Whether you are pursuing the promise of financial independence or financial security, setting up an online business in Dubai is one of the most profitable experiences for you as a foreign investor.
According to The International Trade Administration, the UAE is the eCommerce leader among GCC states, where the market jumped by 53% in 2020 with a record of $3.9 billion in eCommerce sales, which constituted 10% of total retail sales. Technological advancements and favourable economic policies are only two of the factors that contribute to these large numbers. The added element of the global pandemic has drastically shaped Dubai’s digital industry, with online business thriving continually. Dubai has undoubtedly the biggest online market in all of the Middle East, boasting a thriving business environment, tax benefits, and access to booming global markets. With fast transactions, constantly developing and emerging markets, and digital platforms, it is equipped with all the tools that make it easier to carry out your business online.
This blog intends to cover the following, which includes everything you need to know about starting an online business in Dubai:
An Overview: Current Trends and Background Information
Over the many years, Dubai has earned its reputation for being a digital hub. Starting an online business of your preferred business activity, or based on your passion, is highly achievable with aid of the many digital platforms and facilities available to help you. Dubai has experienced a rise in demand for e-commerce shopping, fitness instructors, mental health coaching and digital business activities, primarily because of the effects introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of that, apparel, footwear, consumer electronics, personal care and beauty products have seen immense growth. To successfully launch your online business, it’s important to conduct market research to find out which business activities you can potentially embark on. After you decide what to pursue, make the most of UAE’s economic environment where lenient tax regulations and full ownership of business help you carry out your activities smoothly.
7 Online Business Ideas You Can Pursue in Dubai
There is no doubt that pursuing an online business in Dubai requires careful deliberation and planning. With newer market trends and digitalization, options are aplenty. Here are 7 simple business ideas you can choose from to establish in Dubai.
- Drop-shipping Drop shipping involves getting products shipped to buyers from third parties. In this business model, the vendor does not carry any stock and solely acts as a ‘middleman’. In simpler terms, your online business takes on the responsibility of selling desirable products to customers, taking orders and handing them over to suppliers. To get started, you can find suppliers to source the chosen products on large B2B marketplaces such as AliExpress.The process is very simple and easy to learn. Great communication skills, financial management and the ability to be savvy with handling an e-commerce store are some of the skills you will need on this new venture.
- Online Consultation This could be in the form of tutoring, offering financial and management advice, or helping with higher education. These services are highly demanded online, and you can charge competitive rates to earn a considerable profit. Opt to offer consultation services on a platform such as iCliniq.At Meydan Free Zone, the process of obtaining your online business license is extremely straightforward. In a slightly unpredictable online market where analysing consumer trends and demands constantly change—Meydan can provide you expert consultation all throughout.
- Virtual Fitness Primarily due to the pandemic, virtual fitness has paved a long-term path for itself that has replaced the need to go to the gym frequently. With fitness giants such as GymNation offering home workout classes, more attention is being paid to mental wellbeing and self-discipline, and the demand for online fitness services is booming.
- Freelancing. Whether it be freelance writing, web design, or development—completing freelancing assignments on sites such as WorkNass can generate great profits. With working from home and remote working becoming the norm, freelancing can be a great way to utilise your skills and earn money online. At Meydan Free Zone, freelance visa options are not available. However, you can apply for access to open studio spaces through our partners, facilitating the seamless conduct of your business activities.
- Social Media Marketing Dubai has a vast amount of businesses that require assistance in establishing a social media presence. Setting up an online digital marketing business to help other businesses get comfortable with marketing can be a profitable idea. Take inspiration from the likes of Blue Beetle.
- Trading You can get started by building an e-trading website such as Dubai Trade, where you could trade anything of your choice, whether it be household products, jewellery, gems, beauty products, or clothing. Dubai has a vast and diverse market that caters to a similar group of customers.
- Food Delivery The effects of the pandemic have shifted consumer preferences to having their food delivered to their doorstep at any time of the day. After forming deals with good restaurants and deciding on your supply chain, you can get started on your online food delivery business, and chase the success of giants such as Deliveroo.
