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Start Business in Abu Dhabi

The largest emirate by area in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi accounts for approximately 87 per cent of the country's total land area. It also has the second-largest population of the federation. The city of Abu Dhabi, after which the emirate is named, is both the capital of the emirate and the country..
Business Setup in Abu Dhabi

The Economy of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is considered the wealthiest emirate in the UAE. Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), is the world’s richest sovereign fund in terms of total asset value. The emirate owns most of the UAE’s hydrocarbon assets. It holds approximately 9 per cent of the world’s oil reserves and 5 per cent of the world’s natural gas.



Abu Dhabi per capita income is one of the highest globally, and Abu Dhabi’s citizens are wealthier and happier than ever before.


The emirate crafted a comprehensive plan called “Vision 2030” to create a solid economic future. The emirate’s strong favourability among expat workers and foreign investors can be attributed to its focus on inclusion, innovation, and diversity — with it being home to residents of over 200 nationalities and its burgeoning industries, growing start-up ecosystem and modern infrastructure.


The government plans to invest heavily in advanced technology, such as nuclear technology, space travel and artificial intelligence since Abu Dhabi is positioning itself as a top regional tech hub. In addition, it aspires to attract more companies in the finance, logistics, healthcare, agricultural technology, and renewable energy sectors.

Start a Business in Abu Dhabi

Starting a Business in Abu Dhabi Free Zone

Entrepreneurs have a variety of jurisdictions to select from when it comes to incorporating a business in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)

The Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ) is one of the premier destinations for new businesses in the aviation, logistics, transportation, and flight support services sector. It benefits from its location next to Abu Dhabi Airport, one of the busiest in the region.

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is an international financial centre and free zone located on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi. ADGM has become an attractive jurisdiction for crypto companies after it introduced digital asset regulations.

Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD)

The Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) is one of the world’s largest industrial zones. This mega project span 417 square kilometres. Companies incorporated here have access to world-class transport infrastructure and an unmatched connectivity network via air, road, sea, and rail.


Masdar City, a six-square-kilometre free zone, is a low-carbon, renewable energy-powered development. It is a pioneer in best practices in sustainable urban planning, design, and development. This location is the home of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). If you plan to start a company in the renewable sector, this is the best location to start.


twofour54 aims to position the emirate as a regional centre of excellence in content creation in all aspects.
Abu Dhabi Mainland Company Formation

Starting a Business in Abu Dhabi Mainland

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (AD DED) issues all local business licenses for areas that are not covered by free zones. Historically, local licenses required local citizens to be majority shareholders. However, the UAE has modernized its laws recently to grant expat owners full ownership of a business in most sectors.

Doing Business in Abu Dhabi
abu dhabi company set up

Doing Business in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s commitment to innovation, collaboration, and wellbeing contributes to a world-class business environment. Here are some highlights and rankings:

  • It is ranked twelfth globally in the Ease of Doing Business Subnational Report 2020 by the World Bank.
  • Ranked eleventh in the Global Technology Index released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
  • It has been considered a top destination for highly skilled expats over the last decade.
  • The city is one of the safest cities in the world, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit.
  • Abu Dhabi airport was ranked as ‘Best Airport’ in the 15-25 million passengers category in 2020.
  • Based in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways has been officially rated a Five-Star Global Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) in 2021.
  • Dual license facilitates business operations across Abu Dhabi.
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