Business licenses up in Dubai as UAE optimism grows

Business is booming in Dubai, with a 13% increase in business licenses issued in 2014. Our UAE expert updates.

Much has been said about the UAE providing a gateway between the West and the Middle East; its pro-business policies and backing for foreign investment has been leading the way, perhaps only second to Qatar in its efforts to encouraging business to set up in the Emirates.

Those efforts are truly coming to fruition now, according to figures released over the weekend. Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) reported an increase of 13% in the number of business licenses issued in 2014, with a total number of 21,358 compared to 18,848 for 2013. It’s a tangible sign of the optimism that prevails in the UAE economy, especially as the investment crosses sectors: industrial licenses saw the largest increase, followed by commercial and tourism licenses and finally professional licenses.

And with preparations for Expo 2020 well underway, Dubai’s reputation as the home of foreign investment for the Middle East looks set to remain for a long time to come.

At a glance

  • Number of amended licences reached 85,548 in 2014 compared to 74,859 in 2013, an increase of 14% 
  • Total licences renewed increased four per cent to reach 118,953 from 114,218
  • The number of total transactions completed in 2014 was 577,400
  • The number of reserved trade names in 2014 was 83,599, an increase of 12% over the 74,750 names reserved in 2013
  • Initial approvals increased 14% from the previous year and reached 38,580
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC) accounted 14,701 of the licences in 2014 compared to 12,549 in 2013, a growth rate of 17%
  • Sole proprietorship licences rose six per cent, from 5,375 in 2013 to 5,090 in 2014
  • Licences issued to branches of free zone companies in 2014 showed 129% increase - from 45 in 2013 to 103 in 2014 
  • The number of private shareholding companies increased by 43%, public shareholding companies by 36% and branches of foreign companies licensed increased 15%
  • LLCs accounted for 67% of the total licences issued in 2014 followed by Sole Proprietorship Companies (27%) and Civil Works companies (4%)

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