Abu Dhabi to lure startups with tech hub investment

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ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi will commit up to 1 billion dirhams ($272 million) to support technology startups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

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US tech giant Microsoft will be a strategic partner, providing technology and cloud services to the businesses that join the hub as the capital of the United Arab Emirates continues its push to reduce reliance on oil revenue.

Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.

The emirate launched a 50 billion dirham ($13.6 billion) stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic.

The new initiative, named Hub 71, will also involve the launch of a 500 million dirham fund to invest in startups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.

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