+1 (347) 927-396

Where to Setup a Company in Dubai

Dubai, one of the fastest-growing business hubs in the world, offers numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors looking to set up a company. With its strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and business-friendly environment, Dubai has become an attractive destination for businesses across various sectors. In this article, we will explore the key factors to consider when choosing a location to set up your company in Dubai.

When it comes to setting up a company in Dubai, choosing the right location is crucial for success. The city offers several free zones, mainland areas, and offshore options, each with its own advantages and considerations. Here are some of the top locations to consider:

1. Dubai Free Zones

Dubai has numerous free zones that provide a favorable environment for businesses. These zones offer 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and customs privileges. Some of the prominent free zones include:

  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC): Known as the world’s largest free zone for trading in commodities, DMCC is an ideal location for businesses in the commodities sector.

  • Dubai Internet City (DIC): DIC is a vibrant free zone dedicated to technology and innovation-based companies. It offers state-of-the-art infrastructure and a supportive ecosystem.

  • Dubai Media City (DMC): DMC is the region’s largest media hub, attracting media and entertainment companies. It provides excellent networking opportunities and access to a talented workforce.

  • Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP): DKP focuses on the education and training sectors, making it an ideal choice for businesses in the education industry.

2. Mainland Dubai

Setting up a company in the mainland of Dubai allows you to tap into the local market and access government contracts. However, mainland companies require a local sponsor or partner with a minimum ownership of 51%. Here are some key mainland areas to consider:

  • Sheikh Zayed Road: Located in the heart of Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road is a prime location for businesses. It offers excellent connectivity, accessibility, and a prestigious business address.

  • Business Bay: Business Bay is a rapidly developing commercial district in Dubai, with a mix of residential and commercial properties. It provides proximity to downtown Dubai and offers a dynamic business environment.

  • Dubai Marina: Known for its stunning waterfront views, Dubai Marina is a popular location for businesses in the hospitality, tourism, and real estate sectors. It offers a vibrant lifestyle and easy access to amenities.

3. Offshore Company Formation

Dubai also provides offshore company formation options through the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) and the Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Centre (RAK ICC). These offshore companies are suitable for international businesses looking for tax optimization and asset protection.

Key Takeaways

  • Dubai offers a range of options for setting up a company, including free zones, mainland areas, and offshore formations.

  • Free zones provide tax exemptions, 100% foreign ownership, and customs privileges.

  • Mainland companies allow access to the local market and government contracts but require a local sponsor or partner.

  • Offshore formations offer tax optimization and asset protection for international businesses.

  • Consider the nature of your business, industry requirements, target market, and long-term goals when choosing a location in Dubai.


Setting up a company in Dubai provides a gateway to the thriving Middle Eastern market and global business opportunities. Whether you choose a free zone, mainland area, or offshore formation, Dubai offers a favorable business environment with its world-class infrastructure and strategic location. Careful consideration of the location, along with your business requirements, will pave the way for success in this dynamic city.


What are the advantages of setting up a company in a Dubai free zone?

Free zones offer 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and customs privileges.

Can I set up a mainland company in Dubai without a local partner?

No, mainland companies require a local sponsor or partner with a minimum ownership of 51%.

Are there any specific requirements for setting up a company in Dubai mainland?

Yes, you need to fulfill certain legal requirements, such as obtaining a trade license and registering with the Department of Economic Development.

What are the main sectors in which Dubai free zones specialize?

Dubai free zones specialize in various sectors, including technology, media, education, logistics, and commodities.

Can I access the local market with a company set up in a Dubai free zone?

Free zone companies can access the local market through distributors or by partnering with mainland companies.

What are the benefits of setting up an offshore company in Dubai?

Offshore companies in Dubai offer tax optimization, asset protection, and confidentiality for international businesses.

What is the difference between JAFZA and RAK ICC for offshore company formation?

JAFZA and RAK ICC are two different offshore jurisdictions in Dubai, each with its own regulations and advantages.

How long does it take to set up a company in Dubai?

The time required to set up a company in Dubai varies depending on the type of company and the chosen location. It can range from a few days to several weeks.

Are there any restrictions on foreign ownership in Dubai?

In mainland Dubai, foreign ownership is limited to 49%, with a local partner holding the remaining 51%. Free zones, on the other hand, allow 100% foreign ownership.

Can I apply for residency through my company in Dubai?

Yes, setting up a company in Dubai can provide opportunities for obtaining residency visas for business owners and their employees.