to one of our business experts today.