Sharjah Media City (Shams Free Zone) Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah Media City (Shams)

This offers digitised and cost-effective services for those who want to set up a business in the UAE.

Key sectors While the free zone focuses on media, they have a wide range of business activities in various industries.

Licence and cost Starting from Dh11,500

Offers Up to 35 per cent off on multi-year packages; 20 per cent off on licence fee for one-visa package; e-channel deposit waiver; 20 per cent off on Shams fee for concierge services, such as opening of bank account opening, post office box, and dependent visa services


Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ)

RAKEZ is a powerhouse business and industrial hub strategically located in Ras Al Khaimah, connecting global investors to emerging markets in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia. The free zone offers simplified processes, one-stop-shops, expert client representatives, self-service client portal accessible 24/7

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Key sectors Of the 50 sectors RAKEZ currently caters to, most are in the commercial and services sectors. General trading comes in third. The media sector is also strengthening along with industrial, e-commerce, educational and professional sectors.

Licences Commercial (Free Zone and Non-Free Zone); Educational (Free Zone); E-Commerce (Free Zone); General Trading (Free Zone); Individual/Professional (Free Zone); Industrial (Free Zone and Non-Free Zone); Media (Free Zone); Professional (Non-Free Zone); Service (Free Zone) and Freelancer Permit (Free Zone)

Offer/packages All packages offer complete online registration process. Office Spring Package starts from Dh8,240; Storage Warehouse Spring Package starts from Dh150/m2; Industrial Warehouse Spring Package starts from Dh195/m2


Ajman Free Zone (AFZ)

Located close to Ajman Port and just a half-hour drive from Dubai and Sharjah airports, AFZ offers a wealth of cost-efficient licences and tailored, value-added business packages for entrepreneurs and investors. It has a simple three-step business set-up process via a digitised gateway and a unique business-to-business platform, AFZ connect, enabling buying, selling and networking globally via a comprehensive business directory. The free zone also offers workspaces to suit a variety of requirements.

Ajman Free Zone
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Key sectors Health, education, retail, F&B, technology and more, spanning a variety of industries

Licence and cost You can set up your business as an entrepreneur, starting from Dh5,000, which includes licence and access to a co-working space

Special offer The free zone offers 10 per cent discount for two years, 15 per cent discount for three years. Pioneers package starts at Dh1,250 and Freelancer package starts at Dh6,000


International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)

Offering an array of scalable business set-up solutions, IFZA — a Fujairah-based free zone — offers more than 1,000 trade, service and consultancy activities. IFZA’s network of professional partners, spanning all corners of the globe, supports the authorities’ vision of solidifying the UAE’s mark as a top business and investment destination. Earning the reputation as the region’s fastest growing free zone, IFZA regulates, facilitates and incorporates trade from its Fujairah headquarters, supported by its Dubai offices.

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Licences IFZA allows clients to combine their trade, consultancy and service licence across more than 108 sectors with a specialisation in logistics and other prominent areas of business.

Packages IFZA offers packages spanning one to five years, giving three free business activities with every licence.


Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)

A subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports, KIZAD is a 410 square kilometre industrial zone strategically located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. With one of the world’s most advanced deepwater seaports, Khalifa Port, and world-class infrastructure, Kizad benefits from excellent multimodal connectivity via sea, air, road, the upcoming rail network.

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Key sectors All types of business activities including manufacturing, logistics, trade and distribution, solutions for both start-up and established large-scale business.

Licence and cost Offices packages, with a workstation (hotdesk) and visas, starting from $3,000 (Dh11,000); licence types include trading, service and general trading.

Packages Dual license facility; three-year packages start at $6,750 (Dh 24,750)


twofour54, Abu Dhabi

This is a media and entertainment ecosystem of more than 550 media companies. Offering a vast range of facilities, infrastructure and services, twofour54 will soon be moving to a new 77,000 square meter state-of-the-art facility on Yas Island.

Key sectors News broadcasting, e-learning, gaming, music licensing, production, print publishing, advertising and marketing

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Licence A simple three-step licensing process allows firms to set up in as little as 24 hours.

Offers Cost-effective registration through the waiver of licencing and registration fees for new companies and allows businesses to operate with zero per cent income and corporate tax along with onshore benefits and 100 per cent foreign ownership.


Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

They have over 17,000 member companies, collectively contributing to over 10 per cent to Dubai’s GDP. It is also home to the thriving Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) community.

Key sectors Different sectors are commodities such as diamonds, gold, tea and coffee to consultancy, banks, consumer goods and even motorcycles.

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Licenses and cost Different licenses and office solutions, ranging from bespoke multi-floor offices to innovative co-working spaces. JLT has very competitive prices for renting commercial spaces.

Offers For existing members, 100 per cent waiver for late license renewal penalties, office sharing permit fee, company reinstatement fees, and 100 per cent waiver for all flexi desk and DMCC Business Centre penalties until the end of 2020. Also, a 30 per cent discount on license renewal. For new registrations, 80 per cent reduction on the total company set up fee if shareholders are residents of JLT


Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA)

Strategically located near one of the busiest airports in the world, DAFZA has more than 1,600 regional and international companies. They have developed a new building compound, offering additional leasing space of 21,580 square meters.

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Key sectors Covers over 2,000 economic activities

Licences Six types of licenses are available — trade, service, industrial, e-commerce, general trading and the dual license with DED.

Offer and packages Initiatives launched in 2019 include, waiving registration fees, reducing business setup cost by up to 65 per cent, staff visa fees by 20 per cent, establishment card issuance fees by 17 per cent. Fees for Board Resolution and MOA issuance have been waived.