Expanding a Business in UAE
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UAE Entering the Market
The seven states which make up the United Arab Emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. An Islamic state, the emirates manage to balance traditional values and western economic culture with startling success. With Dubai's world-renowned development from a baron desert landscape to a playground for tourists and investors, typifying the huge ambition and productivity of the emirates, its difficult to escape the flamboyant and exotic profile of the region.
Dubai - Perhaps the most well known of the emirates, the rapid expansion and its reputation for entrepreneurial innovation has made the state one of the highest profile destinations on the planet, with an open market and attractive tax incentives cementing its reputation as an economic centre. With 88% of UK investors in the emirates choosing Dubai, its reputation speaks for itself.
Abu Dhabi - The capital of the emirates, and its second largest city, Abu Dhabi industrialized rapidly and is a centre for political, industrial and commercial activity. Accounting for 15% of the Emirates GDP Abu Dhabi enjoys a reputation as one of the more westernized Arab cities. Although less accessible than Dubai, the market offers lucrative rewards for people with the time, patience and knowledge to penetrate the market.
Sharjah - The Emirates third largest state, Sharjah offers low taxation and trade duties as an incentive to attract investment. It also boasts fast procedures for the licensing economic activity.
Ajman - With foreign investment up 100% on last year and the state cementing its reputation as a sound real estate investment prospect, on account of its strong protection laws, Ajmans profile continue to grow.
Umm al-Quwain - The least populated of the federation, Umm al-Quwain offers similar tax and trade incentives to Dubai for foreign investors.
Ras al-Khaimah - Meaning the top of the tent and covering just 656 square miles, Ras al-Khaimah has concentrated on building its industry and is now the UAEs biggest producer of cement.
Fujairah - With a flourishing free trade zone, replicating the success of the Dubai Free Zone Authority, Fujairah is keen attract foreign investors. Tourism is also a growth industry in the state.
Why expand to UAE
With British goods and services held in high regard, there are plenty of reasons for expanding a business in UAE. Dubai is an attractive tourist destination and with its continuing expansion, despite the downturn, there are still infrastructure opportunities to be had. With expertise in areas such as desalination and healthcare required, the UK's reputation is a valuable asset throughout the Emirates. In addition to the industrial expansion, the Emirates are keen to develop their own populations, with UK training, education and consultancy a respected and valued commodity. Coupled with the absence of corporate and income tax, personal income taxes, no foreign exchange controls, and 100% repatriation of capital and profits, the United Arab Emirates is a promising market. Licensing or incorporating a business in UAE are also valuable options.
The key industries where UK business interested in expanding a business in UAE will find investment opportunities are:
Business Services and IT - As with Education, British consultancy and IT services are well received in emirates, although the ease of access for foreigners varies across the region
Financial Services - With its attractive trading environment, the emirates value financial services, as they continue to move away from an economic reliance on oil revenues.
Education and Healthcare - With emirate states keen to invest in their own populations, British expertise in healthcare and education enjoys a strong reputation. Dubai currently invests 22% of its budget on social spending.
Creative industries - With publishing and media playing a role, particularly in Dubai, there is a demand for skills and investment in the region.
Transport and Infrastructure (Water, power, etc) - Despite a downturn as a result of the global recession, construction and infrastructure is still being improved throughout the emirates.
Challenges foreign companies face starting a business in UAE
With a profile like Dubai, the greatest challenge facing potential investors setting up a business in UAE is competition. With the influx of new business attracted by the trade and tax incentives and the Emirates exotic reputation, it is unlikely that any investment will be without competition, In comparison, Abu Dhabi and the other states are more bureaucratic and less open, but with the correct amount of time invested and a decent understanding of the business processes and Arab etiquette, the rewards can be equally great. Make sure you research and plan ahead your operations before starting a business in UAE.
Organisations that can assist with Entering the Market
Company formation in Dubai is not a straightforward task. Despite this, Dubai has a unique set of appealing features that attract entrepreneurs and established businesses alike, to make Dubai a base for their operations
Simplified Global Payroll Managing payroll in multiple countries is complicated with different systems, deadlines, and languages in each country, lack of reporting, and constantly changing laws and regulations. Trying to manage global payroll via fax and email with excel spreadsheets leads to data security issues, fines, and penalties for non-compliance. Blue Marble has solved global payroll challenges with cloud-based technology, customized aggregated monthly reporting, and a hybrid service model in 150+ countries around the world.
Sovereign offers a range of advisory and support services to assist companies of all sizes to establish successful business operations in foreign markets.
PEO Worldwide is an international PEO offering employer of record, payroll, employee benefits management, HR and compliance services throughout the world.
Do you need advice from an expert in your field, on the ground? Need help finding the best route to market for your product or service?
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