Dubai International Financial Centre Welcomes Global Payments Pioneer WorldFirst

  • The Centre’s comprehensive financial ecosystem continues to attract global leaders to the region and facilitate opportunities for sector pioneers to scale operations across the MEASA
  • WorldFirst represents parent company Ant Financial Services Group’s first major base within the region and new DIFC office will allow the brand to exploit the largely untapped e-commerce market

Dubai, UAE: 24 November 2019: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a global top 10 International Financial Centre and the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region has announced the launch of global currency exchange and payments company WorldFirst in the Centre.

UK headquartered WorldFirst was acquired by Ant Financial, the financial technology arm of Alibaba Group Holding Limited in February 2019. The expansion to Dubai with a representative office in the centre will enable WorldFirst to provide currency exchange services and cross-border payment solutions for e-commerce businesses and individuals to the MEASA region through its new DIFC base. The new office will also support international money transfers in multiple currencies from across the region, creating a best practice platform for international trade and currency exchange. The MEASA base of WorldFirst will be led by Adam Banks, Principal Representative.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Authority, said: “We are pleased to welcome WorldFirst, to the Dubai International Financial Centre. WorldFirst joins more than 2,300 active registered organisations and a FinTech community of more than 100 firms that have made the DIFC their location of choice in order to service the MEASA region. The launch of WorldFirst in the Centre will enable the organisation to tap into the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region’s burgeoning e-commerce market which is projected to be worth USD$ 97 billion by 2020 and continue their upward growth trajectory. The DIFC continues to attract leading transaction exchange organisations and financial technology pioneers from around the world, thanks to our connectivity to global markets, state-of-the-art infrastructure, collaborative eco-system and advanced regulatory and judicial system.”

Home to the largest, most developed financial ecosystem in the region, the DIFC has succeeded in attracting some of the world’s leading financial institutions since the Centre was established in 2004. The launch of global payment leader WorldFirst is in line with the DIFC’s roadmap to support the economic vision of Dubai by diversifying the financial services industry, identifying opportunities to accelerate growth within the financial technology arena and attracting pioneering global brands to the Centre.   

The DIFC FinTech ecosystem has demonstrated remarkable growth during the last 12 months, fostering a dynamic community of more than 100 innovative companies. The DIFC has achieved a three-fold growth in registered FinTech firms since the end of 2018, as leading international and regional sector specialists choose the DIFC as their preferred jurisdiction from which to scale their business across the MEASA region.

Jonathan Quin, CEO at WorldFirst commented: “We are delighted to commence operations within the DIFC with the launch of our seventh global office. To date, more than 250,000 global customers have chosen WorldFirst for their international transfers. We have transferred $70bn for customers since our launch and undertaken more than one million transfers per year. Now is an exciting time for the e-commerce industry and we believe the Middle East offers vast potential for growth as we continue our journey to become the world’s best foreign exchange platform for individuals and international businesses.”

With more than 250,000 global customers, WorldFirst works with leading international companies including e-commerce giants such as Amazon. Currently responsible for more than 80 per cent of Amazon transactions within the UK and a significant number of European e-commerce payments, the launch of Middle East operations will enable WorldFirst and parent company Ant Financial to provide seamless payment solutions from the DIFC. The new office will also support international money transfers in multiple currencies from across the region, creating a best practice platform for international trade and currency exchange.

About Dubai International Financial Centre

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and a nominal GDP of USD 7.7 trillion.

With a 15-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai.

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of more than 24,000 professionals working across over 2,300 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region.

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance. Today, it offers one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.

Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destinations.

For further information, please visit our website:, or follow us on Twitter @DIFC.


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