Dubai; The world's fastest city

Dubai; The world's fastest city

Dubai is a city of the future, a crossroads of East and West where fast-growing businesses can overcome geographical barriers. The city is the preferred location for global investors and entrepreneurs, shaping the future as an international business hub and a gateway to growth markets. Dubai is a hyper-connected, pro-business hub focusing on innovation and foresight that empowers both large and small businesses.

The city has developed an unrivaled global logistics, aviation, and supply chain network, as well as an agile regulatory environment that makes it easy to do business, providing companies from all over the world with a springboard for pursuing international growth.


Dubai's strategic location and ease of doing business make it an attractive place for decision-makers to base their businesses. Still, the city's well-established and dynamic infrastructure underpins its economic strength.

This includes 'hard infrastructure like roads, railways, utilities, logistics facilities, and industrial and manufacturing facilities, as well as soft infrastructure' like law enforcement and civil services, a strong financial system, education, health care, and cultural and recreational opportunities.

Whether your company requires air, sea, or land access for logistics and trade, a strong regulatory framework to ensure a stable business environment, or a large talent pool and public transportation system, Dubai has it all.

Dubai Geography

The Dubai Creek, which divides the city into Deira and Bur Dubai, is one of the city's most fascinating geographical features. The city's trade developed around Dubai Creek, a natural 15.2km (9.5miles) inlet from the Persian Gulf. Deira refers to the area north of the Creek, while Bur Dubai refers to the area south of the Creek, which contains many residential and commercial developments.

Dubai is bounded to the south by Abu Dhabi, northeast by Sharjah, and southeast by the Sultanate of Oman. Because of its unique geographical location, the city enjoys a strategic position that allows it to connect to all Gulf States, East Africa, and South Asia.

Dubai strategic regional location

Dubai is a global business hub and gateway to growing markets. It has become the preeminent international location for fast-growing businesses that transcend geographical barriers due to the Dubai Government's concerted efforts. Dubai has capitalized on its geographical location advantage, giving companies based here easy access to two-thirds of the world's most attractive growth markets, thanks to future-ready infrastructure and a growth-focused mindset. Dubai is strategically located at a geographic crossroads, connecting East and West, North and South. It is a natural link between producers, manufacturers, and consumers of some of the world's most consumed commodities.

Regionally, Dubai has a well-earned reputation for stability, dependability, and a low-risk environment, making it the ideal gateway to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The city consistently ranks at the top of the region in terms of government effectiveness, political stability, regulatory quality, and the rule of law. It provides a solid strategic regional location for any company seeking to expand into international markets.

How Does Dubai Have a Geographical Advantage for Business?

Aside from its cutting-edge infrastructure, Dubai has a geographical advantage over other countries in the region regarding business, and It's no surprise that there has been an influx of expatriates in the last decade - business hopefuls looking to expand their trade by leaps and bounds.

The city's beauty and tolerance make it a popular choice for expatriates, and its growing economy and job opportunities make it an attractive place to live, with a population increase from 2,504,000 in 2016 to 2,833,079 in 2019.

This population growth has boosted Dubai real estate to the point where "Dubai is offering high ROI rental yields, more than double what is provided by the world's major established cities. "Dubai's tourism industry is booming, so the real estate market is becoming an appealing proposition to many international investors.

Furthermore, Dubai provides freehold ownership, a residence visa, and tax-free properties, making it easier to set up a shop. Not only that, but it provides a safe and welcoming environment for expatriates of all nationalities and genders.

Notable is the continued increase in the representation of female business people, who account for 35% of the 696 investors granted business licenses. That is remarkable progress in such a short period, and there is no doubt that Dubai will soon be the leading cosmopolitan business district in the world. Dubai aspires to be the world's happiest and most innovative city.

Economy of the United Arab Emirates

The UAE's Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The United Arab Emirates (or UAE) economy is the fifth largest in the Middle East (after Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt), with a GDP of US$501 billion (AED 1.84 trillion) in 2022. Dr. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, announced that the UAE's non-oil trade totaled Dhs16.14 trillion over ten years (4,4 trillion US dollars). Per capita GDP will rise from $43,868 to $46,665 this year and $48,822 in 2023, up from $43,868 last year.

The UAE economy relies heavily on petroleum and natural gas revenues, particularly in Abu Dhabi. In 2009, oil exports accounted for more than 85 percent of the UAE's economy. Oil exports accounted for 77 percent of the UAE's state budget in 2011. There has been some economic diversification in recent years, particularly in Dubai; diversification has remained relatively conservative in Abu Dhabi and other UAE emirates. Dubai has far fewer oil reserves than its neighbors.

Tourism is one of the UAE's most important non-oil revenue generators. The UAE's economy is diversifying thanks to a massive construction boom, an expanding manufacturing base, and a thriving services sector. There are currently $350 billion in active construction projects across the country. The United Arab Emirates is a member of the World Trade Organization and OPEC.

Economy of Dubai

Dubai's economy has a gross domestic product of US$ 46,665 billion as of 2022.

Contrary to popular belief, Dubai's economy is not based on oil. Between the 1960s and the 1990s, the little oil wealth it did have was used to improve other sectors of its economy by building physical infrastructure. Dubai's economy is still based on trade, with the city operating two of the world's largest ports and a busy international air cargo hub. In the 1980s, the Jebel Ali free-trade zone was established to attract industrial investment; activities based there include aluminum smelting, car manufacturing, and cement production.

What is the primary income of Dubai?

After Abu Dhabi, the UAE's financial capital state, Dubai is the second wealthiest Emirate; Dubai is a significant trade and tourist destination, with Jebel Ali serving as the Middle East's main port. With the establishment of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in 2004, Dubai established itself as a global hub for service industries such as information technology and finance.

Most of Dubai's GDP (more than 95 percent) is non-oil-based. So far, oil has contributed less than 1% of Dubai's GDP, while tourism has contributed 20%. These figures explain why Dubai has become a more dynamic and diverse economy to survive the decline of fossil fuels.

Large Regional HQs

Dubai is a futuristic city that has drawn all types of businesses to trade through it for decades. Dubai has become an increasingly attractive location for large multinational corporations to base their regional headquarters as the city's infrastructure and business-friendly ecosystem have developed.

Dubai has earned a well-deserved reputation as a prestigious choice for large multinationals by combining a solid regulatory framework and stable risk environment with an innovation mindset and a large pool of talent, not to mention a slew of premium office locations. As more corporations choose Dubai as a regional base, the cluster effects of having the most prominent players in an industry all in one city have boosted Dubai's standing as a regional powerhouse.

