Businesses Continue to Invest and Expand in Dubai, Dubai Economy

  • FDI Law, preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai and restructuring of economic activities spurred optimism among investors
  • 38,377 new licences issued in 2019, leading to creating 184,437 jobs
  • Rental value of units leased to companies in Dubai last year reached AED 26.2 billion

Dubai Economy confirmed that the emirate’s economic competitiveness and its ability to attract investors to grow and expand their businesses in various economic sectors have been further strengthened in 2019.

According to a recent report by the Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) sector in Dubai Economy, 38,377 new licences have been issued in 2019, a record growth of 90% compared to 2018 (20,129). Meanwhile, the past year also saw a decrease in the number of licences cancelled compared to 2018, from 5,037 to 4,949.

Dubai Economy said that the Foreign Direct Investment Law (FDI Law) contributed to attracting and encouraging foreign direct investment to Dubai’s economic sectors and targeted activities. It allowed for an increase in the number of investors, which has led to more companies now setting up business in the emirate. The FDI Law also provides the framework for attracting foreign investment in various strategic sectors to build a globally competitive economy based on knowledge and innovation.

Dubai Economy has opened new horizons for businesses in Dubai by restructuring economic activities with 50 commercial activities and 35 light industrial activities converted into professional activities. This, in turn, allowed investors to acquire 100% ownership, and motivated new investors to choose professional licenses and Dubai as a destination for investment in the region. The introduction of the Instant Licence and the DED Trader licence were also part of the enhancements to attract new businesses.

The preparations and countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai, which is expected to be visited by more than 25 million visitors, have contributed to attracting a large number of hospitality companies, restaurants, hotels and supply companies to invest in the city.

The figures issued by the ‘Business Map’ confirms the continuous support given by Dubai Economy to the emirate’s ambitious journey towards excellence and reinforce Dubai’s position in the global and regional economy as a centre of finance and business. The figures also demonstrate the strong cooperation of the government and private sectors, and the latter’s role in helping achieve the vision of the United Arab Emirates, and Dubai, to excel in all fields.

Overall, 324,773 business registration and licensing transactions were recorded in 2019, while the rental value of the units leased to companies in Dubai amounted to AED 26.2 billion as more businesses and investors gained from the emirate’s competitiveness and increasing opportunities across diverse economic sectors.

The outsourced centres, which are the foremost service outlets of Dubai Economy and key players in enhancing ease of doing business across Dubai, handled 76% (247,550) of the total business registration and licensing transactions in 2019 (324,773) demonstrating their vital role in delivering value-added services to the public in Dubai.

The report showed that License Renewal accounted for 140,951 transactions in 2019, including 108,407 licence renewals and 32,544 licence renewals and modifications, while 67,701 (48%) transactions were related to Auto Renewal via text messages.

Trade Name Reservation accounted for 53,037 transactions in 2019, while the number of Initial Approvals reached 43,300 and the total number of Commercial Permits were 16,271. This confirms Dubai’s attractiveness for commercial activities as well as the increasing business confidence in the strength of the local economy.

The report also showed that 2,531 instant licences were issued, processed in a single step without the need for either the Memorandum of Association or an existing location for the first year, while the number of DED Trader licenses, which allow to conduct business activities on websites and social media channels, reached 2,587 in 2019.

The businessmen who secured new licenses in 2019 included those from Britain, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan.

According to report, 58% of the new licences issued in 2019 were professional (22,282 licences), 40% commercial (15,282), 1.6% related to tourism (613) and 0.4% industry (200), and together, they created 184,437 jobs.

In distribution of new licences, Bur Dubai accounted for the largest share (20,536), followed by Deira (17,798), and Hatta (43) licences. The top sub-regions in 2019 were: Burj Khalifa, Al Garhoud, Port Saeed, Trade Centre 1, Al Fahidi, Al Barsha 1, Al Marrar, Riggat Al Buteen, Oud Metha, and Hor Al Anz East.

Real estate, leasing & business services accounted for 41.7% of the economic activities licensed in 2019, followed by: Trade & repair services (26.6%), Building & construction (9.8%), Community & personal services (9.2%), Transport, storage & communications (3.7%), Hotels group (3.5%), Manufacturing (1.8%), Financial brokerage (1.7%), health & labour (1%), Contracting group (0.4%), Education (0.4%), and Agriculture (0.2%).

The Business Map,, seeks to reflect the economic realities in Dubai by providing vital data on each license category including their numbers and distribution as well as investor trends on a monthly basis. It also includes an interactive guide explaining the geographic distribution and concentration of major business activities and the rate of urban growth in terms of expanding neighbourhoods and business licenses.


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