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How to set up a holding company in Dubai part 1

How to set up a holding company in Dubai – that will be the title of this article. 

My team have also looked at some of the positives and negatives associated with living in Dubai, considering that a lot of people set up such structures to relocate.

My team have also looked at some of the positives and negatives associated with living in Singapore, considering that a lot of people set up such structures to relocate.

Nothing written here should be considered as any form of financial advice. 

For any questions, or if you are looking to invest as an expat, you can contact me using this form, or via the WhatsApp function below.


Dubai is recently in the center of attention, it’s a gorgeous modern city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai. Founded in the 18th century as a small fishing village, in the early 21st century the city quickly developed into a cosmopolitan metropolis with an emphasis on tourism and hospitality. Nowadays, Dubai is one of the most popular destinations for different purposes. It houses the second largest five-star hotels in the world and the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa.

Located in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf coastline, Dubai has already become the main business hub of Western Asia. It is also a major global transport hub for passengers and goods. 

Oil revenues helped accelerate the development of the city, which was already a major trade center. Dubai’s economy is considered as a center for regional and international trade since very early 20th century. The economy in general relies on income from trade, tourism, aviation, real estate and financial services. 

Oil production accounted for less than 1 percent of the emirate’s GDP in 2018. According to government figures, the population of Dubai is estimated at approximately 3,456,058 as of 2021.

Economy of Dubai

The gross domestic product of Dubai, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, is projected at US $ 107.1 billion with a growth rate of 6.1% in 2014. Although a number of key elements of Dubai’s trade infrastructure were built on the basis of the oil industry, revenues from oil and natural gas account for less than 5% of the emirate’s revenues. 

It is estimated that Dubai produces between 50,000 and 70,000 barrels (7,900 to 11,100 m3) of oil per day and significant huge quantities of offshore gas. The share of the emirate in the UAE’s total gas revenues is about 2%. Dubai’s oil reserves have declined significantly and are expected to be depleted in 20 years.

In 2014, Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade was $ 362 billion. Of the total trade, the largest share was taken by imports – $ 230 billion, while exports and re-exports to the emirate amounted to $ 31 billion and $ 101 billion, respectively.

By 2014, China had become Dubai’s largest international trading partner with total trade flows of $ 47.7 billion, up 29% from 2013. India ranks second among Dubai’s key trading partners with $ 29.7 billion in trade, followed by the United States with $ 22.62 billion. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was Dubai’s fourth trading partner in the world and the first in the Gulf and Arab world with a total trade volume of $ 14.2 billion. Trade with Germany in 2014 was $ 12.3 billion, with Switzerland and Japan at $ 11.72 billion, and trade with the UK was $ 10.9 billion.

Taking into account the experiences of expats related to living in Dubai, you can first hear about duty-free income and luxury living in the desert. But beware of this blinkered gaze – it is much more subtle. Let’s take a look at the real pros and cons of the Middle East’s most popular destination for expats.

The main pros of living in Dubai

1. A diverse expat community

Of the total population of 9.2 million in Dubai, only 1.4 million are Emiratians. That’s a lot of expats, but be careful with this term. The term “expat” is used to used to show the educated class of employees, while the term “migrant worker” is being used to show the low-income employees such as the thousands of Asian employers as on Dubai construction or as maids in the luxury hotels. In any case, both groups decided to “emigrate” to make money, so they have a lot in common.

Together, these groups constitute a large and extremely diverse non-Emirates community. The largest groups are Indians and Pakistanis, accounting for 28% and 12% of the total population, respectively. These include powerful, respectable families who have lived here for generations but have not received full citizenship. In contrast, Westerners account for only 5.1% of the total workforce.

However, no matter the number, Dubai is a country used to serving foreign workers. Wherever you are, there will always be an existing community to support you.

Candidates for jobs in the Emirates should be given priority and their salaries are subsidized by the government. Smart, hardworking people of all stripes thrive in Dubai, but keep in mind that, at least in the job market, it’s not necessarily a level playing field.

2. High wages, low taxes

While Dubai does levy a tax on alcohol (as well as rental tax on housing and VAT on most standard goods), it is known to avoid the traditional way of replenishing the government treasury: that is, income tax. This has made it a magnet for expats who earn a higher income here and can keep it all, provided they are UAE tax residents.

3. A chance to improve your career prospects; enrich your soul

As such, Dubai is currently one of the top destinations in the world for expatriates for good reason. Almost every global corporation is represented here, and there are opportunities for expats of all backgrounds who are willing to work hard and embrace the culture. If you can handle the heat – both meteorologically and commercially – Dubai is a place to develop your career prospects, make lifelong friends and broaden your horizons to a different type of society.

You can see some of the specific requirements here.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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