Which Emirate in the UAE is best for Starting a Business?

by Zaara 03, Nov 2020

Living and doing business in the United Arab Emirates has many prospects. Setting up a company in the UAE has always been encouraged by their pro-business initiatives, economic stability, state-of-art-infrastructure, advancement in technology, ease of doing business and much more. The current market trends in the UAE and its Emirates offer humongous opportunities for foreign investors to tap into imports and export of goods, as well as taking benefit of the increasing tourist traffic of the city for an almost unlimited number of potential clients and customers going your way.

The main question that arises for a foreigner wanting to start a business in the UAE is where in the UAE? As you all know, the UAE consists of seven Emirates, namely – Dubai, Abu Dhabi. Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain. Every Emirate has its advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your business activity and what a particular Emirate is offering, you can choose your location.

Nevertheless, we at Commitbiz are here to help you make this decision. So, let us dive into understanding which Emirate will suit your business. It is important to note that the procedure to set up a business is similar and secure in every Emirate. That’s why we must know which Emirate provides the advantages for your business.


Dubai is said to be the most popular destination for setting up a business due to its liberal cultural atmosphere. Its free zones, DAFZA, DMCC, and Media City, are the leading free zone service providers. The Emirate is well-known as a powerful global centre for re-export and transit mainly due to the port of Jebel Ali, which serves more than 140 destinations. The Emirate is also a springboard for accessing promising markets in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, whose total GDP is projected to exceed 12.8 billion US dollars by 2030.

The advantages of opening a company in Dubai are –

  • A vibrant and growing economy excelling in sectors such as logistics, trade, transportation, and tourism as it accounts for almost 60% of Dubai’s GDP
  • Favourable investment atmosphere and government support
  • Dubai has more than 20 Free Zones, and they accommodate several industrial and business clusters
  • Dubai is strategically located between Asia, Europe and Africa and its proximity to the Asian giants, China and India makes its location advantageous
  • Dubai has one of the best infrastructural facilities in the world, be it the road networks, telecommunications, ports and airports
  • Thousands of professionals worldwide immigrate to Dubai thanks to the liberal labour laws of the land

2.Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the federal capital of the Emirates and is one of the fastest-growing and wealthy market worldwide. For investors wishing to set up a company in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi is a feasible location of choice. The corporate norms and business setup process in the Emirate are simple, and it takes only a few days for setting up a company in Abu Dhabi.

The advantages of opening a company in Abu Dhabi are –

  • Strategic location between Europe, Asia, and Africa and close access to the rest of the world
  • 100% foreign ownership and provides an exemption from corporate and personal income tax
  • There are no foreign exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers
  • The living standards in Abu Dhabi are top-notch, with world-class facilities in healthcare, residences, recreation, education, and transportation.


Sharjah is catching up as an economical substitute to Dubai for establishing a business due to the proximity toward an International Airport and coupled ports on the west and east coasts of the Arabian Gulf having direct entry to North Africa and the Indian Ocean.

The advantages of opening a company in Sharjah are –

  • Sharjah is a tax haven (no corporate or income tax)
  • It has an up-to-date legal framework
  • There are no foreign exchange controls, trade barriers or quotas
  • Security of investment
  • Sundry incentives from the Government of Sharjah for investors

4.Ras Al Khaimah

RAK, situated in the northern end of the Emirates witnesses a flood of foreign investors as it is one of the most developed economies in the Emirates that have seen marvellous economic development. It has a physical presence in the Emirate builds trust among the citizens, helps in forging long-term consumers relationships, and obtaining trade contacts in the UAE.

The advantages of opening a company in RAK are –

  • Easy and business-friendly legal framework and company laws that ensure the security of investment
  • Government-sponsored incentives for investors
  • Business-friendly environment and an easy process to set up a company
  • Double Taxation Agreement with multiple countries, which turns out to be a benefit for business owners to transit business


Fujairah has been dynamically developing since the last decade, and now lures foreign investments into the national economy. Today, the business owners and investors from all over the world express a desire to open a company in Fujairah.

The advantages of opening a company in Fujairah are –

  • Strategic location
  • A worldwide business focal point
  • Gateway for other vast business nations
  • The modern, efficient, and sophisticated communication system
  • State policies permit full repatriation of capital and profits
  • The Emirate has advanced infrastructure and efficient communication facilities at a relatively inexpensive cost
  • Fujairah supports sponsorship and visas for an affordable skilled workforce


Another Emirate in the UAE is Ajman. Being the small of all, Ajman provides low set up and maintenance costs for companies established there. The Emirate offers extensive advantages which have led to high demand among the overseas investors, SMEs and budding entrepreneurs.

The advantages of opening a company in Ajman are –

  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • No red tape
  • Corporate tax is fully exempted for companies
  • Business-friendly laws for the companies
  • Simplified immigration policies and quick for workers

7.Umm Al Quwain (UAQ)

UAQ is slowly emerging as one of the Emirate to set up a business in the UAE. UAQ is said to be a perfect location for micro-businesses as well as SMEs. So, the businesspersons should try setting up their new businesses here because it has a lot of potential for the new business persons for developing their businesses and making progress in it.

The advantages of opening a company in UAQ are –

  • Zero restrictions on hiring foreign employees
  • The simple and streamlined business registration process to enhance convenience
  • Particular concession through Umm Al Quwain free zone seaport
  • World-class facilities and infrastructure with total connectivity and 24*7 security
  • Facilities like warehouses, pre-built structures, and office space available as per your exclusive needs
  • Complete support extended by the government, especially to SMEs and startups

All the Emirate are the best for setting up your ideal business, but at the end of the day, the decision lies in your hand. But if you need further help, then we at Commitbiz can assist you. Contact us today for more information.


What are the things to keep in mind before getting financed by UAE Banks?

The banks will take into consideration several factors before giving you the credit facility. These include -

  • Type of the business activity
  • Past track record of you and your business
  • Management
  • Copy of the Trade license, Power of Attorney, passport of the shareholders
  • Chamber of Commerce registration certificate

What is the tax imposed on the hotel industry in UAE?

5-10 percent taxes are charged on hotel-based business activities.

What are the working hours in UAE?

For most, it's 8 hours per day (48 hours per week). However, the timings can be increased to 9 hours per day for people employed in retail, hospitality, tourism sectors, or any sector falling under the commercial category.

What are the challenges of doing business in UAE for foreign investors?

  • If you want to do business outside the Freezones you’ll have to appoint a local agent who will own 51% of the business (on paper). The agents will be entitled to a certain fee every year.
  • English is not a common language in UAE.
  • The existence of so many federal laws, on top of that the laws of every emirate are too complex for a foreigner to deal with.

However, in such cases, it’s always advised to appoint a business setup company that is well versed with the laws in UAE and has a proven track record of helping businesses set up their market in UAE.

If you want affordable and hassle-free services for your business, contact Commitbiz Management Consultants for assistance now.

What is the minimum share capital required for setting up a company in UAE?

Depending on the Emirate and the business activity the minimum share capital is - 

  • Approximately AED 150000 (USD 40838.27) to AED 300000 (USD 81676.54) for a Mainland.
  • AED 50000 (USD 13612.76) to AED 1000000 (USD 272255.15) for a Freezone.