Dubai is globally known for being an attractive destination for international investors aiming to start a business or invest in an existing company, and live in the prime city that is none other than Dubai.
When making commercial property investments in Dubai, you set your business up for success no matter the sector it belongs to. You also acquire the right to reside in the Emirate, under certain conditions. This is all possible with the regulations put in place by the Emirate’s government, facilitating commercial investments in Dubai and meeting the various needs of investors.
Investors in retail and commercial properties in Dubai enjoy many benefits, securing their business and family’s life in the city. So, do you want your business to flourish in the best possible environment? Do you want a luxurious lifestyle for yourself and your family? If so, keep reading our guide to commercial property investment in Dubai.
What Makes Dubai an Ideal Business Destination in 2023?
Before getting into our step-by-step guide to establishing commercial projects in Dubai, the following points showcase why Dubai is the ideal business destination in 2023 for investors from all over the world:
- Full Ownership
One major factor encouraging commercial property investment in Dubai is the investors’ right to full ownership. This right applies to those investors who invest in or start a business in Dubai’s mainland or Dubai’s free zones.
Up until June 2022, starting a business in the mainland required a partner of UAE nationality, as the majority shareholder, or an agent responsible for liaising with the government.
However, recent changes enable complete ownership of companies on the mainland without needing a partner or an agent. As for investing in Dubai’s free zones, full foreign business ownership is possible without UAE local sponsors or partners.
This amendment brings forth a lot of benefits for investors, such as:
- Full foreign ownership includes some new commercial activities such as gold, jewellery, luxury watches, cars, and general trading.
- When starting the business and forming the company, you are not required to have a Resident Visa and a local sponsor. Still, once this initial stage is done, you can apply for the Visa to acquire a long-term residency and sponsor your dependents.
- Existing businesses and companies also benefit from this amendment, as they can change ownership structure.
- Long-Term Residency
Dubai offers foreign investors long-term residency with a wide range of Visas, some of which are meant for students, remote workers, talented individuals, and researchers in certain fields. However, relative to the context of retail and commercial property investments in Dubai, here are some suitable Visa options:
- Long-Term Residence Visa
Generally speaking, this Visa grants eligible individuals 5-10 years of residency, depending on the amount of capital invested. The investors’ spouse and children, in addition to one advisor and one manager, are also eligible to apply.
Investors establishing a company with a capital amounting to AED 10 million are eligible for the 10-year-long residency. On the other hand, investors in a property with a gross value of not less than AED 5 million qualify for the 5-year residency.
- Investor Visa
Falling under the Golden Visa scheme, this Visa gives foreign investors long-term residency under the condition of establishing a company in Dubai’s mainland or free zones with AED 72,000 worth of capital.
- Exemplary Leadership
The real estate sector in Dubai, including residential and commercial properties, is distinguished from other real estate sectors worldwide due to the incentives put in place by the Government of Dubai. The most recent incentive is the Royal Decree from Dubai, providing facilitations to property funds investing substantial capital in the commercial real estate market.
The funds must invest a minimum of AED 50 million in commercial properties to be eligible for the benefits, and they need to meet specific criteria to become part of the Register of Property Investment Funds, created by the Dubai Land Department.
With its various aspects, this decree aims to encourage commercial property investment in Dubai, aligning with the high demand in businesses thanks to e-commerce.
- Ideal for Foreign Investments
Foreign investors initiate commercial projects and retail investments in Dubai as it is an ideal business destination. That is due to the economic stability of Dubai, the tax-free environment for businesses, energy’s low cost, and the impressive portfolios of commercial properties, including warehouses, showrooms, retail shops, offices, and co-working spaces, in addition to the various, luxurious residential properties, making it the perfect choice for investors wanting to move into the Emirate with their families.
- The Entrepreneurial Nation Initiative
The Entrepreneurial Nation initiative aims to enhance the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and showcase it to the world’s investors, starting with the Skill-Up Academy, intended to equip participants with entrepreneurial skills and foster the entrepreneurial culture and mindset. This initiative cooperates closely with the private sector to turn business ideas and dreams into reality.
