The number of companies active in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) rose by 6 per cent in the first half of 2012 as the emirate continued to bolster its position as the finance hub of the region.

Occupancy at the core DIFC properties, including the Gate Building and Gate Village, rose to 98 per cent, while occupancy at third-party office space managed by the DIFC was 86 per cent up from 72 per cent at the end of last year.

The DIFC said that it issued 90 new licenses in the first six months of the year, up from 64 in the same period last year. The number of employees working in the DIFC is now at around 13,000.

In August the centre split its operations into two separate arms, one managing the regulation and promotion of the DIFC as a finance hub, the other in charge of running its property portfolio.

The DIFC is a key part of Dubai’s attempts to diversify its economy and position the emirate as a global financial centre, bridging London and the East. In July the centre said that its contribution to the economy of Dubai grew by 7 per cent to $3.13bn.