Dubai is one of the most beneficial and welcoming business centres in the world. There are company forms and locations to match the needs of every type of business.
There are six main forms of company to incorporate in Dubai. These include International Business Company (otherwise known as an IBC or RAK Offshore Company), Limited Liability Company, Public Joint Stock Company, Private Joint Stock Company, Branch, and Representative Office.
An International Business Company can be advantageous for a number of business types and sizes. For example, international trade, ownership of intellectual property, asset protection, direct ownership of real estate, or global holding companies. It is the most popular type of company is exclusive to Dubai as it focuses on export and international trading. Businesses conducting onshore operations within the UAE should be aware that many IBC benefits do not apply to this type.
Limited Liability Companies are the most widely used commercial entity for non-UAE national companies, especially for companies aiming to conduct commercial activities within Dubai. Shares may not be offered to the public as it is a private company.
Public Joint Stock Companies can be compared to a Public Limited Company in the UK, and even an Aktiengesellschaft (AG) in Germany. The main requirements for this type of company include a minimum share capital amount of AED 10,000,000, and at least ten founders.
Private Joint Stock Companies are similar to Private Limited Companies in the UK. Its main requirements include a minimum share capital of AED 2,000,000 and at least three founding shareholders. Many regulations applicable to Public Joint Stock Companies also apply to Private Joint Stock Companies, except for the public’s involvement in shares which is not applicable with Private Companies.
Branches in Dubai are the same as in every European country; the foreign parent must be responsible for all the actions and activities of the Branch. There are some restrictions to Branches of non-UAE nationals, however, such as importing goods.
Representative Offices are much more restricted than Branches in Dubai. The entity is only permitted to promote its foreign parent company’s activities and aid the head office projects by gathering information and soliciting orders. The number of employees is also restricted. Representative Offices are then used mainly as administrative and marketing centres.
The best location for your business depends on the business sector or industry it is in. Dubai offers a range of Free Trade Zones specifically designed to facilitate certain types of business. These Free Trade Zones offer different opportunities and advantages to investors. The biggest and most beneficial Free Zone in Dubai is Ras Al Khaimah or RAK for short. It is one of the fastest growing Free Trade Zones, feeding off the booming UAE economy. Some of its benefits include low operating and resident costs, location and proximity to transportation such as airports and ports, and taxation incentives when trading in Dubai.
Other Free Zones within Dubai include Dubai Airport Free zone (DAFZA), the Dubai Technology & Media Free Zone (TECOM), the Dubai Cars & Automotive Free Zone, the Dubai Health Care City, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, the Gold and Diamond Park.
There are a huge number of benefits to take advantage of when setting up a company in Dubai. There is 0% Corporation Tax, 0% Personal Tax, no Customs Duty and no currency restrictions. Business owners can enjoy complete foreign ownership and full repatriation of capital and profits. Additionally, compulsory accounts are not required to be submitted, there are no banking transfer limits or disclosure on current information necessary to other tax authorities, low renewal fees, and accessible licencing procedures. All of this is added to an almost non-existence crime rate and duty free export to seventeen countries throughout the Middle East.