Opening Online Business in the
UAE: solutions and prospects

All over the world, the Emirates are considered a safe and promising platform to set up
your online business - from a small-scale e-commerce site targeted at the Dubaian
market to one serving a worldwide marketplace.

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UAE law created highly favorable conditions to successfully set up your online business there. Protection of investors, tax exemption, well-developed IT infrastructure, cutting-edge logistics solutions, purchasing power of the populace are all factors that account for the explosive growth of internet-based services and retail. SORP Group’s specialists will assist you in getting through all the licensing procedures and provide full support for your online business in the UAE.

Types of activities that best fit your online
business in the UAE


Selling wholesale and retail products via an
online platform, providing order fulfilment and
packing services, and engaging with delivery
and logistics companies for a full service

Marketplaces and

Trading sites and catalogues that combine
numerous offers from various sellers and
connect them with an online audience
willing to purchase their goods or services


Platforms for booking airline tickets,
for entertainment events, car hire, all types
of accommodation and travel, or making
medical and other appointments online

and training

Tutoring services, consulting and advice in
various fields, business training and courses,
online workshops, webinars, conferences,
and coaching, online classrooms and more

Service Providers

Payment Service Provider (PSPs) deal with
processing card payments for third parties
via merchant accounts as well as online
money transfers and other mechanisms


Solutions based on cloud technologies that
include SaaS - cloud software applications,
PaaS - computing platforms, IaaS - remote
servers and data storage, and many more

Choosing a location for setting up your online
business in the UAE

Mainland company

  • Unlimited opportunities for doing business in any field of
    activity in the UAE and abroad.
  • Form of ownership is determined by the type of activities.
  • In case of Sole Establishment (sole proprietorship), an
    agreement with a local agent is signed. The agent has no part
    in the company.
  • Simplified visa procedures for shareholders and employees,
    possibility of tax resident status, a more favorable attitude on
    the part of UAE banks.

Free-Zone company

  • Onshore company with the possibility of operating inside zone
    or in international markets.
  • Free Zone Establishment (FZE) or Free Zone Company (FZC).
  • 100% foreign ownership with no local ownership requirements,
    some limitations in regard to the types of activities permitted
    in the UAE market.
  • Restricted to operate only within the Free Zone of
    incorporation but is free to conduct international operations on
    a global basis.
  • Residency visas can be issued for shareholders and
    employees of the company. Obliged to confirm economic
    substance in the UAE.

Online business incorporation allows 100% foreign ownership

Incorporating companies with the involvement of a nominee local
shareholder is a well-established business tradition in the UAE.
This supports international activity too because it simplifies the
mandatory requirements for proving Economic Substance.

Licenses available for doing online business
in the UAE

Any business in the UAE requires a license. Your license is a business card for banks, institutions, trading and business
partners all over the world, whereas, for the government, it’s a form of control over your company’s activities.

Web portal

A unique solution for marketplaces, online publishers,
web aggregators, event guides or booking platforms

Trade license

Provided for each group of products - several trading
activities can be combined in a Master Trade License

Consulting license

Permission to provide advice, consulting services and
expertise in specialized fields to clients via the internet

Educational license

Needed to provide online training, workshops, any
educational events, as well as tutoring and coaching

IT license

For online activity in IT: cloud software development and
implementation or mobile applications, website design

SMM license

Unique business activity aimed at promoting goods and
services to social media networks or communities

Payment Services Provider

Ppyment processing systems, including debit/credit card transactions, via mobile phones or payment terminals

Remote service desks

Range of business activities comprising the services of
call-centers, data-centers, back-offices and online support

SORP’s expert solutions for runing an online
business in the UAE

your business model

We’ll choose a suitable license and
select the most appropriate type of
legal entity to meet your objectives

your company

Fast incorporation of your business
due to our long-standing relations
with the UAE licensing authorities

Fast incorporation of your business
due to our long-standing relations
with the UAE licensing authorities

Administrative, accounting, tax, PRO and legal support provided by SORP specialists tailored to your business

Dubai registered
business address

An office in SORP’s Business Center as your company’s address so as to obtain the necessary licences

bank accounts

Close cooperation with UAE banks,
assistance for KYC procedures and
banking compliance requirements

Local partner
or agent

Nominee service provided by SORP Investment LLC, with surrender of rights granted by the Dubai court

Success factors for your online business
in the UAE

A UAE business license allows your business to operate not only in the Emirates but also across the other 5 countries of the Gulf
Cooperation Council. Due to GAFTA (Greater Arab Free Trade Area) this bloc operates a unified customs policy, exempt from
customs duties, taxes and levies.

The UAE is a leader in the
fast-growing online sector

Online sales volume per year

Online sales volume per year

$147.3 bn

Foreign investments in the UAE in 2019

Rank 24

Present position in the world’s welfare ranking

Average value of
an online purchase
Average value of an online purchase
Global growth of
online store sales
Global growth of online store sales
E-commerce share of
total retail sales
E-commerce share of total retail sales
Inquire now and find out more

Favorable development

Dubai 10x and Smart Dubai
development strategies

The UAE’s fast-paced diversification is driving ever
higher digital standards to match the speed of change
in the social and economic environment.

Current plans include implementing artificial
intelligence throughout state agencies and migrating
all public institutions to use blockchain technology
whereby the entire document workflow will be
executed in a format of smart contracts.

Digital Protection and Get Dubai
Businesses Online Programs

These strategies aim at improving the security of
electronic payments and increase the public’s level of
trust when shopping at online stores.

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry have
joined with Google in initiatives to involve many more
companies in going online. A new program launched
within Digital Protection to “Get Dubai Businesses
Online” will help progress the objectives.

Dubai is an important
e-commerce platform

A joint project was launched between Dubai Airport
Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) and Asset Management
Group of Dubai with funding of 2.7 bn Dirhams (.75
bn Dollars) to provide advanced infrastructure in Dubai.

CommerCity aims to promote Dubai as an extremely
important e-commerce environment and platform.

Small and medium
business support

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development
(ADDED) has allocated 50 bn Dirhams within the
Emirate’s business development strategy to support
small and medium enterprises.

It will contribute to SME sector development, raising
foreign investments and increasing job opportunities.

SORP’s long-term experience is a guarantee
of your online business success in the UAE

Comprehensive Services

SORP offers comprehensive support for acquired companies and their shareholders: from licensing and maintaining bank accounts to obtaining the status of a tax resident of the country

Individual Approach

We understand that each client's requirements are unique. We treat every business individually to tailor the right services to achieve your priorities

15 Years of Successful Work

We have helped thousands of clients acquire, build and develop businesses in the UAE.

Banking Support

Assistance in choosing a suitable bank for your purposes, support with the bank account opening, and passing KYC procedures (know your customer).

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