The Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), the investment promotion agency of Dubai Economy, has extended further support to Himalaya Wellness to significantly expand its presence and business in Dubai. Himalaya, with over 90 years of herbal expertise, is a world-leading producer of over 300 herbal medicines, nutritional supplements, skin care, hair care, oral care, baby care, and animal health products.
In June 2021, Himalaya was one of the first companies to take advantage of the amended Commercial Companies Law and transform their existing business license to a 100% foreign-owned company. Soon after, in August 2021, Himalaya signed an agreement to build an AED 120 million herbal pharmaceutical plant to annually produce three billion tablets, 15 million syrup bottles, and three million units of ointment at Dubai Industrial City (DIC), one of the region’s largest manufacturing and logistics hubs. Commercial production at the new 760,000 square-foot facility is expected to start in the first quarter of 2024. The company is projected to employ 350 people, with 1,000 more indirectly connected as business partners and project associates.
Established in 1930, Himalaya has leveraged modern science and cutting edge research to develop safe, natural, and innovative products that help people lead healthier lives. Himalaya’s new Global Research Centre is set to be a key milestone for the company. The 92,000 square-foot facility at the Dubai Science Park builds on the company’s research centre that has been functional at the DSP Laboratory Complex since 2013. It will attract top global talent and create more than 100 jobs.
Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai FDI, said: “Himalaya’s investments span multiple strategic focus areas such as R&D, manufacturing, and retail. As Himalaya achieves strategic growth and enhances its presence and investments in the UAE, its expansion is testimony to our growth environment and keenness to collaborate with major investors in the sector. Dubai FDI has supported Himalaya since its first investment in 2013 and it is heartening to see the collaboration bear fruit as the company goes from strength to strength in Dubai.”
Al Gergawi added: “The federal Decree-Law No. 26 of 2020 amended the Commercial Companies Law to grant new and existing companies 100% foreign ownership in more than 1,000 commercial and industrial licenses. The UAE has been at the forefront in developing innovative measures to attract the most skilled talent and entrepreneurs to the region. Investors are attracted not only by Dubai’s strategic location, which enables growth for companies seeking to expand their global footprint, but also by the focus of its government on innovation and infrastructure designed to support the healthcare and wellness sector. The vision of of our leaders on creating a strong diversified knowledge economy, with a focus on happiness, has made Dubai and the UAE an ideal destination for wellness investors.”
Shailendra Malhotra, Global CEO, Himalaya Wellness, said: “As we continue to build on our global credentials as a scientifically proven, problem-solving, head-to-heel herbal brand, we are clear that Dubai is undoubtedly the ideal location for us. Not only does Dubai provide excellent infrastructure and ease of doing business, but it is also the city’s ‘can-do’ attitude that helps in smooth and timely execution of large projects. Attracting quality global talent to Dubai is also much easier and that is crucial for our efforts to build a world-class R&D facility that would set future trends in herbal research and development of innovative products. Himalaya’s mission of ‘Wellness in Every Home, Happiness in Every Heart’ resonates well with the development philosophy of Dubai. And we are grateful to Dubai FDI for the support they have provided us at every stage of our expansion journey in Dubai.”
The UAE, with its holistic focus on economic growth that prioritizes happiness, is also the biggest wellness tourism market in the Middle East and North America (MENA) region, valued at USD 3.75 billion in 2017. The overall healthcare sector is a priority for the UAE as well as for investors. The healthcare and social assistance sector was a major driver of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Dubai in 2020, ranked 4th with a 4% share of the total FDI capital in the year.
The wellness sector combines the goals of economic diversification while promoting a healthy lifestyle among the population. The benefits of a full-scale wellness R&D ecosystem have been visible in the UAE’s effective response to the pandemic in 2020-21. Along with this, government spending on large-scale mixed-use projects that combine residential, tourism/hospitality, commercial, and health/medical components – such as Dubai Healthcare City and Dubai Science Park – consolidate such efforts, which makes the UAE an attractive destination for wellness-focused companies.
At the same time, the UAE leadership has a visionary approach to encouraging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Strategic plans such as UAE Vision 2021, Centennial 2071, the Dubai Industrial Strategy, and the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, highlight its focus on a knowledge-based economy. This includes a focus on laws that regulate intellectual property protection and the registration of patents.