Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and covers around four-fifths of the country’s total land area. Abu Dhabi’s GDP is US$ 249 billion, (S$334.4 billion) accounting for 60% of UAE’s total GDP. As the capital of UAE, its population is only about three million, but there are more than 200 nationalities living and working in the emirate. It is one of the most open and progressive communities in the Gulf region. Abu Dhabi has also been voted the safest city in the world for the fifth consecutive year in 2021.
Guided by Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030, certain sectors have been strategically earmarked to attract investment while diversifying the economy. These include export-oriented sectors such as information & communication technology, manufacturing, and tourism.
Abu Dhabi has also launched the Ghadan 21 initiative (AED 50 billion accelerator programme) in 2018 to accelerate the emirates towards a knowledge-based economy by supporting innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. Industries such as agritech, fintech, healthcare and ICT are growing rapidly in recent years.
Smartphone penetration in the UAE is 173%, one of the highest rates in the world1. Consequently, the amount of data stored digitally is rising dramatically. This spells opportunities for big data specialists, digital security companies, mobile games/apps developers and enterprise services providers from Singapore to carve out a market niche in Abu Dhabi. You can support firms across various sectors as they seek to digitally transform with the country.
Abu Dhabi is also strategically located as a global hub, with 80% of the world’s population within an 8-hour flight. Over the past 15 years, Abu Dhabi has invested heavily in industrial infrastructure, especially for aluminum and steel production. Other key industrial manufacturing sectors in Abu Dhabi include aerospace, defence, food processing, and petrochemicals.
There are many Free Trade Zones that provide investors with strategic geographic advantages and cost-effective facilities. This includes the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi, ZonesCorp, Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) and Masdar City.
Abu Dhabi is a key cultural centre in the UAE, with rich heritage and leisure assets.
The emirate welcomes more than 11 million tourists per year and hosts a wide range of international sporting, cultural and music events. Singapore companies can pursue opportunities in the hospitality, leisure, and event management sectors.
Dubai is the UAE’s key financial and trading hub. It is also a major logistics and distribution node. Here’s why you should grow your business in – and through – this city.
Dubai topped the region in the 2019 Global Financial Centres Index and came in 8th globally – up seven places from the previous year.
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is a 110 ha district and major global financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia markets. Established in 2004, DIFC has its own independent, internationally regulated authority and judicial system, global financial exchange, and tax-friendly free zone regime.
DIFC offers 100% foreign ownership governed by a common-law framework distinct from the UAE legal system. It offers you a 50-year guarantee of zero taxes on corporate income and profits, complemented by the UAE-Singapore Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement.
Dubai is investing heavily in infrastructure and hospitality projects in the lead-up to hosting the international trade fair, Dubai Expo 2020. The projects include an US$8 billion (S$11 billion) expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport located at the south of the city. The Dubai government expects Expo 2020 to boost the real estate market and the hospitality sector, and create up to 300,000 jobs.
The Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 aims to strengthen the industrial sector and create more jobs for Emiratis. It includes 75 key initiatives aimed at generating an additional US$44 billion (S$60 billion) in revenue, create 27,000 jobs in the industrial sector, and boost exports by about US$4 billion (S$6 billion) – all by 2030.
Six priority sectors have been identified, namely:
You can also leverage Enterprise Singapore’s network and overseas centre in Dubai to identify suitable opportunities and partners for growth.