Abu Dhabi : With plans to enter new markets such as Saudi Arabia, Lulu International Exchange has revealed plans to open at least 10 branches in the UAE , and over 40 globally during 2014. While investments could vary with expansion plans, Dh20 million has been set aside for the project. The exchange group is the money transaction arm of the Lulu Group of companies. "In 2014, we will be consolidating our existing operation by expanding our branch network for our customers' convenience. Apart from this, we are looking at making inroads to lucrative regions in Asia Pacific regions such as Hong Kong , Singapore, and Vietnam ," CEO of Lulu Exchange, Adeeb Ahmad said. Ahmad was speaking on the sidelines of the opening of a new branch at Abu Dhabi's Mushrif Mall on Thursday. Currently operating under the name, Lulu Forex Pvt Ltd , the group plans to open between 10 and 15 branches in India during 2014, and possibly enter the non-banking financial company sector there. The exchange has Africa , Australia / New Zealand , Seychelles, and Maldives on their radar too, Ahmad added. With 75 global branches so far, Lulu Exchange operates in the UAE , Oman , Kuwait , Qatar , Bahrain , India , and the Philippines . There is also a liaison office in Bangladesh . "Our primary objective in the Middle East is to consolidate our existing business and enhance our presence through more branches. However, we are also ambitiously pursuing the practicality of entering Saudi Arabia to capitalise on the forex business," Ahmad said. He said the remittances from the UAE constitute the bulk accounting for 42 per cent of total remittances. Ahmad expected the size to only grow in the years ahead, especially with Dubai's recent win as host of the Expo 2020. "With an estimate of over 300,000 jobs being created as a run-up to the Expo, we anticipate a good double digit growth year on year," he said. According to data released by the Central Bank , expatriates in the UAE transferred a net total of Dh45.1 billion in remittances last year. The number represents a 9.5 per cent growth from the 2011 figure of Dh41.2 billion. UAE remittances mostly flow to Asian countries such as India , Philippines , Bangladesh and Pakistan . Ahmad also commented on competition in the market saying, "In the remittance market everyone has a right to compete for bigger and better share of the pie. "Lulu has a loyal customer following in the retail sector. It is the same customer base we are trying to tap, and we have been successful in doing so with Lulu International Exchange as well," he said.
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