An Insight Into Dubai for Start-Ups and Entrepreneurs
Are you an entrepreneur wanting to establish a start-up in the Emirate? Before you make plans for commercial property investments in Dubai, discover the following must-know facts for all entrepreneurs:
- An Investment Friendly Environment
Many factors are making the business environment in Dubai friendly and safe for all foreign entrepreneurs, such as the tax exemption of all personal and corporate taxes, free zones ideal for startups, easy and smooth company and business formation, and the legal work-frame, ensuring the transparency of all documentation, transactions, and more.
- Long-Term Residence Visa
Foreign entrepreneurs and investors receive long-term residency by applying for a suitable Visa type provided by Dubai’s government, such as the Investor Visa that falls under the Golden Visa scheme.
You get many benefits when having the Golden Visa, some of which are:
- Renewable residency for 5 or 10 years.
- The privilege of not needing a sponsor.
- The ability to sponsor family members, including spouses and children.
- Special health care and health insurance packages.
- Acquiring the Esaad Card, offering holders discounts in shops, education, health, housing, restaurants, theme parks, hotels, and more.
- Events All Year Round
A sought-after advantage for retail stores is having many events and festivals all year round to push sales, promote the business on a large, international scale, and utilise seasonality to the maximum. As Dubai is internationally famous for its entertainment outlets, tourist attractions, and diverse annual events, opening a retail store in one of the prime areas in the Emirate promises excellent profit.
Some of the events taking place in Dubai every year are:
- Dubai Shopping Festival.
- Taste of Dubai.
- Dubai Jazz Festival.
- Dubai Tennis Championships.
- Art Dubai.
- Dubai International Film Festival.
- 100% Repatriation of Profits
Dubai is definitely the best city for establishing a startup. The investment-safe and friendly environment in the Emirate enables full repatriation of profits. In other words, all foreigners residing in Dubai can send money back to their home country without any deductions, encouraging their investments in the Emirate in the first place.
- Large Number of Seaports and Airports
Facilitating businesses and commercial operations take place smoothly only with several excellent seaports and airports, especially since they play a significant role in enabling access to foreign markets and facilitating the movement of products and goods. Based on that, Dubai is home to many seaports and airports, like:
- Port Jebel Ali (AEJEA).
- Mina Rashid (AEDXB).
- Mina Al Hamriyah (AEHAM).
- Dubai International Airport.
- Dubai World Central.
Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Business in Dubai
Suppose you want to start a business in Dubai and become part of the vibrant business community it established. In that case, you need to follow certain steps to ensure that you are setting up your business properly. So, before making any decisions about commercial property investments in Dubai, make sure to have achieved the following first:
- Choosing an Industry
Which industry does your business belong to? Tech, media, financial, or banking services? Specifying the sector will help your business grow, and it will limit your choices in terms of the business location, as certain areas in Dubai cater to specific industries.
- Writing a Business Plan
When establishing a business, you will come across the term “business plan” a lot, which refers to the business’s mission, vision, goals, core values, and business activities. It also includes a detailed outline of the business’s marketing strategy, financial plan, structure, and operational approach and activities.
- Funding Your Business
Now that you have the ins and outs of your future business figured out, it is time to determine how it will be funded. There are many options you can choose from or even combine for the best result if it fits your business’ needs; such options include self-funding, funding from investors, crowdfunding, and business loans. Determining the amount of capital you need to finance your business is also essential.
- Picking Your Business Location
Picking the right location is vital to your business’ success, whether you’re starting a business or opening a retail store. Prime areas in Dubai, such as Palm Jumeirah and Park Avenue, are in high demand and attractive options. However, explore all available options, as certain areas are dedicated to specific industries rather than others.
For example, if your business is related to the medical field, Dubai Healthcare City is a perfect location, while Studio City is best for creative industries.
- Choosing Your Business Name
Catchy, easy to write and pronounce, and relevant to your business activities. This is an easy way to ensure you choose a business name that will stick to people’s minds and gain your target audience’s liking.
- Registering Your Business
Time to actualise all of your business ideas! Register your business with Dubai Municipality through the Company Registration tab on the Municipality portal. It requires you to upload information, details, and soft copies of certain documents, such as the company’s logo, the company trade licence, the Dubai Municipality Certificate, and more.
Choosing the Right Commercial Projects in Dubai
To meet the various needs, requirements, and preferences of business owners, there are many kinds of commercial properties, including:
- Coworking spaces.
