Business in the United Arab Emirates

Succeeding in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) involves navigating a dynamic business environment, understanding cultural nuances, and aligning strategies with local practices. Here are key considerations for success in the UAE:

  1. Legal and Regulatory Compliance:
    • Business Setup: Choose the right legal structure for your business (Free Zone, Mainland, or Offshore) and ensure compliance with the Department of Economic Development (DED) or relevant free zone authority.
    • Licensing: Obtain the necessary licenses and permits for your business activities.
  2. Cultural Understanding:
    • Respect for Culture: Demonstrate respect for Emirati culture and traditions. Understanding local customs and etiquette is crucial for building relationships.
    • Business Relationships: Cultivate personal relationships, as business in the UAE often relies on trust and connections.
  3. Language and Communication:
    • Language Diversity: English is widely used in business, but understanding Arabic phrases can be beneficial. Many business professionals in the UAE are multilingual.
    • Formality: Maintain a level of formality in business communication, especially in the initial stages.
  4. Government Relations:
    • Engage with Authorities: Establish positive relations with government authorities. Stay informed about regulatory changes and take advantage of government initiatives.
    • Visa and Sponsorship: Understand visa regulations and, if needed, secure a local sponsor for visa requirements.
  5. Financial Practices:
    • Currency Management: Be aware of currency fluctuations and manage financial transactions accordingly. The UAE Dirham (AED) is the official currency.
    • Tax Planning: Understand the tax regulations in the UAE, which vary by emirate and free zone. Seek professional advice for tax planning.
  6. Quality Standards:
    • High-Quality Products and Services: Emphasize quality in your offerings, as the UAE market values excellence.
  7. Customer Service:
    • Exceptional Service: Provide exceptional customer service to meet the high expectations of consumers.
    • Multilingual Support: Offer customer support in multiple languages to cater to the diverse population.
  8. Marketing and Advertising:
    • Localized Marketing: Customize marketing materials to resonate with the local audience.
    • Cultural Sensitivity: Ensure cultural sensitivity in marketing campaigns to avoid misinterpretations.

By combining these considerations with a strategic and culturally sensitive approach, businesses can position themselves for success in the dynamic and thriving business landscape of the United Arab Emirates. Building strong local relationships, demonstrating adaptability, and contributing positively to the community are key elements of a successful business venture in the UAE.

​Reach out to us, and we will:

  • Undertake market research on the business climate, customer behavior, market trends, and other factors that are important for the success of your business in the UAE
  • Create a business plan for your establishment in the UAE
  • Develop a market entry strategy for the UAE 

General information

Capital: Abu Dhabi

Population: 9,264,000

Official language: Arabic

Main religion: Islam

Currency: Emirati dirham

Time zone: UTC+4

Economy of the UAE

GDP per capita: $44,315

Economic growth: 2,5%

Unemployment: 3.4%

Inflation: 1%

FDI Inflow: $19.9 billion

Business in the UAE

Popular type of legal entity: Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Minimum number of shareholders for LLC: 2

Terms of company registration: from 1 to 4 weeks

Minimum share capital: depends on business activity

A local director required: Yes

Corporate tax: 9%

VAT: 5% with some goods and services subject to a 0% rate or an exemption from VAT

Benefits and challenges

Benefits: access to a large number free trade zones; low corporate tax rates; developed infrastructure; strategic geographical location; a business friendly economy; a stable currency; very low, or non-existent, import duties

Challenges: restrictions on entirely foreign-owned capital for some sectors; tough requirements for an employment permit; managing the local workforce to local laws and compliance

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