PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) UK is helping its
Middle East colleagues take on regional leaders Ernst & Young
in a bid to become the dominant firm in the region.

PwC UK partners are investing heavily in a
strategic alliance with its Middle East counterparts to increase
regional revenue beyond $500 million in two years.

The alliance allows UK partners to pour large
amounts of money into regional operations without having a legal
presence there. All PwC Middle East staff and partners are employed
by local firms.

PwC’s Middle East presence has grown rapidly
at about 50 percent per annum for the past three years despite the
global economic crisis.

PwC said the biggest potential is in advisory
services, which is mainly due to the investment plans of countries
such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. A PwC spokesperson said these
countries plan to spend $100 billions on infrastructure alone in
the next few years.

PwC has stepped up recruitment in the Middle
East in the past year, admitting 24 partners and hiring 400 staff
at firms in the region.

The total headcount for PwC in the Middle East
is about 2,500, including 170 partners.

The PwC spokesperson refused to comment on
media reports that many of the new PwC Middle East staff and
partners had been poached from rival Ernst & Young.