Dubai Business & Economy – 2017

Dubai Economic Outlook 2017 – Dubai economy and GDP like to grow by 4% between 2017 – 2020. World EXPO 2020 event, infrastructure & tourism projects as well as economic diversification plans to ensure sustained growth momentum in mid-to-long term.

Dubai – The Economic Capital of UAE & MENA Region
Located at a strategic point, between the East and West, Dubai is one of the largest and the most inhabited city (Population – 2.8 million – August 2017) in United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai’s evolution can be attributed to the forward thinking approach of the founding fathers of UAE. They encouraged business friendly environment and strived to build a world class infrastructure; in a short span of three decades. Today, Dubai has not only emerged as a regional economic hub, but is also considered theHong Kong of the Middle East.

Dubai – Global Reputation
The UAE, trades with more than 220 countries, accounting for 1.3% of global trade, which can be attributed largely to Dubai’s contribution. With ever improving infrastructure, political stability, security and its renowned flagship carrier Emirates Airline connecting Dubai with more than 140 destinations, Dubai is known for multicultural-vibrancy and hosting expats from various countries. Thus, with the availability of such facilities Dubai has evolved to become an ideal place for businesses, ranking among the Top 10 Most Popular Business Locations around the world.

Dubai Economy & Transformation (1960s – 2017)
In 1960s, oil revenues largely accelerated the early development of the Emirate, although currently, less than 5% of Dubai’s revenue comes from oil & gas. Today, through government initiatives to diversify, the economy of Dubai is one of the most unique and unusual in the world and is classified as the Most-Diversified Economy (MDE) in the world with sectors such as financial services, real estate, retail, hospitality & tourism, manufacturing and logistics being the major contributors to the economy and GDP. Likewise, education, e-Commerce, healthcare, innovation & IT, sustainable energy and medical tourism are some of the major upcoming sectors in Dubai and UAE.


Dubai – Economic Outlook & GDP Growth (2017)
Dubai is touted as the economic hub in the Middle East as it has successfully diversified into a range of sectors and industries. Dubai’s GDP worth (value) is estimated well above DH 400 billion ($110 billion) and its GDP growth rate is expected to hover around 2.8% in 2017. On the contrary, IMF (International Monetary Fund) forecasted a slightly higher GDP growth rate of 3.6% for Dubai in 2017. Experts believe Dubai’s GDP will grow by 4% between 2017-2020 on the backdrop of major infrastructure and tourism development projects announced, including but not limited to World EXPO 2020 Dubai event, which will attract 25 million visitors (70% international visitors) between October 2020 – March 2021.


Dubai – Ease of Doing Business
Dubai has favorable business policies in place, which encourages the establishment of companies in the Emirate. Many organizations that wish to cater to Middle East, African and even South Asian markets, prefer setting up offices in Dubai. Besides, Dubai being the economic and commercial hub of the region, this also acts as a natural catalyst towards attracting thousands of business every year from around the world.

The government of Dubai strives to improve business environment and make business friendly policies, encouraging and promoting foreign direct investment in the Emirate. Dubai is also committed to more transparent and better communication processes between the public and private sectors.

Dubai Ranking – Top Global City for Economic Competitiveness

  • 3rd Most Improved Cities for Living (Last 5 Years) – Economic Intelligence Unit
  • 4th Most Visited Tourist Destination Globally – Research Konnection
  • 5th Global Affordability, Cost of Living & Purchasing Power Index – PWC
  • 5th Highest Performing Metropolitan City Globally – Brookings Institution
  • 5th Fastest Growing City Globally – Brookings Institution

Dubai – Business License Registration & Company Formation
In Dubai, there are two kinds of license registration; Mainland company registration which is done with the Dubai Economic Department (DED) or Free Zone registration, which is done by a Free Zone Authority in Dubai.

Type of Licenses – Typically, there are three kinds of licenses that DED issuesCommercial, Professional and Industrial licenses and business owners can select license from a DED list of 2,100 activities. Free zone license allow foreign investors to have 100% ownership of the business.

Future of Dubai EconomyWith Dubai hosting Expo 2020, it is expected that the UAE economy will get a boost of $6.9 billion, the money being designated to infrastructural projects, further accelerating growth. Moreover, with the UAE’s Vision 2021, the country aims to diversify its income resources, promote a green economy, foster a knowledge economy and plan the move away from dependence on oil.

Recently UAE government has announced the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) law on luxury consumer products. The new tax law will have long-term benefit to Dubai and UAE’s economy as it will help UAE and Dubai to regulate the informal economy (cash-based businesses), create new jobs and provide new revenue sources, enabling spending on economic, social and infrastructure projects.

Investment Opportunities in Dubai and UAE
The UAE provides vast opportunities for businesses. With its positive rankings on international indexes, it is obvious that the UAE, particularly Dubai is one of the best places to invest and set up businesses in. The pro business practices and friendly laws are highly beneficial for businesses. While, it is true that in the current fiscal year growth rate has fallen due to the reduction in oil prices, it is expected that the growth rate will rise soon, due to the projected oil price rise and rise in investments. Furthermore, Expo 2020 further provides opportunities for businesses, with the expectation that the economy will further grow.

Research Konnection – Market Research, Feasibility Study & Business Plan Services Dubai (UAE)
Research Konnection is a Dubai (UAE) based market research company that assists business owners, investors and companies to setup or expand Businesses in Dubai and UAE smoothly. At Research Konnection, we specialize in Market Research, Feasibility Studies and Business Plan Developments. Feel free to reach out to us on

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at
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