Abu Dhabi is the perfect gateway to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, offering world-class infrastructure with easy access to regional and global markets.
There are 8 Free Zones in Abu Dhabi, for more information about each Free Zone, click on its name:
- Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD)
- Masdar City Free Zone
- Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)
- Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone (ADAFZ)
- TwoFour54 Abu Dhabi (Media Free Zone Authority)
- Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ)
- Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD)
- Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones (Zones Corp)
Why investors choose Abu Dhabi?
From a desert oasis, Abu Dhabi has become a global business hub. Today, Abu Dhabi is the perfect gateway to markets across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
With 33% of the world just a 4-hour flight away and 80% of the world reachable with an 8-hour flight, the emirate offers world-class infrastructure and connectivity across four time zones.
The UAE capital
Abu Dhabi is a great place to do business, invest, live and work.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and the largest emirate – by size and GDP contribution. For you, that means quick, convenient access to government services and leading corporations headquartered in Abu Dhabi.
- Abu Dhabi contributes 60% of the UAE's total economy
- Has an AAA credit rating
- It is the largest emirate by size
- 100% foreign ownership of companies
- 0% corporate tax rates and 0% personal income tax
A strong and stable economy that supports long-term, sustainable growth within the private sector.
Also home to some of the world's greatest cultural sites and events including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit and many more.
To innovate, you need access to the best human capital. Abu Dhabi has a vibrant talent pool focusing on science, technology, engineering, mathematics and entrepreneurship.
Abu Dhabi is ranked 9th globally and 2nd regionally in the economic performance index of the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook (2020).
Abu Dhabi's world-class higher-education institutions are fostering the next generation of innovators and leaders. The capital is home to more than 16 universities including Khalifa University, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, INSEAD, New York University Abu Dhabi and the UAE University in Al Ain.
The emirate is also home to the world's first AI university – the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI).
In Abu Dhabi, it is believed that innovation is critical for sustainable success. Abu Dhabi supports big thinkers, innovators and forward-thinking companies. In fact, Abu Dhabi is proud to say that it has been ranked the smartest city in the Middle East.
In 2020, ADIO launched the AED 2 billion ($545 million) Innovation Programme that provides incentives to businesses within the emirate's high-growth areas. This includes Financial Services, Tourism, AgTech, ICT and Healthcare & Biopharma, among others.
Through innovation, Abu Dhabi will ensure that every investor enjoys access to capital, local talent, best-in-class regulatory environment, support for R&D and advanced infrastructure.
Entities supporting innovation in Abu Dhabi include:
- Abu Dhabi Research and Development Authority (ADRDA)
- Hub71: A global tech community supporting startups and companies
- Masdar: A global leader in renewable energy
- XPRIZE: Helping grow Abu Dhabi's research and development ecosystem
- Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI)
Quality of life
The wellbeing of residents and visitors is of the highest priority to the Abu Dhabi government.
Culturally, Abu Dhabi has one of the world's most diverse populations, with 200+ different nationalities calling Abu Dhabi home. Abu Dhabi's rich cultural calendar is reflective of this, with events ranging from sports to music and arts.
Abu Dhabi is home to top academic institutions and advanced healthcare facilities.
The recently launched Abu Dhabi Residents Office (ADRO) serves as a dedicated resource to help the emirate's international community grow, develop and thrive.
Quality of life indicators:
- Abu Dhabi is voted the safest city in the world for six consecutive years
- Abu Dhabi is 2nd in the region for quality of living (City Ranking 2019)
- Advanced healthcare facilities including NMC, Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins
- 14 school curricula including American, British, Indian and more
- 16 universities including New York University Abu Dhabi, INSEAD and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi has state-of-the-art transport systems to connect you across the emirate, the region and the world.
The high-quality, efficient domestic infrastructure allows you to operate your business at its full potential.
- Abu Dhabi International Airport was ranked the Best Airport in the Middle East (2019)
- Khalifa Port, the emirate's flagship port is the first to be semi-automated in the Persian Gulf and one of the most advanced in the world
- The world's 9th busiest port, Dubai's Jebel Ali Port, is only one-hour drive away
Placing first in the region in IMD's 2020 Smart City Index, Abu Dhabi is recognized as a regional center of excellence within the ICT space. The emirate delivers competitive connectivity for businesses and individuals, with the UAE consistently achieving top rankings for ICT readiness and internet & smartphone penetration.
Abu Dhabi continues to unlock its smart infrastructure's potential through the relentless pursuit of innovation in AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, cloud, e-commerce, smart manufacturing and more.
- Etisalat, the UAE's biggest telecoms operator, was ranked the fastest mobile network operator in the world (Ookla Global Speed Index 2020)
- Full fibre optic coverage – 1st in the world (Etisalat)
- Internet penetration among adults in the UAE at 99% (2019)
- Etisalat invested $1b for 5G development across the country (2019)
- Major tech players, such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), are active in the emirate
Abu Dhabi is a great place for companies and businesses to invest, innovate and grow.
The UAE is the Middle East's largest FDI recipient according to UNCTAD, with Abu Dhabi supporting inflows to the country for the past few years. Abu Dhabi has cultivated an attractive investment environment underpinned by streamlined procedures and enabling policies, including 100% foreign ownership of companies.
Abu Dhabi plugs investors into the Arab world's second-largest economy and some of the world's fastest-growing markets.
Abu Dhabi offers a range of investment opportunities across diverse sectors from FinTech to Ecotourism.
The Abu Dhabi advantage includes:
- 100% foreign ownership of companies
- 94 tax agreements with foreign nations
- 0% corporate and income tax with low VAT rate of 5%
- Special economic zones with up to 100% profit repatriation
- No minimum requirement company setup
- Stable currency pegged to the US Dollar (AED 3.6725 – $1)
- FDI inflow climbed over 44% to AED 73 billion ($19.88b) in 2020
- Readily available capital for state-of-the-art technology
- Electricity generation capability and inexpensive energy
- Among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world Capital availability: equity/debt via local market – venture funds, banks, family offices, private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds
- Attractive leasing of office and warehouse space in addition to competitive prices for land and utilities
Ease of doing business
Abu Dhabi is committed to helping private sector companies succeed.
In addition to long-term residency visas, 100% foreign ownership and low tax rates, Abu Dhabu also enacts policy and regulatory reforms that meet the pace of innovation and enable your continued growth.
Abu Dhabi is the best place for business because:
- Free registration and licence fees for new businesses and freelancers for two years
- UAE's Golden Visa offers long-term residency to investors and innovators
- UAE was ranked 2nd globally for business skills, such as entrepreneurship, leadership, management, strategy operations and communication
- Business setup and license renewal fees have been cut by over 90% to AED 1,000 in 2021