United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates

Ease of doing business

Gain ready access to skilled labour, modern communications and transport networks, and excellent infrastructure.

Ease of trade

Tap the UAE’s strategic location between Asia, Europe and Africa, its 45 Free Trade Zones, and the minimal trade barriers and tariffs within the region to trade goods at competitive prices.

Growing consumer market

The Middle East has a thriving consumer market, with strong consumer spending in apparel, electronics, and grocery.

Key opportunities

  • Food manufacturing & services

  • Logistics

  • Information & communications technology

  • Tourism & hospitality

  • Energy & water

Key opportunities in UAE - 1

Tap Singapore’s reputation as a trusted brand to capture a slice of the wealth of food manufacturing and services opportunities in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East.

Singapore companies can look for opportunities in the UAE’s food manufacturing and food services industries to meet the growing consumer demand. Local service operators are also keen to invest in food manufacturing facilities to complement their businesses. This gives Singapore businesses opportunities for co-investment.

One avenue to enter the UAE market is by participating in the annual food trade show, Gulfood. This popular platform allows you to connect to food industry buyers and sellers from around the region.

Asian food is becoming more popular in the Gulf and a number of Singapore companies are already exporting their products to the GCC. With food importers in the region generally placing high trust in the Singapore brand, you have an advantage over your competitors.

Key opportunities in UAE - 2

Strategically located at the centre of international trade, the UAE’s geographical location and infrastructure make the country an ideal supply and re-distribution gateway.

With one-third of the world’s population living within a four-hour flight, and two-thirds within eight hours of flight time, the UAE offers huge growth potential for Singapore logistics companies.

You will also find the UAE to be one of the most ‘logistics friendly’ countries to operate in and a strong re-export destination to the Middle East and Africa.

Key opportunities in UAE - 3

Through the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and the UAE Vision 2021, the UAE government seeks to build a competitive knowledge economy and establish an open, efficient, and globally integrated business environment. Integral to this is the UAE’s investment in the information & communications technology (ICT) sector.

The UAE has strong market demand for ICT products and services, providing opportunities for Singapore firms in this sector to enter the Arab market.

The UAE is a re-export hub for consumer ICT goods, with more than half of its shipments to the UAE in many sub-sectors (e.g. PC monitors, smartphones) being ultimately re-exported to other markets. This has left the local IT industry relatively underdeveloped; Singapore companies can take this opportunity to contribute their expertise and solutions to boost and improve the ICT sector in the UAE.

Key opportunities in UAE - 4

Tourism is a central pillar of the UAE’s economic growth and diversification plan, and there are ample growth opportunities for Singapore firms to explore.

There are many opportunities for Singapore businesses in the food and beverage, retail, hospitality, and event management sectors to benefit from the UAE’s booming tourism industry.

Other emirates in the UAE are actively growing their tourism potential. For example, Wyn Resorts plans to build a 1000-room integrated resort in Ras Al Khaimah, adding to the many 5-star beach resorts already operating in the emirate. Meanwhile Sharjah was designated by UNESCO as the Cultural Capital of the Arab World in 1998, and reaffirmed this recognition in 2014, when it became the Capital of Islamic Culture.

Key opportunities in UAE - 5

With one of the highest per capita water consumption rates in the world, the UAE is seeking new solutions to improve its water infrastructure. The UAE is also moving rapidly to build up its renewable energy capacity.

The UAE targets to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and is making major investments in clean energy within the country and overseas to achieve this goal. For example, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, which supplies electricity and water to the 3.5 million residents of Dubai and has fixed assets of over AED200 billion (~S$80 billion), is halfway through its implementation of the Mohamed Bin Rashid Solar Park which will have a total capacity of 5GW of solar power upon completion. New technologies such as high density large scale energy storage will be in demand for each phase of the project.

Rapid commercial and industrial growth has contributed to the growing demand for water in the UAE. With the country’s water infrastructure under increasing pressure, the UAE government has been investing in water solutions such as wastewater treatment and desalination. These are areas which play perfectly to the strengths of Singapore companies.

In the UAE, almost all drinking water is desalinated. Production capacity of desalinated plants is expected to increase steadily over the next few years. Singapore firms with expertise in solar-powered or nuclear desalination technology can tap opportunities in this area.

Beyond water, Singapore companies can also lend their technology to the Utility boards in the UAE in areas like grid management, energy audits, and joint research and technology transfer in the power and water sectors.

Ways for you to start in the United Arab Emirates

Kickstart your internationalisation journey

Plan ahead by understanding your readiness to expand overseas, and explore resources for your business.