In less than four decades, Dubai has experienced one of the most astonishing transformations of any city in modern history. From a small trading settlement, it has become an exciting, inspiring and sophisticated metropolis. Dubai today is a tourist magnet that draws in well over 16 million international visitors annually and is only exceeded by Paris, London and Bangkok (and probably not for long).
With the indigenous Dubai population at less than 200,000, the number of expatriates and foreign residents are about 2 million thanks to the city’s investment and lifestyle appeal. So if you are thinking about business setup in UAE, here are a number of reasons why Dubai should be at the top of your list.
1. Diverse economy
The Middle East (and especially the countries that are members of the GCC) is often perceived as heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry. The UAE, and particularly Dubai, has however been notable for its ability to diversify its economy away from oil. Tourism, transportation, logistics and trade account for about 60 percent of its GDP.
Such diversity means there is a wide range of potential business opportunities. Whereas Dubai took a substantial hit following the 2007-2009 Global Financial Crisis, it has since recovered to post solid growth.
2. World-class infrastructure
Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port is the busiest in the Middle East and one of the world’s most modern. It includes a free trade zone. Jebel Ali is complemented by Port Rashid that’s quite impressive in its own rights and ranked among the leading ports in the Middle East by traffic.
Away from sea cargo, Dubai also hosts Emirates Airlines, the largest airline in the Arab world with more than 250 aircraft and flying to over 80 countries. If you prefer a different carrier, there’s Fly Dubai as well, a fast-growing startup airline with an impressive 50 destinations.
3. Skilled manpower
It’s not hard to see why Dubai is so popular with expatriate workers. Thanks to its friendly labor policies, businesses can seamlessly and cost-effectively hire workers from nearly any part of the globe.
In addition, Dubai, as well as the six other emirates of the UAE, have consistently and heavily invested in the training and education of the local workforce. No matter what business you are in, there’s bound to be more than enough skilled workers in Dubai to help you execute on your mission.
4. Investment promotion
Dubai has a state arm (the Department of Economic Development or DED) that is charged with crafting and driving its economic agenda, supporting its transformation into an innovative, knowledge-based and service-oriented economy, increasing productivity and improving the business climate.
The DED has four agencies that develop robust economic policies and plans, identify strategic sectors, provide basic administration services and support market growth for both local and international investors.
5. Free trade zones
Earlier, we mentioned a free trade zone in Jebel Ali. Dubai hosts more than 20 free zones that cater to a wide range of business sectors. In fact, free zones have proven to be one of the most compelling incentives for encouraging businesses to establish a presence in Dubai.
In these zones, companies can have 100 percent foreign ownership. In addition, there’s no income tax (which is actually a benefit available to both businesses registered in the free zones and those on the mainland).
6. Quality of life
Dubai has regularly been ranked as the top city in the Middle East and Africa on Mercer’s Quality of Living Index. One of the benefits of the expatriate influx is that not only has the quality of life improved, but it’s also a melting pot of numerous cultures.
For a city of its size and profile, Dubai is remarkably safe. There are also numerous unique sights, including the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest man-made marina, some of the most luxurious hotels on the planet and a wide variety of retail experiences.
Over the last couple of decades, Dubai has been the launch pad of numerous successful enterprises. Consider starting your business in Dubai and you just could be the next success story.