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Dubai Free Zones - 10 Reasons Your Company Should Expand Into One NOW

15th June 2020

Companies the world over are re-evaluating their strategies to survive and beat Covid-19. Expanding into a new market might not initially seem an obvious option, particularly as companies are scouring overheads to identify areas for cost-cutting. However, now more than ever, businesses need to mind-feed and consider all options, even it they might appear audacious or unachieveable at the outsight. If your business continues to do what it has always done, it will continue to get what its always gotten - if its lucky. The business world is changing, so if your organisation is financially able to expand into a new market, then Dubai should definitely be on your radar.

What are the benefits of having a company in a Dubai free zone?

  • Cost effective incorporation - over recent months the different free zones have been slashing their rates and promoting special offers to attract foreign investment. Now is the cheapest time to be setting up a business in a Dubai free zone

  • Fast incorporation - whilst the time to incorporate varies between the different free zones, your business can be set up within a matter of days

  • 100% foreign ownership - you can fully own your business without the need for a local sponsor, which is a requirement for mainland companies)

  • Choice of structures: either a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a foreign branch

  • No corporation tax - this is always extremely attractive to foreign investors

  • No income tax - who wouldn't want to keep all of the money they earn!

  • Independent regulations - each free zone is independently regulated, although you might find some regulations very similar to Dubai mainland

  • No customs duty - great for importers/exporters. However, do note that duty is payable at 5% if goods are moved from the free zone onto the Dubai mainland

  • Repatriation of profits and capital is allowed

  • No physical office requirements - depending upon your organisations requirements and specific license and number of visas required

  • Paid up share capital is not required - this does vary from free zone to free zone, but not all free zone require for the share capital amount to be deposited

  • Huge selection of business activities including commercial, industrial, healthcare, media, and professional etc...

  • Ability to incorporate holding companies

  • No requirement to be in-country for the company registration - this does vary from free zone to free zone

  • Ability to apply for UAE visas - enabling you to have employees on the ground to develop your business or even move to Dubai yourself and manage the operation!

Are Dubai free zones successful?

Trade volume of the UAE free zones grew by 2.1% in 2019 to AED621.3 billion and represented 53.3% of the UAE's non-oil trade in 2019. This is huge! Whilst the UAE is known for having huge hydrocarbon reserves, it has heavily invested in diversifying its economy away from this, particularly Dubai, which is well known for tourism and hospitality amongst other sectors. Dubai has numerous free zones, some of which are sector specific, such as Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Design District; whilst others are generic and welcome businesses all sorts of sectors.

Dubai Expo opportunities

If you thought you had missed the boat for getting involved in Dubai Expo 2020 - think again! Due to COVID-19, the Expo has been postponed for 12 months meaning there is still time for your business to get involved to take advantage of the opportunities. The new Dubai Expo dates are 1st October 2021 - 31st March 2022.

The location of Dubai Expo is Dubai South Free Zone.

According to Alpine Capital and Expo 2020, up to 835,000 meals are expected to be served every hour! Imagine all of the other requirements for hosting and operating a successful Expo.

Why Dubai, NOW?

Discover 10 reasons why Dubai is a great destination for establishing a business now, as the world goes through dramatic changes.

  1. Leading international business centre and regional hub

  2. Dubai is resilient with the UAE being ranked 3rd most resilient economy globally, post Covid-19 (Euromonitor International's Macroeconomic Resilience Score (2020)*)

  3. Tax free business opportunities

  4. World class infrastructure - well maintained roads, excellent public transport, modern buildings for commercial use, state of the art venues for meetings & events, hotels for all budgets

  5. Dubai is a visionary city - its economic progress over the last 20 years and more proves this

  6. Knowledge & innovation hub - Dubai has positioned itself as a forward thinking destination with the intention of constantly changing and innovating to stay ahead of the game with strategic plans in place

  7. Dubai responded quickly to COVID-19 both in terms of providing economic stimulae to keep its economy alive and to containing the virus via lockdowns to be able to get businesses opening up again, safely, as quickly as possible.

  8. Dubai is prepared for change as the UAE is ranked 5th most prepared globally and most prepared in the MENA region (KPMG Change Readiness Index 2019).

  9. 16th globally and top regionally for the ease of doing business (Ease of Doing Business Report 2020)

  10. Easy to attract and retail top talent.

How Gateway Group can help with your Dubai free zone company setup

Getting the right business license, in the right jurisdiction with the correct business activities is key to doing business in Dubai. At Gateway Group, we'll understand your planned activities and goals for doing business in Dubai so that we can suggest the best business license for your organisation's specific circumstances. Once your free zone business license is issued we can then organize visas and Emirates ID cards for your employees. We can manage your business license and visas so that you can focus on developing your Dubai business. Set up your Dubai free zone quickly and securely with Gateway NOW.

*Euromonitor International's Macroeconomic Score (2020) can be found on slide 13/26 of the Euromonitor IPO Market Resilience Index.

Call Gateway Group: 600 567562

Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO

Gateway Group of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai UAE


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