Sharjah bolsters its attractiveness for foreign direct investments, says official - GulfToday

Sharjah bolsters its attractiveness for foreign direct investments, says official


Dignitaries pose for a group photo ahead of the signing of a partnership agreement between both sides in Sharjah.

Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone) continues its remarkable growth trajectory, solidifying its reputation as one of the fastest-growing free zones in the Middle East with Tokai Optical Co., a prestigious Japanese company renowned for its expertise in prescription lens manufacturing, basing its operation in the free zone by virtue of a partnership agreement signed between both sides.

Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), Tokai Optical will lease a warehouse covering approximately 4,300 square feet within the Free Zone. This marks the first phase of Tokai Optical’s expansion in SAIF Zone, representing an investment of around Dhs 8 million.

The MoU signing ceremony took place at SAIF Zone’s headquarters where it was attended by key figures, including Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of SAIF Zone, and Kurt Leuridan, CEO of Tokai Optics and a shareholder of Tokai Optical in Japan. The event was also attended by senior officials and managers from both sides.

Established in 1939 and boasting a global workforce of over 1,100 employees, Tokai Optical has chosen SAIF Zone as its strategic launchpad for expansion into the Middle East and Africa.

Tokai Optical ranks among the top 5 lens manufacturers worldwide and is positioned among the top 3 companies for research and development in its sector. Distinguishing itself, the company produces all its products in-house and holds the world record for the thinnest lens, exemplified by the Tokai 1.76 lens.

The new partnership with Tokai Optical underscores the growing prominence of SAIF Zone as a preferred destination for international companies seeking to extend their reach into global markets. It also solidifies its status as a strategic hub for businesses aiming to swiftly penetrate the Middle East and African markets. Furthermore, this achievement highlights the free zone’s relentless efforts to attract foreign direct investment across various economic sectors.

Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of SAIF Zone, stressed that the successful attraction of a well-established company with an impressive 85-year history underscores the significant value that the free zone offers to international businesses. He highlighted the secure environment it provides for their investments while emphasizing that the Emirate of Sharjah, guided by the wise directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, is committed to enhancing its competitiveness and fostering foreign direct investment.

Al Mazrouei further underlined that the comprehensive suite of services offered by the free zone to international companies forms the bedrock of its competitive edge, drawing firms from diverse industries and sectors. The addition of “Tokai Optical” to the fold is expected to catalyze growth and development in both the industrial and medical sectors across the UAE and, more specifically, in Sharjah, fortifying the emirate’s standing as a prime destination for high-quality investments.

For his part, Kurt Leuridan, CEO of Tokai Optics, cited the conducive business environment that encourages investment in SAIF Zone as a key factor driving the company’s decision to establish a presence in the region. He noted that Tokai Optical’s overarching objective is to expand into global markets and reach diverse consumer segments, and SAIF Zone perfectly aligns with this vision.

Leuridan commended the competitive services and facilities extended by SAIF Zone to his company, lauding the productive collaboration and trust that the free zone has effectively cultivated with its clients, facilitating the pursuit of their goals and strategic plans.

Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, one of the oldest and most renowned free zones in the Middle East, is also the fastest-growing. It is recognized for delivering high-quality services in accordance with the UAE’s strategy, which has harnessed a wealth of capabilities to transform the nation into a global business hub.

Meanwhile, Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) announced a strategic partnership with Noqodi, a leading financial technology company and payments gateway owned by Emaratech Group. This collaboration aims to significantly improve the digital and electronic payment offerings available to SIB’s corporate and individual business customers.

The agreement was signed at SIB headquarters by Hakam Abu Zarour, Chief Operating Officer of SIB, and Zahi Kallab, General Manager of Noqodi, in the presence of senior representatives from both organizations. Through this partnership, SIB’s business clients will gain access to a broader range of digital payment solutions for seamless fee payments across various services and products.

“This contributes to the continuous support of our customers to facilitate their access to innovative digital solutions and simplify their day-to-day commercial operations. We also aim to provide our customers with a wide array of fast and convenient payment options, which allow them to manage and track their payments with efficiency and ease, in collaboration with companies and platforms with high expertise and efficiency in this field,” said Abu Zarour.

“We at Noqodi are committed to crafting seamless digital payment experiences through strategic collaborations with banks. Our partnership with Sharjah Islamic Bank represents a significant step towards enhancing financial services for businesses,” Zahi Kallab stated.



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