- Retail shops and shopping malls.
- Hotels, restaurants, and cafes.
- Medical centres and hospitals.
Determining the property you need depends on your business type and requirements. However, there are two types of properties regarding their readiness for you to move into, and they are:
- Ready-to-Move-In Properties
As the name suggests, these commercial properties are ready to move in as soon as the deal is sealed with the real estate developer. Choosing the right ready-to-move-in property should be easy at this point now that you have already chosen the area best suited for your business and determined the kind of property you need.
It is important to note that you can get a commercial mortgage to help you finance the establishment of your business.
- Off-Plan Commercial Properties
Off-plan properties, whether residential or commercial, are properties which construction hasn’t yet begun or is still in progress. This type of property has many advantages over the ready-to-move-in ones, as they are less expensive and offer super flexible payment plans to the investor.
For example, Azizi Developments is one of the most prominent and leading real estate developers in Dubai, presenting an impressive portfolio of residential and commercial properties, including retail options. Continue reading to discover them in further detail!
Where to Look for Commercial Property for Sale in Dubai?
Here are some areas with ideal retail investment opportunities in Dubai to give you an idea of where to search for the best commercial property for your business.
- Palm Jumeirah
Named after the palm tree and consisting of the trunk, the crescent, and 16 leaves forming the palm tree shape, Palm Jumeirah is one of the most famous man-made islands in the world. It is located on the Arabian Sea coast in Dubai, dotted with residential and commercial properties alike.
Azizi Developments have various retail spaces in different sizes available in Azizi Mina at Palm Jumeirah, promising investors very high ROI, a secure investment opportunity, sustainable income, and lots of growth, especially since the area attracts many tourists each year.
Another prime area in the Emirate attracting foreign investors is Meydan, situated alongside Ras Al Khor Road and Dubai – Al Ain Road, offering sought-after location advantages as it is close to downtown Dubai, Dubai International Airport, Sheikh Zayed Road, and more.
So, if you plan to open a convenience store, nursery, quick service restaurant, or medical clinic, the spacious and elegant shops in Azizi Riviera are perfect! They also are ideal for gift shops, rent-a-car, and pharmacies. Utilise the strategic location of Meydan for your business growth, as it is home to tourists all year round thanks to its attractions and events, such as the prestigious horse race and the Dubai World Cup.
- Dubai Healthcare City
This city is a free-zone district located on the eastern side of Bur Dubai and launched in 2002 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. As mentioned before, it is dedicated to all services and businesses related to the healthcare sector and healthcare professionals, researchers, and students, and other services to fulfil their needs.
Dubai Healthcare City is home to medical facilities, outpatient medical centres, and diagnostic laboratories with over 4,000 licensed professionals. So, if you want to start a business catering to the residents’ needs, like laundry, a quick service restaurant, or a pharmacy, Azizi Aliyah Residence in Dubai Healthcare City has a wide variety of freehold retail shops designed to align with your business plans.
- Al Furjan
The last area on our list for great retail and commercial property investments in Dubai is Al Furjan, located between Discovery Gardens and Jebel Ali Village, alongside Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and Sheikh Zayed Road.
Al Furjan is a vibrant residential district favoured by many individuals and families, as the neighbourhood will be home to more than 60,000 residents upon completion. It is an excellent residential area with convenient location advantages, as it is close to the metro, Ibn Battuta Mall, Bluewaters Island, and Dubai Marina.
That being said, Al Furjan is an attractive spot for opening a retail store that meets community needs. Farishta shops developed by Azizi are ready-to-move-in shops, presenting you with flexible and appealing payment plans, so your business ideas become a reality as soon as you want! If your business is in travel or tourism, Azizi Farishta is a great option as well. The cosmopolitan community and tourists will find it convenient, facilitating their business and leisure travels.
Discover more about Azizi’s commercial properties in Dubai and more about payment plans and location details.
Dubai is an international business hub, attracting individuals, families, and tourists all year round. So, it is a promising spot for growing your business in retail, especially with many incentives put in place by the Government of Dubai, making the business environment investment friendly with low risk. Choosing the right commercial property sets your business up for success, so make sure to discover the best areas in Dubai for retail and the most elegant commercial properties offered by innovative real estate developers in the Emirate, such as Azizi Developments.