United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is located in the Middle East bordering Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf. It is about the size of Maine and covers an area of 83,600 sq. kilometers.  UAE’s total population is about 5.47 million and is growing at a rate of 2.87% with 78% living in urban areas.  The UAE capital of Abu Dhabi has a population of about 1 million with the other major city being Dubai (pop. 860,000). The people are governed by a federation of emirates and are a predominately Muslim. The primary language used is Arabic with English being a popular language for business and small minorities using Persian, Hindi, or Urdu.  The local currency used is the United Arab Emirates Dirham.

UAE’s economy is strongly dependent on the export of gas and oil and boasts one of the highest per Capita GDP in the world.  It is a very attractive country for foreign investment because of the country’s Free Trade Zones which allow for 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes. Its main trade partners are Japan, China, South Korea, India, US, Germany, Thailand, UK, and Italy. Its primary imports are machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, and food. Exports consist of oil (45%), natural gas, dried fish, and dates. UAE’s GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) is $275.8 billion and is growing at a real rate of 3.9% with an inflation rate of 0.7%. UAE ranked 26 out of 185 countries in the World Bank Group’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking.


United Arab Emirates


Click the links below for articles with more information on Franchising in the United Arab Emirates

Taking Your Brand to the Middle East 

Building Goodwill and U.S. Brand Awareness in the Middle East 

Expanding Your Brand in the Middle East: A Fresh Perspective (2012) 

Doing Business in The United Arab Emirates (2010)

Franchising Industry Expected to Expand in Middle East  (2008)

Franchising in the Middle East, Dubai, and Beyond (2007)


* CPI Score is published by Transparency International and relates to the perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between 100 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt).  

**Ease of Doing Business Ranking is determined by the World Bank Group and is ranked out of a possible 185 countries. www.doingbusiness.org   

***There is no enforced federal corporate tax for general business in UAE with the exception of oil and gas companies and subsidiaries of foreign banks. Each Emirate may levy a tax of 10% on annual rental paid.

Most recent statistics have been taken from the CIA World Factbook unless noted otherwise.


International Franchising Opportunities

After you have finished researching the international markets, learning international expansion strategies and best practices, and understanding the basics of international franchising law, IFA provides numerous opportunities for franchising internationally.