196 Fortune 500 largest companies have a dedicated office in the Middle East and Africa to service the region. According to research firm Infomineo, 138 companies (70 percent) chose Dubai as their MEA headquarters. It's easy to see why, with its ports and airports serving as some of the most active gateways into the region for business, commerce, and tourism. Every business leader understands the importance of being close to decision-makers. Dubai is an advantageous location. A city built on a bold vision for the future is an ideal location for large corporations looking to expand their regional presence.

The start-up capital of the region

Dubai is a global hub for entrepreneurs and startups designed for the next generation of business. As a fast-paced, business-friendly city committed to cultivating an innovation culture, the government nurtures this ecosystem through policies that provide appealing opportunities for innovators, startups, and SMEs.

The city provides entrepreneurs and startups with the tools they need to set up easily and quickly scale their businesses, thanks to its world-class physical and digital infrastructure, pro-business regulatory environment, and global logistics power.

An entrepreneurial environment brings together policymakers, businesses, academia, business, and finance to form a region-leading innovation hub. A strong network of incubators and accelerators makes the city fertile ground for startups to flourish. Dubai hosts a wide range of community events centered on startups and innovation. The city's extensive conferencing and events infrastructure brings together investors and other companies from across the region, creating a vibrant community for networking and collaboration.

As a result, the environment is uniquely suited to developing innovative, forward-thinking businesses. A city built on a bold vision of the future is an ideal location for startups seeking to change the world.

Costs and value

Dubai is a low-cost business location. It makes running a business as cost-effective as possible with no corporate tax, personal income tax, and duties on imports, exports, and reexports. The location of your business is a significant decision that will likely influence your company's growth trajectory. Dubai's popularity with companies from all over the world is a testament to its success as a good value location.

Dubai is a high-end destination with elegant buildings and luxurious resorts, but that does not make it an expensive place to do business. There are numerous cost-effective and flexible packages available to businesses of all sizes. When it comes to low-cost ways to establish a company in Dubai, a Free Zone license is a good choice when administrative fees and office options are considered, especially compared to those associated with establishing a Mainland business.

What is a free zone?

In the United Arab Emirates, free-trade zones have their own tax, customs, and import regimes and are governed by their regulations (except UAE criminal law).

Free zones are geographically defined areas within the UAE (though most are not fenced or gated) that allow 100 percent foreign ownership and are usually dedicated to a specific industry. They were created to support strategic transformation in critical sectors (such as finance), and many are built with public funds and cutting-edge feature facilities.

For example, the Dubai Media City, a free zone in the Emirate of Dubai, has infrastructure and licenses tailored to the media industry's requirements. Similarly, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) attracts financial services firms, insurance, financial services, and investment firms, as well as banks looking to expand their international client base.

As a result, each free zone has its requirements for minimum capital, office or warehouse space, and permitted activities, with each possessing the necessary licenses and legislation to allow its dedicated industry to thrive.

Benefits of Free Zones

With over 50 free zones across the UAE and many more in the works, free zones have helped make the UAE an appealing option for foreign businesses looking to relocate or expand their global footprint. The following are some of the most common advantages of conducting business in a UAE free zone:

  • Access to world-class logistic facilities
  • Access to a large pool of multicultural, skilled professionals
  • Benefits from economies of concentration (due to the zones dedicated to industries)
  • Ease of recruiting international employees, with all free zones providing one-stop-shop services for work visas
  • Tax holidays - usually guaranteed for 15 or 50 years
  • 100 percent import and export tax exemption
  • 100 percent repatriation of capital and profits
  • Corporate tax exemptions for up to 50 years

Advantages of setting up business in Dubai Free Zone

There are several reasons why many aspiring business owners choose Dubai and its free zones. The following advantages are most likely the primary reason:

  • Investors have complete control over the matter of possession.
  • Companies operating within Free Zones are exempt from duty-free shopping.
  • Profits and capital are repatriated in full.
  • Tariffs, taxes, and duties do not apply to imports and exports. The warehouse is free to use.
  • Any foreign investor can run a company in a free zone independently.
  • Corporations are also exempt from corporate tax for 15 years.
  • Throughout the operation, confidentiality is maintained.
  • Various activities, including property ownership, are available to investors. Investors can easily open bank accounts for themselves.
  • Company employees, support staff, and housing facilities can obtain visas quickly.

List of Free zones in UAE

The UAE has 45 free zones in operation.

Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi)

  • Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ): As part of the Abu Dhabi Government's Vision 2030 for the Emirate to become a dynamic economy, Abu Dhabi Airports Free Zone was established to own, operate, develop, and manage business/logistics parks and business centers known as Free Zones around airports. These Free Zones offer comprehensive warehousing and fully serviced office solutions to a wide range of business sectors and several other significant and one-of-a-kind benefits.
  • Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM): In October 2015, Abu Dhabi Global Market became fully operational, welcoming local and international businesses and institutions. It is situated in the heart of Abu Dhabi and links the east and west corridors.
  • ADPC - Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ): In response to the growing global demand for free zones, Abu Dhabi Ports has introduced the Khalifa Port Free Trade Zone (KPFTZ) within the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), which is set to become the future of trade in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Khalifa Port FTZ, which opened in November 2016, is a strategic endeavor to provide a competitive, cost-effective environment and a meticulously designed industrial cluster approach that groups companies and provides economies of proximity, making doing business more accessible than ever. The free zone, which is fully integrated with Khalifa Port, offers significant tax exemptions from VAT and certain import and export taxes.
  • Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD): The Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD) is located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi and spans 40 square kilometers, with multiple clusters and vantage points.
  • Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones / ZonesCorp: ZonesCorp is the UAE's largest operator of purpose-built industrial zones, offering investors a world-class platform that promotes growth. We are the ideal location for companies seeking to establish a strong presence in the MENA region and service markets in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
  • Masdar City Free Zone: Masdar City is an envisioned city in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, is building its core, with the government of Abu Dhabi providing most of the seed capital.
  • twofour54: Two Four 54 is an Abu Dhabi-based media and entertainment production company that operates several production facilities and houses media companies and freelancers. It is also a no-media zone. Many major Hollywood productions have used twofour54's facilities for production work. In addition, their facilities house the first CNN Academy.


