Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) is supporting leading South Korean blockchain technology company, NEOPLY, as it establishes its global headquarters in Abu Dhabi, underscoring the UAE capital’s appeal as a magnet for innovation-driven companies. NEOPLY is joining ADIO’s Innovation Programme, which supports the growth of tech-focused industries in the UAE capital.
NEOPLY provides a decentralised finance (DeFi) platform and a variety of services based on blockchain technology. Its global headquarters in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) will be called H-Lab and benefit from the international financial centre’s advanced regulatory framework and thought leadership in the virtual assets space
Abu Dhabi has proved to be a popular destination for innovative South Korean companies in recent years. To support investors, ADIO opened an office in Seoul in 2021 and has worked with companies including Bespin Global, H2O and K-BTS Consortium to establish or expand their Abu Dhabi operations. The opening of H-Lab follows discussions between ADIO and Neowiz Holdings, the parent company of NEOPLY, about establishing its blockchain activities wholly from Abu Dhabi and benefiting from ADGM’s conducive ecosystem that enables effective blockchain and digital assets innovation.
Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Director-General of ADIO, said: "Abu Dhabi’s enabling environment, coupled with the availability of world-class infrastructure and skilled talent, has positioned the UAE capital as a leading destination for investment in the Middle East. NEOPLY joins a wave of other innovative South Korean companies choosing Abu Dhabi as the catalyst for their next growth phase. They are joining a thriving innovation ecosystem and bringing new ideas and solutions to life in the UAE capital."
Founded in 2018, NEOPLY is the blockchain arm of Neowiz Holdings, a prominent South Korean gaming venture. The company will create specialised jobs in blockchain technology and further add to the development of the sector in the UAE capital and beyond. H-Lab will also work with Abu Dhabi universities to develop programmes and scholarships related to blockchain, Web 3.0, and DeFi.
Jinho Park, Chief Operating Officer of NEOPLY, said: "With ADIO's support, we are establishing our global headquarter in the heart of Abu Dhabi, which fills us with great anticipation for our financial innovation in the Middle East. With the active support of ADIO, the collaboration with ADGM, and the infrastructure of Abu Dhabi, we are committed to setting new standards in the global blockchain industry."
NEOPLY’s H-Lab will work with ADGM to support its development of a sound and progressive regulatory framework for DeFi, with the aim of becoming one of the first regulated DeFi providers in the world. The Korean blockchain company is looking to participate in the ADGM’s Digital Lab and collaborate closely with ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) to build a framework for the DeFi industry that both mitigates risks to consumers and the financial industry and lets new business models develop that can improve consumers’ experiences and outcomes.
In 2018, ADGM became the first jurisdiction globally to introduce a comprehensive regulatory framework for the regulation of exchanges, custodians, brokers, and other intermediaries engaged in virtual asset activities. This framework is part of ADGM's ongoing commitment to bolster the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi and the UAE through innovation and sustainable initiatives and position itself as a destination of choice for virtual asset investors.
Working with ADIO, the private sector can access long-term, commercially sustainable opportunities to grow with Abu Dhabi. These include access to Abu Dhabi’s land bank, large-scale government infrastructure projects, and growth-enabling support. Alongside an office in Seoul, ADIO’s global network covers Beijing, Frankfurt, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Tel Aviv.
ADIO’s AED2 billion Innovation Programme supports businesses in innovation-focused sectors such as AgTech, financial services, health services and biopharma, the ICT, industry and tourism. Launched in 2020, the programme is a catalyst for the development and diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy through the increased participation of innovative private sector companies.