Dubai Mainland Business Activities: A Comprehensive Overview 

Dubai, a booming metropolis renowned for its futuristic skyline, lavish lifestyle, and strong economy, gives a fruitful ground for business activities. One of the most appealing prospects for entrepreneurs and investors is setting up a company in Dubai Mainland. This article provides a comprehensive overview of Dubai Mainland business activities, shedding light on the process of Mainland company formation, the benefits, and the necessary steps involved in the procedure of a company formation in this jurisdiction.

What is Dubai Mainland?

What is Dubai Mainland

Dubai Mainland refers to the geographic area that falls under the direct control of the UAE government and its regulations. Unlike free zones, where companies are restricted to operating within the free zone or internationally, businesses in Dubai Mainland can trade anywhere in Dubai, the UAE, and beyond. This unrestricted access makes Dubai Mainland a highly attractive option for many business activities.

Benefits of Mainland Company Formation in Dubai

Benefits of Mainland Company Formation in Dubai

Forming a Mainland company in Dubai comes with numerous advantages –

  1. No Trading Restrictions – Unlike free zones, Dubai Mainland companies can trade freely within the local market and internationally.
  2. Strategic Location – Dubai’s strategic location as a gateway between the East and West presents exceptional entry to global markets.
  3. Tax Benefits – The UAE presents tax-friendly conditions with no corporate or personal income taxes.
  4. Diverse Business Activities – Dubai Mainland permits a wide range of business activities, from retail and hospitality to manufacturing and consultancy.
  5. Government Contracts – Only Mainland companies are eligible to bid for government projects and contracts.
  6. Flexibility in Office Locations – Mainland companies can set up their offices anywhere in Dubai, unlike free zone companies, which are confined to specific zones.

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Steps for Mainland Company Setup in Dubai

Steps for Mainland Company Setup in Dubai

Setting up a Mainland company in Dubai involves several key steps –

  1. Determine Business Activity – The first phase is to determine the nature of your business. Dubai Mainland allows a vast array of business activities, but it’s crucial to choose one that aligns with your business goals and complies with local regulations.
  2. Select a Business Structure – Common structures for Mainland companies include Limited Liability Company (LLC), Sole Proprietorship, Civil Company, and Branch of a Foreign Company. Each system has its own legal necessities and benefits.
  3. Find a Local Sponsor – For certain types of businesses, particularly LLCs, a local sponsor or a UAE national holding 51% of the company shares is required. However, recent reforms have allowed 100% foreign ownership in many sectors.
  4. Reserve a Trade Name – Your company’s trade name must be unique and comply with the naming regulations set by the Department of Economic Development (DED). This name reservation is a crucial step in the Mainland company setup procedure.
  5. Obtain Initial Approval – Before proceeding, you need initial approval from the DED. This indicates that the government has no objections to your business plan.
  6. Draft a Memorandum of Association (MoA) – The MoA outlines the company’s structure, shareholders, and capital investment. It must be drafted and notarized to proceed with the setup.
  7. Rent Office Space – A physical office is mandatory for a Dubai Mainland company. You must lease office space that meets the requirements set by the DED.
  8. Submit Documents and Finalize Registration – Present all demanded documents, including the lease agreement, to the DED for last approval. Your business license will be issued upon approval.
  9. Apply for Visas – Once your company is registered, you can sponsor visas for employees, family members, and domestic workers.
Popular Dubai Mainland Business Activities

Dubai Mainland is an excellent place to Start Any business because it supports many different types of business activities.

Here are some of the most popular sectors –

  1. Retail and Trading

Dubai Mainland is a great place for retail businesses. You can open stores that sell everything from luxury goods to everyday objects. High-end boutiques and consumer goods stores both do well here because there are many shoppers and tourists who love to spend money.

  1. Hospitality and Tourism

Dubai is a top tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year. This makes it a fantastic place for businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Hotels, travel agencies, and tour companies can find many opportunities to grow and succeed in Dubai Mainland.

  1. Real Estate

The real estate market in Dubai is booming. Many people and businesses are looking to buy, rent, or invest in property. This makes it a lucrative sector for real estate agents, property developers, and investment companies. If you are curious about the property market, Dubai Mainland offers plenty of opportunities.

  1. Manufacturing

If you want to set up a manufacturing business, Dubai Mainland is an excellent choice. The area has great infrastructure and logistics, which makes it easy to get the raw materials you need and distribute your products. From small-scale production to large manufacturing units, businesses can thrive thanks to Dubai’s supportive environment.

  1. Professional Services

Dubai Mainland is also ideal for professional services. This includes businesses like law firms, consultancy agencies, and other professional services. The business-friendly policies and diverse markets mean there is always demand for expert advice and specialized services.

  1. Healthcare

The healthcare sector in Dubai Mainland is growing rapidly. With a continuously increasing population and rising demand for medical services, opening a clinic, hospital, or healthcare-related business can be very profitable. Dubai’s commitment to high standards in healthcare makes it a promising field for investment.

Challenges to Consider

Challenges to Consider

While there are many benefits, setting up a Mainland company in Dubai also presents some challenges –

  1. Local Sponsorship Requirement – Though recent reforms have eased this requirement, finding a trustworthy local sponsor can still be a challenge for some businesses.
  2. Regulatory Compliance – Handling the regulatory landscape can be complicated, requiring detailed knowledge and sometimes assistance from local experts.
  3. Cost – Dubai Mainland company setup can be more expensive compared to free zones due to the cost of office space and other associated expenses.


Dubai Mainland offers a dynamic and versatile environment for business activities, enticing entrepreneurs and investors from around the globe. The procedure of Mainland company formation in Dubai is streamlined, with the government providing robust support for business setup and growth. Whether you’re looking to enter retail, hospitality, real estate, or any other sector, Dubai Mainland provides a fertile ground for success.

By understanding the steps involved in Dubai Mainland company setup and recognizing both the benefits and challenges, you can make informed decisions to establish and grow your business in one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

Also Read: Top 8 Benefits of Golden Visa for Investors in Dubai

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