  • International Free Zone Administration (IFZA): The IFZA, located in the heart of Dubai city and is world-class, is quickly poised to become a vital investment hub within the United Arab Emirates' developing economy. It offers a highly personalized approach with practical international service standards and cost-effective solutions. It's all about IFZA's journey to customer and business success.
  • Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ): The Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZ) is a free economic zone in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that offers services such as company formation and business setup.
  • Dubai Auto Zone (DAZ): Dubai Auto Zone (DAZ) is envisioned as a comprehensive auto industry marketplace catering to buyers, sellers, service providers, automobile companies, and their authorized representatives. DAZ offers an integrated platform for all automotive industry segments to serve growing needs in the region's dynamic markets.
  • Dubai Biotechnology & Research Park (DuBiotech): DuBiotech is a science and business park in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), that supports the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Dubai Car and Automotive City Free Zone (DUCAMZ): Dubai Cars and Automotive City were founded in April 2000 to reexport used vehicles to Asian and African markets. It is located in Ras Al Khor and has easy access to regional airports and seaports, including Dubai International Airport and the Jebel Ali Port, as well as modern highways that connect Middle Eastern countries. The total area of this free zone is 8 million square feet, making it the largest of its kind.
  • Dubai Design District: d3 is a purpose-built community in Dubai dedicated to the design, fashion, and culture community, including startups, entrepreneurs, and well-established international design, luxury, and fashion brands. It was founded in 2013, and it is also known as d3. It is a TECOM Group Freezone business park divided into three phases; the first was completed in 2016 with 11 office buildings.
  • Dubai Flower Center: The Dubai Flower Center was created to handle flower imports and exports because Dubai is a central hub for the import and export of flowers. The airport needed a specialized facility because these products require special conditions. The first phase of the flower center was completed in 2004 at the cost of $50 million.
  • Dubai Gold and Diamond Park: The Dubai Gold and Diamond Park are located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was founded in May 2001. It is situated on Sheikh Zayed Road, 23.5 kilometers from Dubai International Airport, and has a total of 511,343 square feet (Phase 1). They manage a large building that sells jewelry made with some of the world's finest jewelry, gemstones, diamonds, precious stones, and metals such as gold, silver, and platinum, attracting residents and tourists looking for high-end personal accessories.
  • Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC): Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) is a healthcare-free economic zone in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, established DHCC in 2002. The government mandated DHCC to meet the demand for high-quality, patient-centered healthcare, with the primary goal of attracting tourists to Dubai for medical services and treatments.
  • Dubai Industrial City (DIC): The Industrial City comprises food and beverage zones, base-metal and transportation zones, warehouses, and a large conservation area. Logistics, educational, and mixed-use developments supplement these areas. Along Emirates Road, it is close to Al Maktoum Airport and Jebel Ali International Airport. When completed in 2015, the city is expected to house around 500,000 people.
  • Dubai International Academic City: Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), also known as Academic City, is a university town located along the Dubai-Al Ain Road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In collaboration with Dubai Knowledge Park, the project was launched in May 2006. The Dubai Development Authority is the DIAC's regulatory authority.
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC): Established in 2004 as a financial hub for companies operating in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) markets, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a special economic zone in Dubai covering 110 ha (272 acres). DIFC operates in English and adheres to the common law framework. The free zone houses financial institutions, wealth funds, and free zone-specific retail and hotel space.
  • Dubai Internet City (DIC): The Government of Dubai established Dubai Internet City (DIC) as a free economic zone and strategic base for companies targeting regional emerging markets in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP): Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP), formerly known as Dubai Knowledge Village, was founded in 2003. This free zone, part of the renowned TECOM Group, aims to develop the UAE's talent pool and promote the region as a knowledge-based economy.
  • Dubai Logistics City: The logistics industry is now a developed part of the Dubai Free Zones. The Dubai Logistics City Free Zone is regarded as the world's first logistics platform, bringing various value-added services and logistics together. They are also experts in the production and maintenance of lights, among other things. Dubai Logistics City Free Zone is part of Dubai World Central, near Jebel Ali Port.
  • Dubai Media City: Dubai Media City (DMC), a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, is a tax-free zone in Dubai, UAE.
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC): The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is the UAE's largest free-trade zone in Dubai's Jumeirah Lake Towers district. It was founded in 2002 as a commodities exchange that deals in four major sectors: precious commodities (such as gold and diamonds), energy, steel and metals, and agricultural commodities (e.g., tea and cotton). As part of a significant restructuring, the Investment Corporation of Dubai, a sovereign wealth fund, became the parent company of the autonomous DMCC in August 2020.
  • Dubai Outsource Zone: The Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ) was established to provide all the facilities that outsourcing companies require. Since its inception in 2007, the Dubai Outsource Zone has assisted businesses with business process outsourcing, human resource and information technology outsourcing, and back office and call center operations.
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO): The Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) is a 7.2-square-kilometer free-trade zone established by the Dubai government in 2003.
  • Dubai Science Park: Established in 2005, Dubai Science Park (DSP) is home to over 350 companies ranging from multinational corporations to SMEs, employing over 3,600 people.
  • Dubai TechnoPark: Dubai TechnoPark is a planned information technology park in Dubai. The goal of Dubai Technopark is to promote the commercialization of technology. The development will take up 21,000,000 square meters (230,000,000 sq ft) of land, with approximately 30% of that area dedicated to open space. Dubai Techno Park is a business park in the heart of Dubai's industrial zone.
  • Dubai Textile Village: A free zone in Dubai, Dubai Textile Village. Almost everything is tax-free in free zones. The village is being built on 460,000 square meters of land in the Ras al-Khor area. The textile industry in the United Arab Emirates is rapidly expanding, and it is on track to become the country's second-largest trading sector after the oil industry. Textile demand has resulted in the development of Dhs. 220 million. When completed, the Dubai Textile Village will house 295 showrooms and stores ranging in size from 230 to 460 to 920 m2. The Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority will manage the zone. The project is a collaboration between the Dubai Port and Customs Authority and TEXMAS.
  • Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone: The Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (DTMFZ) was created by Tecom Investments and consists of nine separate business parks.
  • International Media Production Zone: Dubai Production City (DPC), formerly known as International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), is a free zone and freehold area in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, that caters to media production companies. The DPC covers 43,000,000 square feet (4,000,000 m2) and is located on Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, near Dubai Sports City, Jumeirah Golf Estates, and Jumeirah Village. The government of Dubai intends to develop this area into the next generation of Dubai Media City.
  • International Humanitarian City (IHC): International Humanitarian City (IHC) is a global humanitarian emergency preparedness and response hub based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which bills itself as the world's largest aid hub. It was founded in 2003 by Dubai's Ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and serves as a central logistics hub for the international distribution of humanitarian aid and relief, with over 130,000 square meters of warehousing and logistical support facilities.
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone: The Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) is a free economic zone in the Jebel Ali area of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, near Abu Dhabi. Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) is DP World's flagship free zone and an essential component of DP World UAE's integrated business hub. Jafza began operations in 1985 under a Ruler's Decree, with only 19 companies offering standard-size office units and warehouses to provide ready-built facilities to customers. Jafza expanded its facilities to include light industrial units in 1990.
  • Jumeirah Lakes Towers Free Zone: The free zone authority for the JLT Free Zone is the Jumeirah Lakes Towers Free Zone (JLT Free Zone). It was founded in 2002 as a strategic initiative of the Dubai government to provide the physical, market, and financial infrastructure required to establish a commodities market in Dubai. It had over 6,600 registered members as of 30 May 2013, including commodities and other businesses.
  • Dubai South or DWC: Dubai World Central is a city under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2006, to serve as an economic zone to support a variety of activities such as logistics, aviation, commercial, exhibition, humanitarian, residential, and other related businesses centered on Al Maktoum International Airport, which has a planned annual capacity of 12 million tonnes of cargo and 160 million passengers. The area under construction is twice the size of Hong Kong Island.
  • Dubai Production City: Dubai Production City is a world-class business hub that enables the global and local publishing, printing, and packaging industries to thrive.


