Setting up Retail business in Dubai Internet City

by Zaara 02, Apr 2017


That technology has taken over our lives is no secret. Technology is everywhere; it is in our homes, at our work and everywhere in between. A crucial aspect related to digital technology is that it has fastly moved in that last two decades and has greatly changed how our world functions.

The Middle East, especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has always been known as the oil and petrochemical led economy. But with the growing saturation in this industry and upcoming opportunities in the digital technology sector, the UAE government has started looking at digital innovations.

Dubai has always been a forerunner city in all government initiatives to drive foreign capital inflow and Dubai Internet City (DIC) is a testament to this fact.

Spread over one and half million square feet of prime office commercial space and home to over 1400 companies and 10,000 working population, The Dubai Internet City is the largest information technology park in the region. To attract more foreign companies in this region the government has set this up as a special economic zone. This essentially means that business owners enjoy benefits around ownership, taxation, and custom related features guaranteed for a period of 50 years- as mandated by a law.

A flagship benefits of this special economic zone is 100% foreign ownership, which has attracted companies like Facebook, Google, Intel, Samsung, Microsoft, Oracle Corporation,3M, Cisco, Nokia, Accenture, Linkedin, Dell, SAP and Cognizant to this zone to incorporate a business in Dubai Internet City.

With these many companies cropping up and setting up regional offices in this area, small time entrepreneurs have identified a unique opportunity- retail business setup to cater to the working professionals in DIC. This is a budding category that is fastly expanding.

Business setup in Dubai Internet City

Retail as a category cannot be underestimated.

Retail industry is thriving all over Dubai. According to a recent study conducted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the retail market is growing by 3.5 to 7.5 percent each year since 2010 and sales are expected to surpass $52 billion by the year 2020(i)

Retail is a big all over Dubai and retail business in Internet city is a very niche space, but owing to millions of people flocking to Dubai Internet City daily for business, it is a lucrative opportunity.

So what are the kinds of retail businesses that you can set up in Dubai Internet City?

  • ICT support service
  • Convenience store
  • Restaurant
  • Cafeteria
  • Pastry shop
  • Banking services
  • Beauty salons
  • Fitness centers
  • Car rentals
  • Pharmacies
  • Medical clinic
  • Computer and electronic accessories
  • Courier services
  • Laundry services
  • Nursing
  • Printers or printing services
  • Supermarkets
  • Travel agencies
  • Miscellaneous: Besides that, you can open any kind of retail business given that it must cater to the working professionals in DIC and must be licensed.

Things to keep in mind before deciding type of business activity: Business startup

  • Each kind of retail business activity requires a different license to pursue business in that category.
  • It is important to be mindful of round the clock working hours for the customers that you will be servicing.
  • And also the service has to be of international standards owing to multi-cultural population working in this area.
  • You can get in touch with international business consultants Commitbiz who have thorough expertise in the business set up in this area and will guide you in selecting an appropriate retail business.

What are the various products available in the Dubai Internet City?

As a leading Information and technology park, DIC offers following products/facilities at competitive prices.

  • Commercial office spaces
  • First steps business center
  • Land
  • Conference facility

How to set up retail business in Dubai internet city?

The process is very simple and requires very less documentation. Broadly speaking we can divide the process into three steps

  1. Submission of application by the prospective retailer
  • A business owner needs to submit a duly filled application form with a detailed and extensive Business plan.

Your business plan must contain information about your product, the market you want to operate in, market segmentation, branding a promotion.

Information on the management team, the board of directors and advisors is also expected to be in the business plan.

  • Valid passport copy of the manager of the proposed company and legal representative is also required.
  • In case you are an already established company is looking to establish a branch then a UAE license copy is also required.
  1. After the application has been submitted, you need to submit the following documents to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Here is the checklist

  • Application of registration
  • Trade license of parent company issued by DED
  • Memorandum of association and article of association of the parent company
  • No objection certificate from UAE sponsor
  • RIC form of the manager
  • Resolution of the establishment of a branch.

The above documents must be in English or in Arabic. Any other language is currently not accepted by the authorities.

There is also a fee that needs to be paid along with these documents. At this point, it is also advised that you find a suitable commercial space to run your retail business.

According to the type of business ownership following forms are also required to be submitted.

  • Board resolution to establish a branch
  • In case of a natural person as a shareholder, registry identification code form is also required
  • The same form is required in case there is a corporate persona as a shareholder.
  1. Successful submission:

Upon successful submission, a business owner can sign and collect the lease and business license.

The process of business set up in this area is although simple, but a lot of documentation and approval processes are involved in getting things done right.

For a retail business to run successfully in this region, local knowledge and international business acumen are much needed.  We come packed with years of business consulting experience in this region.

If you think you have a retail business idea which is waiting to be executed, do reach us to convert your dreams into reality.


1. Which extra form is required in case a natural person is the shareholder of a retail business in DIC?

Registry Identification Code Form.

2. Do we need a board resolution to establish a branch of a retail company in Dubai Internet City?


3. In which languages the documents are allowed to be submitted to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry?

English or Arabic.

4. What all should be included in the business plan for incorporating a retail company in DIC free economic zone?

The business plan must comprise the product information, branding a promotion, market segmentation, information on the management team & board of directors, etc.

5. What is the flagship benefit of the special economic zone of the Internet City in Dubai?

The facility of 100% foreign ownership of the company can be availed.

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