How to Set up Your Online Business in Dubai
Setting up your online business in Dubai involves a certain number of steps that need to be followed with diligence. After you choose a suitable economical jurisdiction, whether it’s to set up your online business in Dubai mainland or a free zone area like Meydan, comply with the following steps. Here are some of the basic criteria for applicants;
- Choose Company NameMake sure you select a company name that is suitable to UAE’s legal name requirements and doesn’t include any derogatory or offensive language. It’s important to receive approval from the Department of Economic Development (DED) to go ahead. Since it’s an online business, it’s highly recommended to confirm that the name you’ve chosen isn’t replicated.
- Write CopySelling goods and services over the internet requires you to have strong marketing and advertising skills. Come up with sales formulas and create urgency with whatever you are offering.
- Build Your WebsiteAs you are starting out as a small business, it’s better to establish your online business through a website which allows customers to trace your business, allowing more repurchase rates.
- Apply for Your Business LicenseIf you decide to set up your business in the mainland, the license process will be handled by the DED. However, if you choose a free zone authority like Meydan, all of your documentation and paperwork will be handled to ensure a smooth registration process.There are also a range of licenses to choose from depending on your business activity, and informing relevant authorities about your social media accounts and supply channels.
- Apply for VisaDubai’s legalities require you to have a legal address for an online business without the need for office or studio space and rent payments. With an online business, you can sponsor employees and apply for visas if you opt for a physical office later on.
- Open Your Bank AccountChoose your preferred bank and arrange a meeting with specialists to open up your corporate bank account. Submit relevant documents and follow-up with a quick process
What to Consider Before Setting up Your Online Business
- Choosing Your JurisdictionBefore you follow up with any of the steps mentioned above, an important step would be to decide on your jurisdiction. Based on the business activities you plan to choose, whether it’s ecommerce, trading, or mobile app development, a free zone such as Meydan Free Zone is the best option to set up your online business. You will be able to enjoy the full benefit of 100% foreign ownership in addition to zero taxes, import duties and tailored services to help you operate digitally. You will also receive guidance on choosing the right bank account and payment gateway.Contact Meydan for an easier application process which is supported by technology and innovation.
- Extensive ResearchIt’s important to indulge in the process of finding out novel market trends as well as customer wants and needs in order to find out how you could tailor your online business offerings to your customer segments. For example, there is a growing demand for online food delivery services in Dubai, so spending a part of your budget on developing a mobile app may help kickstart your business.
- Draw Up A Marketing PlanA start-up online business requires good web design, SEO strategies, and effective marketing tactics. Selling your goods and services over the internet is not an easy task—it would be great if you devise a concrete plan to attract customers.
Benefits of Starting an Online Business in Dubai
There are numerous benefits of starting an online business in Dubai due to its favourable business climate and variety of economic benefits. Rather than just being a great value for setup costs, a potential online startup in Dubai can facilitate constant growth and a result-driven journey without any hassles. If you set up a business in Meydan Free Zone you can avail:
- 100% exclusion from personal and corporate tax
- Smooth registration process for a business license
- Access to growth-driven regional and international markets
- Full ownership of the business
- Lower legal restrictions
- Lower currency restrictions
Why Meydan Free Zone?
The free zone is located in the heart of Dubai, close to downtown Dubai where businesses can locate and secure inventive financing. Whilst overlooking a copious amount of golf courses, tennis clubs and restaurants, the free zone is a central hub for bustling business activity and optimum productivity.
Meydan Free Zone offers a plethora of services to accommodate an online business. To set up your online business, enjoy Meydan’s smart license application kit which introduces you to an experience that’s fully digital. As for online business, it would be highly beneficial to make use of digital payment platforms and applications to make your business onboarding experience a seamless one.
Even more compelling would be the affordable prices offered by Meydan Free Zone, supported by a panel of business advisors that have plenty of experience dealing with practices in free zone areas, and offering the best possible solutions to cater to your requirements. Reach out to us today and waste no time inquiring about driving your online business to success!