    • Hamriyah Free Zone: The Hamriyah Free Zone is a free zone in the United Arab Emirates city of Sharjah. The Free Zone, established by an Emiri decree in November 1995, is 24 square kilometers in size and has a 14-meter-deep port and a 7-meter-deep inner harbor. Sharjah is the only Emirate with ports on the west and east coasts of the Arabian Gulf with direct access to the Indian Ocean. Sharjah is the UAE's third largest Emirate.
    • Sharjah Airport International Free Zone: Sharjah Airport International Free Zone offers some of the most appealing business incentives in the region, such as speed of service and ease of the process. Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, a magnet for business ventures in the UAE and beyond, offers a diverse range of opportunities to startups and business entities looking to establish a presence in Dubai.
    • USARTC Free Zone: The USARTC provides Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) with the opportunity to grow commercially and expand their trade in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It assists SMEs in exploring and entering the market and establishing a presence in the UAE and other areas.
    • Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone: SPC FREE ZONE is one of the most recent Free Zones in the UAE, with its headquarters in Al Zahia, Sharjah, on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road (E 311). Though the Free Zone Authority's primary licensing activities are publishing and printing, it also issues licenses for a wide range of other activities, such as general trading, consulting, e-commerce, and IT-related businesses.
    • Sharjah Media City Free Zone (Shams): Sharjah Media City (Shams) was established in February 2017 to catalyze the growth and success of creative and media businesses. Shams covers a wide range of business activities available for those wishing to embark on their entrepreneurial journey in the UAE to become a world-class media hub for innovative facilities and services.
    • Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPC Free Zone): It offers entrepreneurs a convenient way to start a business in the UAE. The free zone provides over 1,500 business license activities, such as publishing, printing, general trading, E-commerce, information technology businesses, and consultancies, with the ability to combine activities from different sectors. One of the free zone's distinguishing characteristics is that it is authorized to issue dual licenses (Mainland and Free Zone). It provides modern office spaces, cutting-edge warehouses, storage facilities, co-working spaces, and cafes.


    • Ajman Free Zone (AFZA): Ajman Free Zone (AFZA) is a free trade zone in Ajman, UAE (UAE). It was founded in 1988 and is one of several unbonded free zones in the UAE that provide investors with the opportunity to set up and operate offshore companies. As of the first quarter of 2018, AFZA was home to 12,362 businesses.
    • Free Zone of Ajman Media City: Ajman Media City Free Zone, which operates independently of AFZA, was established in 2018, three years after the Emiri Decree to select the zone was issued. The site provides a variety of small business licensing services to media-related companies.

    Al Khaimah

    • Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ): RAKEZ is an Emirati free zone located in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. According to Entrepreneur, the free zone has 14,000 companies in 50 industries as of January 2020. It was established in 2017 and is one of 37 free zones in the United Arab Emirates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, RAKEZ began to digitize and was projected to grow by 20% by 2020. In collaboration with real estate developers Al Hamra, the Free Zone also launched a scheme to provide a 12-year visa to investors purchasing an apartment in the zone. RAKEZ allows for 100 percent foreign ownership.
    • RAK Maritime City Free Zone Authority (RMCFZA): By Emiri Decree in December 2009, RAK Maritime City (RMC) was established as a free zone. It provides international port facilities and business services to companies seeking an efficient and secure operating environment. RAK Maritime City offers a variety of facilities for businesses from various industries, with different zones for retail, warehousing, cargo handling, industrial production and manufacturing, tank storage, and shipbuilding or repairs. The free zone aims to attract businesses by offering a one-stop shop with the benefits of a free zone environment, cutting-edge 21st-century harbor infrastructure, and a developed and established port.
    • Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority: The Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) was established by Emiri Decree No. (2)/2005 issued by the late Sheikh Saqr Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi to strengthen the investment climate of this United Arab Emirates (UAE) member and promote various economic sectors. Its foundation was linked to a World Bank study and investment promotion event in May 2005 ("Invest and Live in Ras Al Khaimah") initiated and pursued by Swiss-Lebanese engineer Khater Massaad, a longtime adviser to Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al-Qasimi, the creator of RAK Ceramics and the longtime CEO of RAKIA.
    • Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ): The Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) is a special economic zone in Ras Al Khaimah. RAK FTZ is approximately one hour drive from Dubai. It has received investments from over 12,000 companies from over 100 countries, representing over 50 industry sectors.
    • Ras Al Khaimah Media Free Zone: Founded in 2006, the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Media Free Zone and Film City is an option for foreign investors looking to operate in Dubai at a lower cost. The free zone's main governing body is the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority (RAKFTZ). The RAKFTZ Authority not only issues licenses to companies operating within the free zone but also leases land or office space to entrepreneurs establishing businesses in the Dubai free zone.


