In our business, the main challenge is the extra demand from the export market. It was not in our calculations, and we were not ready for it. On a positive note, this higher demand highlights how the end users trust “Made in RAK” and Emirati production in general. Now, we need to leverage this higher demand and aim for more production lines and open more markets, boosting the kind of exposure we have externally. There are high-quality products in Ras Al Khaimah, and we know there is a high demand out there from markets in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt. However, it is important to retain a balance, and prioritize both local and regional markets in the GCC, Africa, and the Indian Subcontinent.
General Manager, Kludi RAK
Managing Director, Italfood
The biggest challenge was to educate our customers on the key differences of our food because at first, they only looked at the price and chose cheaper alternatives. Once our customers understood that the value of our product far outweighed the price, we became their first choice. Our toughest challenge was to introduce our cheese to different demographics that do not historically eat the types of cheese that we produce. We have managed to grow our brand despite the many challenges that we faced and now distribute to most of the major hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets in the UAE. Ras Al Khaimah was our first choice when looking for an Emirate to build our organization because it is continuously growing and improving. Regarding accessing raw materials, we still bring in some from Europe. However, we pride ourselves on the fact that the milk that we use comes strictly from the UAE. We have many local resources and believe in the importance of buying local first.
Fady I. Shmaysani
Managing Director, RAK Petropack
The public and private sectors need to bring in more professionals who can develop this sector. In Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the industrial areas are well organized in terms of security and infrastructure. We are also doing this in Ras Al Khaimah, though there is still more that can be done to improve the environment. I have seen a factory in the area that does fit in with the idea of environment sustainability. There is a need for professionals who can advise the government on how to operate with the environment in mind. That said, the manufacturing sector will not play any less of a role in the future. The industry sector is wide. It is already progressing excellently, given that we are already competitive, even against Saudi players. Quality speaks for itself. A customer often agrees to pay a higher price when they see the difference in quality. The UAE is working to eliminate any international competition by making sure that 80% of the consumption of plastics is sourced from within. Previously, we faced a large competitor in Saudi Arabia. However, as it had a great deal of diversification in its products and is generally larger than us, it can lose in one product line and still be covered by other products. We, on the other hand, cannot do that. It can compete by reducing the prices of certain products and covering the losses with others. Such competition was tough on us. Now, however, it is not the case due to the new regulation.
Having a business set up in the economic zone has been a great experience for us. We can have full ownership. That is why foreigners are more interested in setting up here. It is also possible to get visas and paperwork processed quickly. Other benefits include no customs duties for importing or exporting goods or materials. There are customs fees or other charges; however, it is still extremely competitive. In our case, we have felt the benefits because we do business with customers outside of the country as well. We export freely to them without problems. We import materials from outside of the UAE without paying any taxes. The main reason that we chose to set up at RAKEZ's state-of-the-art Al Hamra Industrial Zone was the convenience of the location, with logistical accessibility to both Sharjah and Dubai. RAKEZ also provides extremely cost-effective solutions for businesses, and that is why we chose to set up our business here. The team at RAKEZ was extremely helpful when we were in the early days of setting up our operations; and their assistance was invaluable, especially when establishing the power connection. We enjoy an interactive and supportive relationship, and are proud to be one of RAKEZ's companies chosen to be visited by foreign delegations that come to Ras Al Khaimah from all around the world to explore investment opportunities it offers.
Board Member, Turbotim
We decided to base ourselves in Ras Al Khaimah firstly because it is convenient in terms of reaching the other UAE centers such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. For example, most of the companies working in industries that use equipment like stone crushers are based in Fujairah, and we can reach these clients in 25 minutes. Dubai is only 45 minutes away. This is a huge advantage for us. If we were based in Dubai, we would face many difficulties with the traffic, rent, and competition. Ras Al Khaimah is growing in the sense that there are people who are motivated to come here and open companies. This is because it is easier to get things done here compared to Dubai. In addition, prices are cheaper, including salaries. When we came in 2009, we were the only large workshop in the area. Since then, I have seen many workshops open so there is some competition now. However, it will take more time for competition to grow markedly in Ras Al Khaimah, unlike in Dubai, which is extremely competitive.