Kamel Al-Tawil, the Managing Director, MENA, Equinix has announced that their new DX3 data center, to help Dubai continue its impressive digital growth.
Due to its central location, the Middle East has long been an important digital corridor for traffic passing between Europe and Asia. More recently, it’s emerged as an important digital traffic destination in its own right. In particular, the Dubai metro has all the hallmarks of a growing digital hub: a highly connected population, a government that prioritizes digital innovation and investments from some of the biggest names in the technology industry.
The Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2023, a market study published by Equinix, forecasts that interconnection bandwidth in Dubai will grow at a five-year CAGR of 50%, a clear sign that the metro’s rapid digital development will continue in the years to come. In fact, the GXI found that Dubai will be the fastest-growing digital metro in the EMEA region, and among the fastest-growing in the world.
It’s not hard to see where this demand comes from: global enterprises are excited about the digital opportunities the Middle East presents, and Dubai is the ideal place for them to start capitalizing on those opportunities.
Both the federal government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the emirate government of Dubai have made it a priority to diversify away from an oil-based economy, and they’re investing heavily in the latest digital technologies to help make that happen. Between 2022 and 2031, the UAE intends to double the percentage of its national GDP driven by the digital economy. This would mean creating a digital sector worth more than $100 billion annually.Kamel Al-Tawil, the Managing Director, MENA
With the government setting such ambitious goals—and backing up those goals with financial support—it’s no surprise to see digital growth in Dubai across a number of different use cases.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has one of the fastest-growing gaming markets in the world. Gaming revenue in the MENA-3 countries—the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt—is forecast to reach $2.79 billion by 2026, up 56% from 2022. Analysts expect that this growth will ultimately see the region become a leading global esports market, alongside places like Singapore and China.
Connected vehicles/smart transportation
Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been pioneers in deploying autonomous taxis, commonly known as robotaxis. Abu Dhabi’s successful robotaxi pilot in 2021 was the first of its kind in the Middle East. Dubai has announced its own robotaxi trials for 2023 and plans to have 4,000 autonomous vehicles on the roads by 2030.
The UAE launched its Strategy for Artificial Intelligence back in 2017, making AI a central component of its digital economy plans. More recently, the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG), in partnership with Microsoft and Digital Dubai, released a comprehensive study to identify the opportunities and challenges to AI adoption in Dubai, and what role it will play in the emirate’s digital future.
The Dubai Metaverse Strategy aims to attract more than 1,000 companies working in blockchain and the metaverse, ultimately creating more than 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030. The government is backing these goals with contributions to support research and development and education in areas such as AR/VR and digital twins.
Today, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of Equinix DX3, our third IBX data center in Dubai, with an investment of over $60 million to build the first phase. Once complete, it will be the largest Equinix data center in the Middle East, at 23,000 square feet, and the most interconnected. As local and international businesses continue to explore innovation opportunities in Dubai, DX3 will be there to give them the digital infrastructure they need to be successful.Kamel Al-Tawil, the Managing Director, MENA
The Dubai market is such an important one for Equinix that our CEO Charles Meyers travelled here last week to personally announce the new DX3 data center.
The decision to launch a new data center in Dubai was an easy one for us to make. Due to high demand from existing Equinix customers such as Arab Financial Services (AFS), we had quite simply run out of capacity in our DX1 and DX2 data centers in Dubai. We knew we needed to grow our presence to keep up with the digital growth happening in Dubai and throughout the Middle East. DX3 will ultimately be our sixth Equinix IBX data center in the Middle East, joining existing facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat, as well as the previously announced Equinix SN1 data center in Salalah.