    • Fujairah Free Zone: The Fujairah Free Zone (FFZ) is a special economic zone in Fujairah, one of the United Arab Emirates' seven emirates. Fujairah Free Zone is located north of Fujairah City, the Emirate's capital. The Fujairah Free Zone Authority manages it (FFZA)
    • Fujairah Creative City: Creative City (also known as Fujairah Creative City - FCC) is a government-owned media-free zone in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

    Umm Al Quwain

    • UAQFTZ (Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone): Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone (UAQ FTZ) is located in Umm Al Quwain, an emirate with a friendly, progressive, and prosperous infrastructure. It is a popular leisure destination in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is only 45 kilometers from Dubai. It is known for its desert landscape and unique flora and fauna. Umm Al Quwain's stable economy, open investment climate, and low living and labor costs make it a strategic business base with easy access to the MENA region, Subcontinent, Far East, and European markets.

    List of Free zones under construction in UAE

    Free zones under construction

    • Dubai Maritime City (DMC: DMC is a multipurpose maritime zone. It is a subsidiary of the Dubai World corporation. The Maritime City was supposed to be fully operational by 2012, but that date was pushed back, and the first phase of the project is now scheduled to be completed by 2021.
    • Dubai Carpet Free Zone: The Dubai Carpet Free Zone economic zone is a specialized trading platform designed to bring together the interests of carpet product dealers and end users. It is a novel approach to retail and wholesale trade organizations in this economic sector. The Free Zone is located in the prestigious Deira urban district and has direct access to the Emirate's main transportation arteries and modern urban infrastructure.
    • Dubai Auto Parts City: This free zone promotes the re-exportation of automotive and auto parts from Dubai.
    • Heavy Equipment and Trucks Zone: One of Dubai's new Free Zones is the Heavy Equipment Truck Zone (HETZ). The HETZ economic zone is intended to increase the volume of heavy equipment and truck reexport. The necessary infrastructure is created here, including transportation, shipping, and heavy equipment trade organization. Administrative offices, a comprehensive set of public services for registration and licensing, customs clearance and retail spaces, banking services, and much more are available to meet international business needs.
    • Mohammad Bin Rashid Technology Park: The project entails the construction of Dubai Techno Park, formerly known as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Techno Park (MRTP). The park will provide tax-free status to technology research and manufacturing firms worldwide, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with companies from other industries. The park will initially focus on three significant areas: desalination, oil and gas, and environmental resources and management.
    • International Arbitration Center in Dubai: The Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) is an autonomous, permanent, non-profit institution that provides high-quality arbitration services and facilities to regional and international business communities at a reasonable cost.

Dubai's commercial sectors


Dubai is one of the most connected cities in the world, with a globally influential aviation industry at its core. For several decades, the Dubai government has recognized the importance of aviation to the country's overall future development. It has invested in building international airports, establishing leading global aviation companies, and investing heavily in infrastructure.

The aviation sector accounts for more than a quarter of Dubai's GDP. It contributes to the city's economic growth, social development, and continued emergence as a leading global city. In 2019, Dubai International Airport maintained its position as the world's busiest hub for international passengers for the sixth consecutive year. Together with Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, it supported over 88 million passengers and 3.42 million tons of air cargo. On over 8,000 weekly flights, 140 airlines fly direct from Dubai to 260 destinations.

The city has advanced transportation and telecommunication networks, and its strategic location makes it a viable East-West link. Dubai is an international hub for tourism, business, transit, and reexporting, and its extensive aviation network allows business and leisure travelers easy access.


Dubai is a global trade, transportation, and finance hub that provides foreign businesses access to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is a natural link between producers, manufacturers, and consumers, supported by an extensive aviation and logistics network. Dubai has long been an international hub for the physical trade of gold and other commodities. The city's pro-business regulatory environment, combined with world-class infrastructure and technology, has made it one of the world's top commodity trading hubs.

According to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre's (DMCC) recent Future of Trade 2020 report, the UAE ranks among the top three global commodity trading hubs. The Commodity Trade Index (CTI) ranks vital international trading hubs using ten indicators from three categories: commodity endowments, institutional factors, and locational and trading partners. Due to its oil exports and natural resource rents as a share of GDP, the UAE ranked second in the 2020 Index, trailing only the United States, receiving the highest score for commodity endowment factors (74 percent), well ahead of the other global trading hubs. The country ranked fifth in terms of institutional factors (70 percent) and sixth in terms of location and trading partners.

The UAE's top commodity exports are crude petroleum, refined petroleum, gold, diamonds, petroleum gas, jewelry, broadcasting equipment, cars, raw aluminum, and rolled tobacco. Gold is the UAE's leading non-oil export product and the world's sixth largest gold exporter. The country ranks fifth in terms of diamond exports, second in terms of aluminum and copper wire exports, and first in terms of rolled tobacco exports. Gold, refined petroleum, diamonds, crude petroleum, refined copper, broadcasting equipment, jewelry, automobiles, gas turbines, and computers are among the top commodity imports.

Dubai's construction sector is an essential economic driver, and the city's pioneering vision for sustainability and innovation is helping shape the future of cities worldwide. Dubai's iconic structures and developments have made it instantly recognizable, and the construction industry, in general, has laid the groundwork for the city's growth in recent decades.

According to MEED Projects, the UAE construction market is valued at US$805 billion, with Dubai at the heart of this with a dynamic real estate market that elicits a strong appetite for investment from around the world, highlighting the city's long-established attractiveness. The value of real estate transactions in Dubai increased to US$62.1 billion in 2019, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector grew 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. FDI into Dubai's real estate market increased 17 percent during this period, reaching US$28.9 billion, with new investors accounting for 57 percent of transactions and investments. With the UAE's population expected to grow from 9.34 million to 11.5 million by 2025, Dubai's construction and real estate sector has plenty of room for expansion.


The rise of e-commerce and the ever-changing nature of consumer behavior have shifted the course of global retail more rapidly than ever in recent years, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic. Electronic purchases are becoming increasingly popular, forcing retailers to redesign their operations to remain competitive and efficient.

The Middle East is experiencing massive growth in e-Commerce, which is expected to be worth $48.6 billion by 2022. The UAE is making huge strides toward becoming the Middle East's fastest-growing e-commerce market. The e-commerce sector is expected to contribute AED 12 billion to the local GDP by 2023.

In October 2019, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Emirate's E-Commerce strategy to increase the regional and global share of e-Commerce companies in Dubai by AED 24 billion through a series of simulative initiatives.

The future of trade in the UAE is focused on digitalization, in line with the country's push to create smart cities, and the growth of e-commerce is a big part of that. According to the UAE Vision 2021, cashless payments and e-commerce are top government priorities. The UAE's central location on the global trade map, large storage capacity, and extensive logistical networks, combined with government support, all contribute to the sector's continued growth and position the UAE at the pinnacle of the global e-Commerce industry.

