The United Arab Emirates consists of seven states: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Qaiwain.
Each of these emirates has its own identity and individual characteristics, but they also share a great many commonalities and this country profile will concentrate on the commonalities and, as such, can be used as a guide to all the states which comprise the UAE.
Most international businesses set up in Dubai, due to the Free Zone (FZ) environment (see below). Abu Dhabi is popular, as the Capital of the UAE, and if your business needs Government support or is related to Oil & Gas services, Aviation of the Military, as key sectors needing support.
The UAE has experienced broad-based and dynamic growth which has been underpinned by continuous efforts to strengthen the business climate, boost investment, and foster the emergence of a more vibrant and diverse private sector.
The largely liberal trade regime has helped to sustain a momentum for growth, which is targeting the Expo 2020 event in Dubai as a short term pinnacle – www.expo2020dubai.ae
The UAE aims to be a regional financial hub, and its banking sector is resilient, when compared to the rest of the MENA region.
A key issue to bear in mind when doing business in the Emirates is the cosmopolitan nature of the population. Over 80% of the population of the region are non-locals. It is almost more likely, therefore, that you will be doing business with a western expatriate then with a local Emirati. A key question to ask before starting any project in the UAE should be: ‘Who am I dealing with?’ Many expats are from the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and leading European countries. The largest number of expats are Indian as there are 1.2 Bn Indians just 3.5 hours flight away.
Doing business in the UAE may be different from your home market for a variety of reasons. The county’s Islamic values underpin everything from its legal systems to working life, and entrepreneurs will need to consider these.
Women are being increasingly empowered and have been appointed to roles on the UAE Cabinet. Many have prominent roles in business, especially in the financial and professional services sector.
The UAE’s culture is rooted in Islamic traditions. Courtesy and hospitality are amongst the most highly prized of virtues, and this is reflected in the warmth and friendliness of the local people. UAE society is marked by a high degree of tolerance for different lifestyles. It is a liberal society by any measure and is rated as among the safest in the world.
Do some research in advance and work out, not only who you will be dealing with directly, but also who is the final decision-maker. You may be dealing with an Indian – but are they reporting to a local, senior business man?
The ruling family in each of the emirates continue to play a leading role and the dominant emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai that remains the case.