In today’s world we have incredible opportunities to build our business beyond our own shores and reach into expansive international markets. Indeed, the number of expats is growing so fast that if all the expats were members of a country, it would be one of the fastest growing countries in the world.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the most popular destinations for expats. As of 2023 the UAE is called home by approximately 10.2 million people. A staggering 85% of the individuals who comprise that population, are expats. When you look at why Dubai is an attractive market for businesses, it’s not hard to see why this temptation to join the shores of the UAE is hard to pass.
In this article we’ll look at the appeal of Dubai as a destination to expand your business to, and what you need to know when you’re ready to expand your business to Dubai.
The Appealing Business Market of Dubai
The simplified and diversified economy of Dubai makes it an attractive place to set up your international business. Some of the key reasons that Dubai is particularly appealing include:
1. Minimal Tax Regime In The UAE
One of the most appealing benefits of doing business in Dubai is a minimal tax regime. Company taxes are low and there is no income tax on individuals and no capital gains tax.
2. Free Trade Zones
The UAE includes a number of Free Trade Zones, with about 20 located in Dubai. Free Trade Zones are geographical locations where people from any other country can come in and set up their international business, without requiring a local connection. Businesses located in Free Trade Zones can operate their business within their zone and internationally. Each Free Trade zone has their own rules, regulations and incentives.
This differs from Mainland zones. Mainland Zones have more rigorous entry requirements, including local sponsorships, before your business can set up and operate. These Zones are regulated by the Department of Economic Development (DED). However, a business operating in a Mainland Zone is able to trade within the UAE, as well as internationally.
3. A Robust, Yet Simplified and Diversified Economy With A Strong Exchange Rate and Access To Resources
Balancing a safe and robust standard of governance, with minimal taxation responsibilities, Dubai offers a world-class infrastructure and is well known as a world-class financial hub for business operations. The local economy is strong and the UAE has a solid exchange rate.
As a popular location for expats around the world, there is also a rich and diverse supply of experience and professional skills on location.
Furthermore, the local government is a strong advocate for developing ideas and facilitation of growth and progress. As a technologically advanced nation, Dubai also has access to significant beneficial resources.
4. Limited Restrictions and Regulations On Your Company
There is no restriction on capital repatriations. This means that your company can return any investments to foreign owners, without limitations.
Share capital requirements are minimal, with no minimum amount of capital required for limited liability companies. This ensures that your company can be established with the flexibility to suit your purposes.
Unlike many countries, there is no requirement to have a physical office established to operate in Dubai.
Due to the minimal amount of regulations, when compared to other onshore jurisdictions the costs of setup in Dubai are low.
5. Geographically Ideal Location
Geographically, Dubai provides a strategic position for businesses looking to expand to the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa. As such it is an ideal location to set up a range of businesses including import/export, logistics, tourism, and more.
For transportation, Dubai offers access to the largest sea and airports in the world.
6. Strong Connections With the Worldwide Economy and Worldwide Business Standards
The UAE has signed up with the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), as part of the global standard for the exchange of information, including allowing countries to exchange tax data between participants. This helps with the prevention of fraud, and aids in the management of business matters across international borders.
In essence, Dubai is an appealing place to run a business because of the ease and convenience of doing business there, solid business standards, access to resources, and the simple and low tax regime that applies.