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Stripe Launches in UAE

April 6, 2021

The United Arab Emirates launch represents Stripe’s first expansion into the Middle East. Stripe is also opening a new UAE office, in Dubai Internet City, which will be the company’s first office in the region.

Businesses operating online in the UAE can use Stripe to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and expand globally to reach customers all around the world. Today’s announcement also means it will be easier for the millions of businesses already using Stripe to make their products and services available in the UAE.

To date, accepting online payments from the UAE has required onerous onboarding processes that take significant time and investment for businesses to complete, with most providers requiring physical in-person onboarding. Stripe’s fast and secure online setup will make it far simpler for UAE companies to access the internet economy.

“The UAE is a thriving hub for technology, supported by strong investor appetite, internet-savvy consumers, and an open, innovative ecosystem of business leaders and entrepreneurs. Similarly, the pool of tech talent in the Middle East is growing very rapidly. However, companies still face challenges when trying to accept payments, make payouts, and manage the financial side of internet businesses. Stripe removes these complexities so businesses can focus on what makes them special,” said Matt Henderson, EMEA Business Lead at Stripe. “Our launch today also means we can now connect our global user base to the Gulf, enabling them to seamlessly expand their operations in the region.”

A number of the UAE’s most innovative companies including Illusions Online, Aceplace, ChatFood, and WeKeep have been part of Stripe’s pre-launch beta testing and are already using Stripe to power payments in the region, along with global brands such as Glofox, which is now using Stripe in the UAE, as well as its other leading markets.

“As an international technology business operating out of the UAE, the ability to leverage Stripe’s global payments infrastructure means we can really accelerate our growth. With Stripe, we have launched our brand new fintech vertical, iOL Pay, a powerful payments platform-as-a-service for our global partners.” said Faisal Memon, Founder and CEO of Illusions Online. “Thanks to Stripe, we can quickly bring iOL Pay to over 40 countries, and support over 135 currencies while ensuring the highest levels of security and compliance. With Stripe, iOL Pay will revolutionise payments in the hospitality industry, automating cumbersome, manual processes whilst creating more revenue for our users.”

Conor O’Loughlin, CEO of Glofox, said: “We’re excited to work with Stripe in the UAE, as we do around the world, to make it far easier for our users to set up and run their businesses online. Stripe’s launch in the UAE can be a catalyst for global brands like ours to expand the products and services we’re able to offer to fitness businesses in the region.”

The total value of digital payment transactions in the UAE has more than doubled in the last two years, with $18.5 billion of transactions in 2020, as lockdown measures accelerated a surge in online commerce. The growth of UAE e-commerce is forecast to continue, with the sector expected to add nearly another $10bn over the next two years.

Commenting on Stripe’s launch in the UAE, Ammar Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City, said: “We are delighted to welcome Stripe to the region and believe it will play a key role in cementing Dubai’s position as a global tech and talent hub. Fintech is at the heart of digital transformation. It is an engine of growth accelerating digitalisation across many knowledge-based sectors. Stripe’s expansion to the UAE strengthens Dubai’s status as one of the world’s leading destinations for tech-enabled businesses. Its arrival also bodes well for the growth and acceleration of the digital economy and this move will allow Stripe to take advantage of the many opportunities this young region has to offer. As the leading technology district, we look forward to continuing to work with global brands to support the technology ecosystem as we have done over the last 20 years.”

Stripe’s market entry announced today - supported via a partnership with Network International - will provide UAE-based businesses with the infrastructure they need to better connect with users around the world and trade internationally. Similarly, Stripe’s presence in the region is an attractive calling card that will likely encourage global enterprise-level organisations to do business in the UAE, and broader Middle East.

“We are thrilled to welcome Stripe as a new anchor to the growing tech ecosystem here in the UAE. Having worked with the Stripe team for years as a Stripe Atlas partner, we are confident that their market-leading technology will be a game-changer for the thousands of UAE businesses seeking scale, and the global ventures with ambitions to expand their reach in the Middle East,” said Roland Daher, CEO of AstroLabs.

The UAE marks yet another step forward in Stripe’s global expansion, following from the company’s launches in 2020 in Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta and Stripe’s expansion into Africa via Nigeria technology startup Paystack. Globally, Stripe processes hundreds of billions of dollars each year for millions of businesses worldwide.

With over 10,000 companies having registered an interest in Stripe’s UAE launch, Stripe will initially queue invites to manage demand levels during the first weeks of availability in the UAE.

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