Dubai, in particular, has emerged as the epicenter of growth and innovation in the region's e-Commerce space, with several of the region's most forward-thinking e-Commerce companies sprouting up from the city, capitalizing on the city's fertile ecosystem and expanding into the area. Success stories such as e-Commerce platform (acquired by Amazon in 2017 for $580 million) and ride-hailing and delivery company Careem (acquired by Uber in 2019 for $3.1 billion) have revolutionized payment and delivery, as well as e-Commerce adoption in general, in the region.

The UAE's e-Commerce market is gaining traction, with customers purchasing a wide range of consumer goods and services with a single tap, click, or swipe on their mobile devices or computers. An increasing number of digitally savvy UAE consumers seek on-demand, near-instant solutions, and nearly 81 percent of the UAE's adult population buys goods online regularly. Young people are also helping to drive eCommerce adoption, with young adults aged 20 to 39 accounting for half of the UAE's total population.

The future looks bright from a business standpoint, with Dubai's e-commerce business boom reflected in new license applications. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubai's Economy reported an 83% increase in DED Trader licenses issued in the first half of 2020, reflecting Dubai's status as a Middle East e-commerce and commercial hub for companies and consumers.


In recent years, Dubai has emerged as a central education hub in the Middle East, in line with the city's leaders' vision of developing a knowledge-based economy. There has been a top-down mandate to provide the highest quality education options to Dubai students and students from other countries looking for top-quality education outside their home country.


While Dubai has a small share of the UAE's total oil and gas energy resources, the city is diversifying its energy mix. It has recently become a regional hub for renewable and clean energy. Dubai is home to the state-owned oil and gas company Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), as well as major multinational corporations such as BP, China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Company (CPECC), Halliburton, and Schlumberger, to name a few.

With the Middle East and North Africa's energy demand expected to double in the next decade, renewable energy and clean technology have become top priorities. Moving away from fossil fuels, Dubai is setting the standard in these fields to meet the goals of the Integrated Energy Strategy 2030. Total clean energy investment in the region is expected to exceed $300 billion by 2050, with over $100 billion in alternative and sustainable energy projects already in the works. With the population of Dubai expected to grow from 2.9 million in 2020 to 5.2 million by 2030, the Emirate is focusing on preparing its energy sector to meet these rising demands.

Design and Fashion

Dubai is the Middle East's design capital and an industry hub for companies and creative professionals. Design is taken seriously in Dubai, as evidenced by the emphasis on the style and aesthetics of the city's buildings and private and public spaces. As a result, Dubai's thriving design industry is a significant employer of creative talent. As a multicultural community with a taste for luxury and design, Dubai is an ideal location for fashion and design firms of all sizes.

Banking and Finance

Dubai is a central global business hub and the de facto financial center of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. It provides many benefits to any financial firm that chooses the city as a starting point or regional headquarters.

The city is a world-class business environment that provides the stability of UK Common Law, independent courts, and pro-business regulation, allowing financial institutions and supporting companies from all over the world to become a part of the region's most significant financial ecosystem. Dubai has emerged as a major economic powerhouse in recent years, ranking in the Top 10 Global Financial Centres Index in 2019, recognizing the city's strengths in the five major areas of Business Environment, Human Capital, Infrastructure, Financial Sector Development, and Reputation. Many of the region's largest banks are headquartered in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a primary financial Free Zone that houses a domestic stock exchange and an international market with one of the highest concentrations of Islamic bonds.

Dubai's strategic location bridges the time-zone gap for a global financial center between London and New York in the west and Hong Kong and Tokyo in the east. The city also provides access to the best financial services talent in the region. There are currently over 25,600 professionals working in over 2,400 active registered companies in DIFC alone, constituting the region's largest and most diverse pool of industry talent.

Agriculture And Food

As a dynamic city with a pro-business regulatory environment and a progressive approach to technology, Dubai is an excellent location for food and agriculture companies looking to the future. The demand for food production in Dubai is increasing due to a growing population, high tourist numbers, and an innovative F&B sector. Annual food consumption in the UAE is expected to reach 10.3 million tonnes by 2030, a nearly 25% increase from 8.3 million tonnes in 2018. The fresh food packaging market is expected to reach US$126 billion by 2025, which is a growing sector globally. And Dubai is well positioned to capitalize on this expansion.

Dubai's food and agriculture sectors are based on trade, and the city's reexport logistics capabilities ensure that companies here are prepared to compete globally. Large global food manufacturers such as Unilever, Hakan Group, and Olam International call the city home, as do ambitious agri-tech startups such as Badia Farms, Desert Control, and Farmbox.

To emphasize the importance of food security, the UAE established a State Ministry for Food Security for the first time in 2017, tasked with strengthening the country's agricultural and food capabilities. As a result, the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051 was developed, focusing on diversifying food import sources, identifying alternative sources of supply, and facilitating the global food trade. This is already paying off, with the UAE rising ten places in the Global Food Security Index rankings from 31st to 21st in 2019. Its next goal is to take the top spot by 2051.

This goal will not be met solely through traditional farming methods. Dubai's appetite for new technologies and innovation has resulted in an ecosystem that includes practices such as vertical farming, smart farming, hydroponics, and aeroponics. They will help propel the city into the next phase of agricultural development. These new practices complement Dubai's existing status as a global gateway and reexport hub, its efficient logistics and supply chain system, economic and political stability, and other factors that have made the city appealing to food and agriculture companies from around the world.


For many reasons, including its strategic location and ease of doing business, Dubai is a popular destination for healthcare sector investment. The UAE ranked 11th on the World Bank's Ease of Making a Business list in 2019, up ten from the previous year. A growing UAE health sector, estimated to be worth US$19.5 billion (AED 71.56 billion) in 2020, provides numerous investment opportunities.

The rapid growth of Dubai's domestic market and its growing role as a regional medical tourism hub has resulted in significant growth of its healthcare infrastructure, fueled by private sector investment in healthcare services. Many of the world's largest hospitals and specialized healthcare centers have established themselves in Dubai, taking advantage of the city's unique investment climate, which offers a variety of investment incentives in the healthcare sector. With a growing population and an increase in residents aged 60 and up, there is expected to be greater demand for health services.

The city is constantly developing rules and policies to improve its business environment, such as the recently implemented 10-year investor residence visa. The rule has also been extended to talented and highly qualified scientists, researchers, and doctors, demonstrating the government's commitment to the health sector's development.

