Top 10 types of businesses to open in Dubai

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For Russian entrepreneurs who have long been considering what kind of business to open in Dubai, it's time to take action. Implementing the boldest ideas and starting your own business in the Emirates is worth it right now. The high standard of living, the country's friendliness towards foreigners, and favorable conditions for doing business attract many Russian businessmen, and soon there may simply be no room left for new players in the market.

Trading and Logistics Business

The geographical location provides the UAE with fast and convenient access to Europe and Asia, facilitating the establishment of connections with partners in different regions. The UAE's infrastructure is recognized as one of the world's leading and best in the region, but it continues to improve. Among the promising business ideas in Dubai for activities in the trading and logistics sector, the following can be highlighted:

  • Aviation logistics
  • Warehousing services
  • Cargo handling, loading, and labeling
  • Passenger catering services on transport
  • Passenger and commercial charter boat transportation, etc.

A license is required to operate in these sectors. Additional approvals may be required from various government agencies in the emirate.

IT Business

Previously, IT companies relocated to traditional offshore zones to optimize taxes. But today, with offshore jurisdictions tightening tax policies, more and more programmers and entrepreneurs are opting to start their own IT businesses in the Emirates. Several advantages of the jurisdiction contribute to this:

  • Prestigious registration location
  • In some free zones, there is no need to rent a physical office
  • Programmers can legally work from anywhere in the world
  • Financial benefits - legal tax optimization

Prospective options for IT businesses in Dubai for Russians include:

  • Cybersecurity
  • IT business support
  • Digital and analytical services
  • Data recovery and management
  • Network administration, cloud technologies, and programming.

Construction Industry

The UAE is actively developing transportation and logistics systems, the energy sector, tourism infrastructure, and residential construction. Therefore, services of companies engaged in turnkey finishing, highly qualified construction teams, consultants, and development experts are in demand. Another promising business idea is the production and sale of building materials.

The company can act as a subcontractor, contractor, general contractor, client, or combine several functions. Depending on the chosen sphere of activity, a professional project or specialized license may be required. A simple license may also be suitable for trading in building materials.

Tourism Business

Dubai is one of the centers of global tourism. For entrepreneurs ready to open a business in the tourism sector, choosing the UAE as a location for starting up has several advantages:

  • Developed infrastructure
  • High demand and affluent clients
  • Open air links with almost all countries.

A non-resident of the UAE can become the owner of a hotel business (open a hostel, apartment hotel), provide tourists with concierge services for information requests, ticket booking, organize excursions within and beyond the emirate's territory, and engage in transportation rental.

For entrepreneurs with large starting capital, earning from organizing package tours is available. Tour operators in the UAE can obtain a license for inbound or outbound tourism organization. An outbound tourism agency provides global coverage, while inbound tour operators only operate within the UAE.

Crypto Business

The United Arab Emirates is one of the cryptocurrency and digital asset-friendly countries. Foreign companies can start a business in a short time and take advantage of tax benefits. Regulators freely issue licenses for activities related to virtual currencies: trading and service activities, exchange operations, mining, venture investments, and promotion of crypto startups, digital asset security provision, allowing businesses to fully legalize their operations.

Sale of Abandoned Cars

Until 2017, bankruptcy procedures were practically absent in the UAE. If an individual or company had debts, criminal liability loomed, and selling assets (even to pay off debts) was impossible. Therefore, bankrupt entrepreneurs found it easier to leave their property and leave the country.

Because of this, after the economic crises of 2008 and 2013-2014, Dubai became a real supercar graveyard: foreigners left Ferraris, Mercedes, BMWs, and other cars in airport parking lots, near hotels, or directly on the sides of roads. Some owners attached documents, notes, or left keys to the windshields.

To buy an abandoned supercar and then resell it profitably, you can only participate in a police auction. There are realtors who deliberately try to find abandoned cars before the police and put them up for sale, but this is a bad idea: such deals are illegal. Legal issues can arise not only for the seller but also for the buyer.

Opening a restaurant

If a Russian entrepreneur understands the mentality and tastes of guests well in Russia, they immediately encounter local peculiarities in Dubai, which directly affect profitability. To avoid failure, before entering the UAE market, one must carefully study potential customers and take this information into account when developing a business plan and growth strategy.

The peculiarities of the restaurant business in Dubai include limited alcohol licenses and high competition among potential tenants. On some streets in Dubai, alcohol licenses are not issued. In other emirates, buying and selling alcoholic beverages is even more difficult. Finding a suitable location may also pose difficulties. To convince a property owner to enter into a lease agreement, an entrepreneur must provide a strong business plan and financial justification for the idea.

A common mistake is the categorical refusal of Russian entrepreneurs to buy an existing business in the UAE. In Dubai, this strategy can be convenient and profitable. It is also advisable to consult with fellow restaurateurs who already have experience in the Emirates. Russian entrepreneurs assist newcomers, but one must be prepared to pay for consultation.

Opening an event agency

Dubai frequently hosts exhibitions, presentations, conferences, and private events. Organizing business meetings and private parties can be lucrative. However, when working in another country, an event agency or manager must consider national peculiarities and allocate more time for preparation.

Opening a modeling agency

Dubai has many modeling and event agencies that need models. One can try to occupy a place in this market or open a school to train girls for a career in the modeling business. This direction is promising because the requirements for models in Dubai differ from global standards. Even girls of short stature or plus size can find work here.

Opening a marketing agency

Dubai's advertising market offers many opportunities for Russian entrepreneurs to develop their businesses. Marketing and digital agencies must obtain a professional media license. For registration, one can choose the main territory (a good option if planning to engage in indoor advertising) or a free economic zone. Suitable options include Dubai Media City (DMC), Internet City, and Dubai Production City (DPC). In other emirates, favorable conditions are offered in the RAKEZ (Ras Al Khaimah) and AFZA (Ajman) free zones.

Advantages of opening a business in the UAE

Russian businesses have not flocked to the United Arab Emirates for no reason. Russian and foreign entrepreneurs who have opened businesses in Dubai emphasize its high profitability, which exceeds by a third similar indicators in other markets. Among the advantages, one can also highlight:

  • absence of currency control;
  • a solvent market;
  • the possibility of obtaining a residency visa;
  • zero tax rates for most types of taxes;
  • opening a business with 100% foreign ownership in the UAE;
  • reliable banking system;
  • political stability;
  • simplified financial reporting for companies in free zones.
  • Disadvantages of opening a business in the United Arab Emirates

The main difficulties and requirements faced by Russian entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates when opening a business include:

the need for transparent document management;

serious checks when opening a bank account;

lack of clear regulation in the field of intellectual property;

cultural differences (conducting business must take into account the peculiarities of the business environment).

Cost of opening a company in the UAE

The cost of opening a company in Dubai depends on the specifics of the business: whether a physical office is needed or a postal address is sufficient, what type of license is required, etc. Implementing a business idea from scratch costs about $25,000. This sum includes obtaining a residency visa, purchasing a license, legal support, and other services.

In the Emirates, innovative business ideas can be implemented, and traditional companies can be opened: there is enough room for everyone in the market. There is also an option for those who are not ready to start from scratch – they can purchase an existing business. Buying a promising Dubai or relocated Russian company can be cheaper than realizing one's own idea.

Understanding the nuances of doing business in the Emirates and the rules of opening a company is difficult without the help of specialists. The Level Consulting consulting agency is a leading company in the UAE market. Experts have extensive experience in opening businesses in the United Arab Emirates and relocating them to the country. They will assist at every stage – from consultation and direction selection to operational activity support.

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Learn about the benefits and details of starting or relocating a business in the UAE