Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ) is the world’s first publishing and printing free zone. It has played a key role in the advancement of the publishing industry in the UAE, with its premium writing, publishing, printing, and documenting services all available at a state-of-the-art facility. Along with a business-friendly environment, SPCFZ offers local and international publishers the infrastructure to set up and operate a successful business with the capability to expand globally. Excerpts from an interview with Salim Omar Salim, Director, SPCFZ.
Tell us about some of the companies operating at the free zone.
SPCFZ is home to companies from 17 countries including South America, the US, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Africa, India, China and countries from the Arab World.
How do you support SMEs willing to start business in the publishing sector?
Since its inception in 2017, SPCFZ has steadily grown its collaboration and partnerships with local and international entities.
SPCFZ offers publishers a range of integrated services including streamlined processes, ease of doing business, flexible laws and regulations, as well as low publishing costs and skilled manpower — all in one place.
The value chain in delivering a book from thought to paper is a process that involves many people in the production line. Publishing is not an individual operation. There has to be a sense of alignment of value systems combined with collective effort to ensure that the process is smooth and convenient.
SPCFZ offers publishers a range of integrated services including streamlined processes, ease of doing business, flexible laws and regulations, as well as low publishing costs and skilled manpower — all in one place. We provide tenants with every possible facility to ensure that they do not have to go anywhere else for any of their needs. SPCFZ has smart offices with different facility options to meet personal requirements such as flexi-desk, dedicated desk, furnished or unfurnished offices, and shell and core offices. We provide storage areas, cafes and restaurants within the premises to ensure a completely catered to experience for our investors.
How many registered companies are currently operating at Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone?
We have close to 100 companies at SPCFZ with 90 per cent of them working in the publishing sector.
With publishers as the pivotal business owners, we are inviting legal firms, financial companies, logistics, marketing, content providers, illustrators, designers and proof readers to support the publishers.
What makes SPCFZ unique in terms of incentives and services?
As part of the ecosystem, SPCFZ supports SMEs by connecting entrepreneurs to the right vendors, suppliers as well as potential customers.
SPCFZ is a tax free free zone with 100 per cent ownership of business. There is zero per cent charges for export and import of goods. We have created a space for publishers to keep doing what they are involved in without any break in their flow of operations. The publishing sector is a niche market and we ensure that we are cost effective to keep SMEs incentivised. We offer more value to investors than anywhere else. Sharjah’s strategic location and its long standing history of literature and culture makes it a fertile ground to root SPCFZ as well as potential publishers.