How to Start an Online Business in Dubai?

by Zaara 11, Sep 2019

Start an Online Business in Dubai

With nearly half of the world’s population becoming regular web user, the internet economy is providing companies with an essential source of growth. The United Arab Emirates is one of the forefronts of digital space and online business in the world. Currently, the retail market in the UAE accounts for an annual sale worth $10 billion, which sets itself among the top-ranked countries in the digital world. The online survey conducted by Hootsuite and We have Social revealed a stunning percentage of UAE’s total internet users who now buy online. The study showed 62% of the UAEs internet users now shop online and spend an average of $332 per purchase, making UAE Middle-East’s largest marketplace for online shopping.

In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is becoming more popular for online business as the government is offering license even for the freelancer to sell on social media. A small community is created out of this pro-business attitude of the government. As a result, the online business is increasing every year and has a further scope in the coming years.

All about Online Business in Dubai

When starting a business in Dubai, you will need to consider a wide range of factors, but first and foremost, you will need to decide what products and services you want to offer to your consumers online. This is because the purchase and sale of products and services online is basic e-commerce. And E-commerce business is a competitive world, and an online store without a plan will often fail.


Ask yourself three things before diving in to the online world i.e.

  1. What are business sectors witnessing rise today?
  1. What sectors are expected to thrive in the coming years?
  1. What sectors do I have an advantage in?

When it comes to the first two questions, the best thing you can rely on is research, research, and research. Finally, the third question is personal, as you will reap benefits from the product you have created and sold. Therefore ensuring that you have a viable product to showcase a community from the beginning is the key to success in this sector.

Business License

Once you have decided what you want to offer your targeted consumers, the next step is to take appropriate actions towards starting your store online. The most crucial step here is to have a trade license so that your business is legally operated across the UAE. There are different trade license available depending on where you want to run your business (location) and what the business activities are. The license can be made available at the Department of Economic Development (DED) Dubai if operating from Mainland or relevant Free Zone Authority if operating from a free zone. The process includes,

  1. Selecting the license type
  1. Understand registration cost and fees
  1. Prepare the documents
  1. Submit the application and documents to the authority
  1. Pay Fees
  1. Collect the license


Once you are legally sorted, the most crucial step is to build your website. If you have a solid technical background, you can dive in and develop your site, but if not, you can hire someone to do it for you. And once the core sections of your website are live, you will want to start thinking about the design of your online store. Things like how your products are organized and how the user operates through your website all affect sale.

Domain Name

After the website is set, you will need to select and register a domain name. This name will be used for your website. Domain name registration is essential, and you have to pay a specific fee for registering the same.

Before starting this business, know that you need to remember that there is no specific license for E-commerce activities if you are operating in Dubai mainland. You will need a simple trading license for a particular activity while a general trading license for a general e-commerce license in Dubai.

Pick free zone as your operating jurisdiction. First, you will have to deal out your products in the Mainland, after which you need to work with local distributors and warehouses as one is not allowed to ship goods directly to the customers in non-free zone parts of the UAE.

Top 5 Online Business Ideas in UAE

If you are thinking of setting up an online business, here are some of the business ideas to look at –

Online Store

E-commerce has been booming in the UAE for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated its already rapid growth. If you have a product that people will want to purchase, then there’s nothing easier than setting up an online store and making it available to the entire world.

Online Teaching

Traditional learning, which can be defined as teacher-centred delivery of instruction to classes of students, doesn’t reflect our rapidly changing world. If you have any skill that’s in demand, you should consider starting an online teaching business or publishing video courses on the internet.

App Development

The number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to reach 3 billion by 2023, so there’s a huge opportunity to start an app development online business and publish mobile apps on major app marketplaces, such as the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Regardless of which business opportunity you decide to pursue, we hope the information provided in this article will help you achieve your business goals and grab your share of the online market.

If you are looking to set up an online business in the UAE, then our advisors can provide valuable assistance. We at Commitbiz are Dubai based consultants who provide business setup services. Right from business incorporation to office space, we cover everything. If you need these services, contact us today- we’d be happy to help you.

Start your Entrepreneurship Journey Today in UAE from AED 5,500

Commitbiz will help you with every step of your success journey. You can get one-on-one mentorship from our experts and get guidance on how to clear the legal proceedings and grow your business.

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