Yas Creative Hub is breaking new ground in the Middle East. As the first purpose-built facility of its type in the region, it is designed to support Abu Dhabi’s growing reputation as the premier destination for media, gaming and entertainment companies.
The facility on Yas Island covers some 270,000 square metres – the equivalent of more than 40 football fields – and is the flagship of the Emirate’s twofour54 media zone. It has been built to offer a new home for established companies and start-ups alike.
From flexible workspaces for firms of all sizes, to world-class production facilities, talent development initiatives and business support services, it is designed to provide everything any future-focused media, entertainment and gaming company might need.
“The region has been waiting for a purpose-built environment for this industry,” says Abdulaziz al-Dosari, director of support services for twofour54.
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The numbers tell their own story. More than 600 firms have moved to Yas Creative Hub, including more than 270 small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups. Together they employ more than 5,000 media professionals on the campus. Once all phases of the development are complete, that number will swell to a 16,000-strong workforce of talent from across the globe.
Among the companies soon to join the hub are household names such as French video games giant Ubisoft, Swedish mobile technology firm Ericsson and broadcasters CNN and Vice Media.
To help draw in more gaming and e-sports businesses from around the region, the US-based software house Unity Technologies is setting up a regional centre of excellence for gaming, where local start-ups and students can learn the skills needed to succeed in the industry.
Al-Dosari sees gaming and e-sports as a particularly exciting segment of the rapidly evolving media and entertainment landscape, pointing out that this part of the industry is growing faster in the Middle East and North Africa than in any other part of the world. Global gaming revenues are predicted to surpass $300bn by 2026.
The companies at Yas Creative Hub will also be tapping into the strong increase in demand for high-quality Arabic-language content, from games to TV shows, films and comics.
Although there are around 420 million Arabic speakers in the world, Arabic-language material accounts for just 3 per cent of all online content, so the potential is enormous.
The companies based at the hub will be able to make use of purpose-built studios equipped with cutting-edge technology that enables world-class broadcast quality.
Alongside these sector-leading facilities, the campus is also being designed to encourage networking and collaboration, with a Community Hub that will have dedicated open-plan spaces where people can interact. The idea is that such facilities will foster more creativity among companies and individuals.
The Yas Island campus is designed by award-winning local firm MZ Architects and will feature landscaped parks, cafes and restaurants, health and wellness facilities, an outdoor amphitheatre and open rooftop terraces. All of this is within walking distance of waterfront dining at Yas Bay, as well as nearby attractions Ferrari World, a Formula 1 race track, the world’s biggest indoor theme park Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, indoor adventure hub CLYMB Abu Dhabi, and the 18,000-capacity Etihad Arena.
For companies coming in from overseas, the UAE is proving itself to be an ever-more welcoming place. It is placed 16th in the World Bank’s most recent Ease of Doing Business rankings, higher than any other country in the region and above Germany and Canada. The capital of the UAE is also the cultural heart of the country and is home to more than 200 nationalities, which is no surprise given 80 per cent of the world is within an eight-hour flight.
The Abu Dhabi government has also been making it easier for media workers and companies to set up in the emirate. Twofour54 helps entrepreneurs and investors to apply for five-year visa or ten-year “golden visas”. With 0 per cent corporate and income tax, 100 per cent business ownership, and registration and licence fees waived for the first two years, Abu Dhabi is attracting companies from across the globe.
However, the business support on offer to companies in Yas Creative Hub goes beyond visa applications and best-in-class facilities. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown up numerous challenges for media companies and their employees and twofour54 is offering additional support.
The pandemic has also seen a surge in demand for digital services that is unlikely to slow down, and Yas Creative Hub is well positioned to make the most of that upward trend.
Click here for more information about how to set up in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Creative Hub as part of twofour54.
The benefits offered by twofour54 at Yas Creative Hub:
- A 270,000 sq m sustainable development with flexible workspaces for firms of all sizes
- Networking and collaboration opportunities with 600+ partners on campus, including more than 270 SMEs and start-ups, and 16,000+ professionals
- 6,500 sq m of world-class production facilities, including six purpose-built studios
- Landscaped campus with parks, cafes and restaurants, health and wellness facilities and an outdoor amphitheatre
- Comprehensive business support including talent development and subsidies
- Visas tailored for entrepreneurs, investors and freelance workers
- 0 per cent corporate and income tax
- 100 per cent foreign ownership.