Top locations for Starting a Business in Abu Dhabi

Abu-DhabiHere are a few things you should know if you’re thinking of setting up your company in Abu Dhabi. It is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and is situated on an island in the Persian Gulf. It has a population of 1.5 million based on data from 2014.


Abu Dhabi is the seat of government, the capital of political and industrial movements in the country and a major hub for culture, art, entertainment and commerce. It’s responsible for supporting and growing about 33% of the country’s almost $400-billion economy, which runs on huge oil and gas reserves.

Why start a business in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi boasts an open economy that encourages investors and high-skilled employees to flock the country. The World Bank published a report in 2015 titled “Doing Business” and ranked the country as 7th overall globally in an economic openness index.


Another report, this time published by the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland, ranks Abu Dhabi as first in government proficiency index, fourth in economic performance, ninth in commercial transactions, and 34th in infrastructure.


Other reports published by reputable agencies that gauge a country’s performance have all ranked Abu Dhabi as one of the most internationally competitive countries. Its crime-free environment, corruption-free and trustworthy government, world-class modes of transportation and communication and use of advanced technology make it an attractive location for investors.


Furthermore, tax-free salaries, high standards of education, excellent public health and recreational facilities make it an ideal place for talented and skilled professionals.

Benefits of starting a Business in Abu Dhabi

a-view-of-Abu-Dhabi-heritage-parkAside from the political and economic stability, Abu Dhabi also offers a very strategic location for businesses who want to get in touch with the rest of the world. Abu Dhabi sits at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe.


There are about 1000 flights from the city to other destinations worldwide. It is easy to do business with other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, each of which also boast strong economies, and other trade partners such as members of the European Union, China and India.


Abu Dhabi also allows foreign nationals to have full control of businesses setup in the city. The city does not collect corporate or income taxes and it does not impose any trade barriers.

Top Business Locations in Abu Dhabi

1. Al Maryah Island

In 2013 Al Maryah Island was declared as the new central business district of the city. It is a Financial Free Zone that is home to the most luxurious and prominent world-renowned businesses. The Abu Dhabi Global Market is a 450,000-square meter mixed-use space that is the commercial centre of the island.


With the presence of world-class hotels and hospitals such as the Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, Rosewood Abu Dhabi and the Cleveland Clinic, Al Maryah has become one of the most-sought after addresses in the city. The Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange building is also set up in this area, making Al Mariyah Island the city’s financial center.

2. Al Zahiyah

This district was formerly known as the Tourist Club Area but was renamed as Al Zahiyah by the Abu Dhabi Municipality in 2014. A large number of foreign nationals live in the area and you can also find an abundance of coffee shops, restaurants and hotels here. This is a prime commercial location where cultures mix and trade.

3. Yas Island

yas-marinaThis island is a 2500-hectare man-made development which was started in 2006. The multi-purpose entertainment and shopping center will be completed in 2018. It features the Yas Marina Circuit which has been hosting the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ever since 2009.


You can also find various restaurants, hotels and parks in the area. Warner Bros. World, SeaWorld, Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld are favorite tourist destinations. The island is accessible by car, bus, or boat. There are also flights that connect the island to Dubai.

4. Masdar City

The development of this was started in 2006 and completion is expected in 2030. It is envisioned to be an environmentally friendly city that will house cleantech companies. The International Renewable Energy Agency has set up its headquarters in Masdar City.


The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is located here and focuses on clean technology, environmental sustainability and alternative energy. Siemens has its headquarters here and has leased the most energy efficient building in Abu Dhabi, the LEED Platinum Building.

Finding the Right Office Space in Abu Dhabi

Once you reach Abu Dhabi, you might want to go around the city and visit  the different neighborhoods before you choose a particular district. Try and get a feel for every community and see which one suits you and your business best.


Start working on any approvals or certifications that you might need for your business and then start looking for an office to rent in the city.


You can choose to rent a traditional office and be responsible its day-to-day operations. However, managing your business and concerning yourself with the trivial tasks of making sure that your office is operational can be a daunting task.


Looking for serviced offices in Abu Dhabi could be a better option for you. Serviced offices usually include facilities such as cleaning, maintenance, receptionist and security.


This means that you do not have to worry about hiring people who will clean your office, take your calls and sort out your mail. You can just focus on growing your business and boosting your sales. Serviced offices are also more cost-effective and come with friendlier terms.


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