Tourism And Hospitality

Dubai is a global tourist destination and hospitality hub located at the East, West, North, and South crossroads. An extensive aviation and hospitality network support the city. It serves as a gateway of opportunity for travel companies looking to capitalize on the tourist market in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council's Cities Report 2019, tourism is central to Dubai's economy, contributing a significant 11.5 percent of GDP value, ranking the sector as one of the Top 10 strongest economic share generators.

Today, Dubai is a well-established leading international tourism destination, attracting visitors from all over the world to its world-class hotels and resorts, high-end shopping malls, theme parks, and attractions such as the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Dubai has over 126,000 hotel rooms and welcomed 16.73 million overnight visitors in 2019, a 5.1 percent increase over the previous year. MasterCard's Global Cities Index states that the Emirate was the fourth most visited destination in 2019. The city's tourism sector has consistently outperformed global industry average growth, thanks to city-wide coordination of public and private sector bodies that bring together regulatory access, immigration policy, physical infrastructure, and a service culture that symbolizes Dubai's spirit as a welcoming host to the world.

From streamlining the traditional travel supply chain to using technology to empower the globally savvy traveler and social media to attract a hyper-connected Millennial and Gen Z audience, Dubai continues to adapt to the changing tourism landscape. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubai has demonstrated its trademark resilience, welcoming back millions of visitors from all over the world while pioneering a slew of safety measures designed to keep them safe and provide them with peace of mind.


As a regional hub with the infrastructure and logistics network to support an efficient supply chain, Dubai is an ideal location for humanitarian organizations, non-profits, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) seeking to reach the greater good. Because of Dubai's strategic geographic location on the route between the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, the humanitarian community can reach two-thirds of the world's population living in disaster-prone areas in 4-8 hours.

As a hub for transportation modes, logistics, and value-added services, Dubai provides innovative options to support the humanitarian response through its facilities, warehousing, and network of the private sector, local community, and government partners. The international humanitarian community in Dubai numbers around 500 people from over 73 different nationalities.


Dubai's industrial sector significantly contributes to the Emirate's economic activity. The government sees it as a primary way to support economic diversification by driving non-oil GDP growth. Dubai's industrial sector, which includes value-added manufacturing, construction, electricity, water and gas, and mining and quarrying, is the city-second state's largest economic sector.

In 2018, the sector accounted for 20% of GDP, with total value-added reaching AED 79.2 billion, a 1% increase over the previous year. Manufacturing was by far the most significant contributor, accounting for 57% of industrial sector output, followed by construction (32%), electricity, water, and gas (9%), and mining and quarrying (2%).

Dubai's Free Zones are the primary source of industrial activity in the Emirate and continue to account for a sizable portion of inbound FDI to the Emirate. DP World's Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) is one of the largest Free Zones for industrial companies in the Emirate, accounting for 23.9 percent of total FDI in Dubai in 2017.

While the Emirate's manufacturing and industrial activity have traditionally focused on low-tech, high-value-added areas such as chemical production and base metals, Dubai is actively seeking to diversify.


With its innovative mindset and pro-business regulatory environment, Dubai is an ideal location for all sizes of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) firms. Dubai is an ICT hub connecting technology companies worldwide, with new-age entrepreneurs drawn to Dubai for its technological growth, futuristic outlook, and ease of business.

The ICT sector is a significant contributor to the Dubai economy, accounting for 4.1 percent of the Emirate's real GDP in 2018 and growing at a 2.7 percent annual rate. Between 2011 and 2018, the sector experienced a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 6%. The Dubai Government recognizes that an embrace of technology and a forward-thinking mindset is critical to a thriving economy in today's world and has made the ICT sector a central part of the city's development, investing heavily in infrastructure and fostering a growth-friendly environment.

Some of the largest companies in the space have regional headquarters in Dubai, including Dell, Intel, Huawei, Samsung, SAP, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Tata Consultancy, 3M, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, HP, Nokia, Cognizant, and Accenture, as well as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok. The cluster environment encompasses all aspects of an ICT business's value chain. It allows companies of all sizes to be a part of a vibrant and like-minded community of knowledge and innovation-driven tech businesses.

Dubai Logistics is a global trade and logistics hub with a strategic location, unparalleled infrastructure, and world-class logistics facilities. The city provides technology and innovation, trade, and logistics services to the region and the world.

Logistics is an essential industry in Dubai's economy, accounting for more than fourteen percent of the UAE's GDP. The sector is expected to grow by four percent between now and 2022.

Dubai has become a primary regional trade gateway and reexports hub between East and West due to significant investments in transportation infrastructure and logistics capabilities. The collaboration of the Dubai Government with the private sector helps accelerate global trade opportunities by implementing policies that make supply chain operations more efficient across the UAE and the world.

Thanks to its low logistics costs and advanced infrastructure, Dubai is the region's most efficient, viable, and profitable logistics hub. From its world-class international port and airports to its hyper-modern roads and public transportation network, Dubai is the region's most efficient, viable, and profitable logistics hub.


Since the turn of the century, Dubai has emerged as the Middle East's primary center for print, television, radio, and digital media. News channels (CNN, BBC, CNBC), news agencies (Reuters, AFP, Bloomberg), publishing firms (Forbes, McGraw Hill), media production companies (Sony, Showtime), advertising firms (DDB, Dentsu Aegis), and digital heavyweights (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter) have all relocated to the city. From Dubai, many of these companies serve regional and global audiences. With many local media companies like MBC Group, OSN, Arab Media Group, ITP Media Group, and Motivate Publishing, Dubai is fast becoming the dominant player in the regional media landscape.

The government has strengthened the Emirate's reputation as a media hub, launching new initiatives to ensure that Dubai remains the best place in the region to establish a media company. In 2014, the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) was established as a new media industry oversight entity to ensure that the city remains a top location for creative and innovative companies.

Services Outsourcing

Dubai is a popular choice for companies that provide outsourcing and shared services to a diverse range of customers and clients across multiple geographical regions and time zones because it is strategically located between East and West. Thanks to a pro-business regulatory environment and world-class infrastructure, Dubai caters to companies of all sizes and business sectors.

Many companies choose Dubai as a base for call centers and customer service. The UAE's total outsourcing and shared services market was estimated to be $4.87 billion in 2018. With a 62 percent industry share, information technology (IT) accounts for the majority of investment in shared services and outsourcing in the UAE. This was followed by Customer Support (21%), Finance (10%), HR and Administration (5%), and Procurement (2%).

