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Dubai Business Guide

Dubai Business Areas & Free Zones

Doing business in Dubai and where to rent office space


The Government of Dubai has created free zones for various sectors - Dubai Media City is for media companies, and Dubai Internet City is a free zone for internet companies. Other examples include Dubai Knowledge Village, Dubai International Financial Centre, Academic City and Dubai Maritime City, (these free zones are not strictly restricted to the sectors they target). Each free zone offers varying facilities and investors should take this into account when deciding where to locate.

Dubai Design District

Fashion, luxury, art, and design, are all strategically catered for at the Dubai Design District (D3). With tailored property to provide the ultimate platform for the creative industry, it connects local design with international markets and is designed as the primary location for Dubai’s growing creative industry. This new design hub benefits from an independent, business-friendly regulatory scheme under the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority offering prime location for both office and retail space for rent.

Business Bay

At 80 million sq. ft., Business Bay is Dubai's central business, commercial and residential area. Ideally situated in the heart of Dubai it creates a prime hub of residential space, international and local businesses, financial institutions and retail and hospitality options.

Business Bay is Dubai’s new commercial hub, and also the city’s new residential and retail heart. It is where some of the biggest international corporations work alongside of retail options and upscale residential space for young professionals and families alike.

Once completed it will comprise office and residential towers set in landscaped gardens with a network of roads, pathways and canals. It will become the region's business capital as well as a freehold city.

Dubai International Financial Centre

The DIFC provides a stage for business and financial institutions to reach into and out of the emerging markets of the region. It was established to create an environment for development and economic development in the UAE and the wider region by providing the needed legal and business as well as physical infrastructure benchmarked against international standards.

DIFC occupies a physical territory of approximately 110 acres. It has its own legal system and courts distinct from those of the wider UAE, with jurisdiction over corporate, commercial, civil, employment, trusts and securities law matters.

Dubai Media City

Dubai Media City is the hub for the media industry in the Middle East and GCC, with more than 1,300 companies registered under the Free Zone.

Established in 2000, and built by the Dubai government to boost the UAE's media foothold, and has become a hub for media organizations including publishing, news agencies, production, advertising, online media and broadcast facilities throughout the region. The groundwork for infrastructure was already laid for firms to set up easily and its visa and operational procedures are relaxed for firms operating within DMC.

Dubai Internet City

DIC presently has over one and half million square feet of prime commercial office space, in which over 850 companies with over 10,000 workers are based. There are 25 low, mid, and high-rise office structures in the area.

Created by the government of Dubai, Dubai Internet City (DIC) is an information technology park operating as a free economic zone and a strategic base for companies targeting emerging markets regionally.

The economic rules of DIC allow companies to avail themselves of a number of ownership, taxation and custom related benefits which are guaranteed by law. One model of operation includes 100% foreign ownership, similar to those prevailing in other designated economic zones in the United Arab Emirates. These freedoms have led many global information technology firms, such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, HP, Nokia, Cognizant and Siemens, as well as UAE based companies such as i-mate, Acette, to move their regional base to the DIC.

Sheikh Zayed Road

The famous 12-lane Sheikh Zayed Road runs parallel to the Dubai coast and is lined with hotels, malls, office and apartment blocks of stunning chrome and glass, the architecture speaks of eye-popping wealth and conspicuous consumption.

A mass of record-breaking new developments have sprung up in this area of Dubai, including the distinctive gate-shaped DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) – home to Dubai’s very own financial exchange – and the vertigo-inducing Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, surrounded by the Dubai Fountain.

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