Doha

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In Brief

Qatar has been receptive to FinTech evolution by acknowledging the potential that digital technologies have in diversifying its economy, increasing security and raising competitiveness on a global scale.

Banks have been quick to embrace national FinTech initiatives – most notable the Smart Qatar Programme (TASU) – and have pushed resources to invest heavily in digitising their current processes from back-office services to front-end consumer interfaces.

Qatar already experiences a high level of internet coverage in the country, with 2.2m internet accounts registered as of June 2017 out of a total population of 2.5m, therefore there is great potential for new digital services to be developed. Currently, the QCB offers an online remittance service that allows expatriate workers within Qatar to send funds to accounts back home within 60 seconds.

FinTech within Qatar holds an abundance of opportunities to diversify Qatar’s economy away from oil and natural gas via one of the four pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030, an initiative launched in 2008 to identify the future of the country’s economy.

In May 2018, the QDB launched the Qatar FinTech hub as part of its National Vision 2030 to support the development and growth of FinTech in Qatar. Its purpose is to facilitate knowledge transfer and collaboration among stakeholders and partners within the FinTech ecosystem, to develop long lasting local and global partnerships that will reinforce and advance the Bank’s FinTech vision.

The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) received funding in 2018 from the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) to invest in developing FinTech applications. The efforts are made predominantly in blockchain, a technology at the centre of 80% of innovation in Fintech.

Doha Bank: 

One of the largest commercial banks in the State of Qatar. Banking app which includes biometric authentication, access to the FI’s Facebook account and connection to Qatar’s largest e-commerce portal, Doha Sooq.


QNB Group: 

QNB Group, the largest financial institution in the Middle East and Africa. Launched contactless cards on its credit, debit and prepaid products portfolio in July 2019.


QPay: 

Qatar’s largest FinTech company, QPay launched the first Islamic point of sale (POS) and online payment gateway solution.. POS solution provides secure and highly efficient payment-processing services and supports contactless card transactions, e-wallet, mobile POS (mPOS), QR (Quick Response) code scanners, and online billing and settlement.


Al Khaliji: 

Offers conventional banking products and services to premium, business, corporate and international customers in Qatar, UAE and France as well as internet banking.


Ahli Bank: 

Financial institution that serves individual consumers, small businesses and corporate customers, which includes internet and mobile banking.

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Market Summary

Economy

Qatar has vast oil and natural gas reserves that are estimated at current levels of consumption to last well into the 22nd Century. Harnessing these natural resources has given Qatar one of the highest per capita income figures of any country in the world, and led to 50% of its GDP coming from these sources. Despite this, Qatar is taking measures to increase the level of FDI in non-energy sectors by establishing Economic Free Zones with attractive tax breaks and other incentives for foreign investors.

Culture

Qatar has a strong Islamic tradition. As a result of this, business dress code is smart and conservative, especially for women. Hours of business are typically 7:30am to 12pm, then 3:30pm to 7pm, with the weekend taking place on Fridays and Saturdays. Qatari business culture places as much emphasis on personal relationships as business ones, and Qataris are likely to look at potential business partners through the lens of forming a friendship.

International Presence

Qatar is a member of the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and International Monetary Fund.

Fast facts

Population: 2.6 Million
Language: Arabic (official), English widespread in business
Capital: Doha
Currency: Qatari riyal (QAR)
Political System: Absolute monarchy
Legal System: Combination of Anglo-Saxon and Islamic Law

IA Partner

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is one of the world’s leading and fastest growing onshore business and financial centres. QFC endeavour to promote Qatar as an attractive business destination and lies in the cross-road between East and West. Click the logo to find out more

FinTech Hub

Qatar FinTech Hub is a globally interconnected cluster, which brings together a vibrant community of FinTech entrepreneurs, industry experts, regulators and investors. QFTH brings together talented entrepreneurs, investors and enablers to develop disruptive technologies so that great visions become reality. Click the logo to find out more.

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