Dubai provides various customized options for companies in this sector, including commercial spaces and business services tailored specifically to outsourcing and shared service businesses, such as call centers, data centers, back-office operations, and more.

Property Management

Aside from being one of the safest and most proactive cities in the world to visit, live, and work in, Dubai is an ideal location for business, innovation, and real estate. The city provides diverse benefits to both investors and tenants, and the market is boosted by improved affordability due to price drops and relaxed foreign business ownership regulations. Removing the UAE Central Bank's 20% cap on bank real estate lending, ongoing economic activity, and simple visa rules contribute to the market's attractiveness.

The hosting of the Expo next year will also propel Dubai's vision forward, particularly regarding real estate development. Not only are the preparations and hosting of the event themselves creating continued excitement, but the event also serves as a gateway to the rest of the world, putting Dubai on the global stage, forming business relationships, and attracting long-term investment.

The introduction of new legislation in 2019 aided the real estate sector, particularly the formation of the higher committee for real estate, led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) has also implemented regulatory changes, which, along with the launch of the Real Estate Investment Opportunities (REIO) initiative, are expected to attract a broader range of real estate investors to the Emirate. Following COVID, Dubai's real estate market has shown some encouraging signs of stability, with 8,137 real estate transactions recorded in Q3 2020, totaling US$4.65 billion.


Dubai, located at the crossroads of East and West, is a futuristic and thriving global trade hub. The city is strategically located on the world's busiest sea trade route connecting Asia and Europe and at the intersection of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and Central Asia.

Dubai is served by over 120 shipping lines and is connected to over 130 global destinations via 85 airlines. The Dubai government's policy of heavily investing in transportation, telecommunications, energy, and industrial infrastructure has resulted in the city having one of the best infrastructure networks in the world.

The Emirate has an ecosystem that includes several industrial areas, highly successful business parks, internationally renowned specialized Free Zones, two world-class seaports, a major international airport and cargo village, a modern highway network, cutting-edge telecommunications, and dependable power and utilities, all of which provide efficiency, flexibility, and reliability at a reasonable cost and size.

Due to its unique geographical location, Dubai is a gateway hub, providing trade access to a larger regional market of 3.5 billion people. With pro-business regulation and forward-thinking infrastructure, Dubai has quickly become a global business, finance, technology, and commerce powerhouse with trade in its DNA.

What are the top 10 successful businesses in Dubai?


Dubai's high-rise buildings and skyscraper construction are not slowing down. New buildings with modern designs and structures are built daily in Dubai. Engineers, construction firms, architects, real estate developers, and other professionals in this sector have many opportunities.

Dubai's population is rapidly increasing and is expected to grow as expats flock to the city in search of better opportunities. As a result, an investor can start a manufacturing company or a real estate development firm, or they can sell building materials.


Handyman services are in high demand, and people always look for skilled workers and trustworthy agencies. You can even start this business by offering individual services for small jobs to clients who don't have the time or skills to do the work themselves. A handyman's job description is varied. It includes maintenance, repair, plumbing, and other electrical jobs, allowing you to provide various services to your clients.

To begin this business, you must develop a plan and conduct thorough research on your marketing and financial objectives. According to state laws, you must register your business and contact consultants to obtain all necessary licenses. However, if you have skilled labor, this is a good business.

Beauty and Hair Salon

When it comes to fashion and beauty, Dubai residents are overly concerned. This is because Dubai is a buzzing city, and there is always something new and exciting happening Downtown. You can open a lady's beauty salon in Dubai that offers beauty services. This includes services for hair, nails, feet, and facials. You must understand the requirements for replicating this business and have extensive knowledge of products and Dubai fashion trends.

Real Estate Agents

As the number of expats in Dubai grows by the day, so do real estate transactions such as buying, selling, and renting out properties. Residents expect professional and trustworthy agents to help them with their real estate transactions. For this business, you must seek advice from your consulting firm and obtain all the necessary licenses from the authorities.

Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry continues to be a dominant sector in Dubai, with all operations such as exploration, extraction, transportation, and distribution generating revenue for investors. Although it necessitates large-scale investment and services, some segments provide small and medium-sized business opportunities. Business startup necessitates careful planning and marketing, and you can start a business in an industry with lucrative investment opportunities.

Travel and Tourism

Dubai is a tourist haven. Opportunities exist in all types of tourism, including shopping, business, sports, cultural, and medical tourism, among others. Tourism includes restaurants, food services, transportation, hotels, and photography. Travel and tourism have emerged as a robust industry, with a global economic impact of approximately 6.5 trillion US dollars per year. Starting a travel and tourism business is unquestionably profitable for new and enthusiastic entrepreneurs.

Job Agencies

The UAE attracts many expats in search of good job opportunities, and it is a dream city for foreign job seekers. Due to the language barrier, companies are also having difficulty finding professional and skilled employees, and the indigenous population accounts for only 0.5 percent of the workforce. You can start a job-providing agency in Dubai that uses your channel to connect companies and job seekers. A Job or Recruitment Agency company can be started quickly with minimal investment and ease for current business. Still, there are several things to consider before opening for business, such as licenses, etc.

Webpreneur, i.e., Web Development, Mobile, Internet Marketing

E-commerce, web design Dubai, mobile, internet marketing, and online businesses are the most popular investment sectors. Dubai has evolved into a truly digital city with virtually limitless opportunities for web professionals. E-commerce stores are thriving, and an increasing number of businesses are going online.

In terms of digital competitiveness, the UAE ranks first in the Arab region and 12th globally. The UAE's Vision 2021 plan calls for the country to become the world's leading city and commercial hub.

Digitization in the UAE is increasing, which means more opportunities for Webpreneurs.

Online Tyre Trading Business

The Middle East, particularly Dubai, is a dream destination for anyone who enjoys high-end automobiles. Almost all of the prestigious car brands can be found on Dubai's roads. This has created a one-of-a-kind business opportunity for online tire traders. The UAE tire market's total value was $220 million in 2019 and is expected to exceed $420 million by 2025. PitStopArabia, the leading online tire shop in Dubai, is a pioneer in this industry.

Business Consultancy Services

Business Consultancy and setup services are among the most profitable businesses in Dubai. This requires experience and the participation of experts, but it has proven to be a good business venture. Again, you must first obtain a license from the authorities for this business.

Here are some articles to know more about Dubai:

the story of the city of gold, dubai

12th Sep 2022

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