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UAE Escapes ‘FinTech Winter’ as Investments Jump 92%

UAE

Last year’s FinTech funding drought didn’t touch the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Investments in that sector fell by half all over the world as investors were scared off by steep interest rates and dismal macro conditions, CNBC reported Wednesday (Jan. 10), citing figures from Innovate Finance.

That data showed investments in FinTechs at $51.2 billion for 2023, down 48% from the prior year. The total number of funding deals dropped as well, plunging 61% from nearly 6,400 in 2022 to 3,933 last year.

But amid that pain, the UAE was a bright spot, as investments jumped 92% due in part to friendlier regulations and a greater adoption of tools like digital banking, the report said.

“Some of the markets now adopting this technology, we’re seeing that reflected in investment numbers,” Innovate Finance CEO Janine Hirt told CNBC.

PYMNTS has examined the UAE’s digital inclination in past research and reporting, devoting an edition of the 2023 Global Digital Shopping Index to the country.

Among its focus is the rise of mobile shopping in the UAE, with 28% of local consumers making their most recent retail purchase using their smartphones. Research by PYMNTS Intelligence and Cybersource found that both men and women engage in mobile shopping, with 33% of women and 27% of men completing their latest retail purchase entirely on their smartphones.

“Recognizing the significance of digital shopping features, Emirati merchants have made efforts to provide consumers with seamless shopping experiences,” PYMNTS wrote in November. “The country secured the highest average Global Digital Shopping Index (GDSI) score among eCommerce merchants surveyed, indicating a smooth shopping and payment journey.”

Meanwhile, recent commentary published here by Jim McCarthy, CEO of Thredd, examines the “FinTech winter” of 2023 and what companies can do to get past it.

“I’m particularly optimistic (and anyone who knows me appreciates that this is not my default position) for FinTechs that don’t get out in front of their skis this year,” he wrote in the latest PYMNTS eBook.

“I’m not using that winter analogy to be cute, but rather to drive home the point that the leaders of 2024 will be those that deliver, not those that overpromise. Quality organizations that are signing, implementing and retaining growth-oriented customers, rather than simply hoping for future success will create the foundations of long-term viability.”