Sharjah is an increasingly attractive center for international business with high levels of infrastructure and the non-application of neither VAT nor income taxes, which have attracted many businesses to its borders.
Following years of proactive governance and a drive to support particular industries, Sharjah has gained a reputable status internationally. It is famous for its museums and care of cultural artifacts, as well as its special attention paid to education and healthcare facilities, both often performing at international standards. The American University of Sharjah, for example, has an enrollment rate of 5,600 undergraduates from 90 countries.
Sharjah's stability politically and economically continues to support growth trends. This, supported by a robust and investor friendly legal framework, has resulted in an environment that is conducive to both the SME entrepreneur and the multinational. This means that, especially when compared to other Emirates, Sharjah has a highly diversified economy.
It has over 45,000 SMEs, and GDP regularly grows at over 10%. GDP per capita has also increased in recent years, growing 50% between 2005 and 2009.
In terms of industry, Sharjah is an attractive place to do business. It consists of over 20 industrial areas, home to a wide variety of industries such as steel manufacturing, petrochemicals, and many others. What makes the Emirate even more attractive is its impressive maritime infrastructure, with the three ports of Port Khalid, Hamriya Port, and Khor Fakkan Port. It is also the only Emirate that is linked to all seven Emirates. This network is complemented by Sharjah International Airport, the first airport in the UAE, and one that is well known for its passenger airlines, including private jets and cargo services.
Starting up in Sharjah
Registering companies in Sharjah is done via the Economic Department, which offers seven different types of license. The most common types of companies are limited liability companies and individual establishments. There are certain fields that may require a special approval, and some type of licenses cannot be 100% owned by non-Emirati nationals. In such a case a partnership is established between a UAE national and the foreigner, otherwise free zones provide another solution. As part of the Companies Law, there is a 51% national ownership restriction. One piece of advice for investors is to take out long-term leases instead of ordinary rental agreements, as tenants in long-term leases enjoy more protection in accordance with the rental laws of Sharjah. Onshore investments are required to pay 5% customs duties and 5% municipal tax, but otherwise have no income tax requirements. Another advantage is that Sharjah has a lower minimum capital requirement than other Emirates, at AED150,000.
Sharjah's free zones offer 100% freehold ownership for foreigners, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, exemption from import and export duties, as well as no income tax. Investors are able to set up either an onshore company through the Economic Development Department, or a Free Zone company. These free zone companies are able to operate at either the Hamriyah Free Zone or the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler, Sharjah
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has been an inspiring leader of the Emirate since 1972, carefully watching over its development into the cultural capital of the Islamic world.read article
Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman, Department of Government Relations
TBY talks to Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, on his department's role in coordinating the delivery of information to key stakeholders and the important part it plays in cultivating sustainable development.read article
HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman , Sharjah Economic Development Department
TBY talks to HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Economic Development Department, on the resilience of Sharjah's economy and building on its well-diversified foundations.read article
HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman, Sharjah Media Corporation
TBY talks to HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation & Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, on competitiveness in the sector, its influence on the other Emirates, and expectations for the future.read article
HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General , Sharjah's Finance Departmen
TBY talks to HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of Sharjah's Finance Department & CEO of Sharjah Asset Management, on fiscal policy direction and initiatives being introduced to increase efficiency and transparency from the top down.read article
Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman , Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA)
TBY talks to Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA), on the challenges facing the Emirate's plan to reach 30% water re-use by 2020, and changing the attitudes through education.read article
Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General , Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC),
TBY talks to Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General of Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC), on the company's performance, government support of the private sector, and forecasting occupancy trends.read article
Focus: Reducing water and power consumption
Under Dr. Rashid Al Leem's stewardship, Sharjah is aiming to become the first City of Conservation. This principally encompasses supplying electricity and water through sustainable avenues with technological efficiency while raising awareness of sustainability practices.read article
Ted Young, Project Head, Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties
TBY talks to Ted Young, Project Head of the Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, on the reasons behind the market's resilience and the future of housing demands in the Emirate.read article
Focus: Mixed-use Developments
Cities within Cities
Sharjah's real estate sector is undergoing important transformations, with the government and developers focusing on megaprojects to attract investors. For this purpose, mixed-use developments are increasingly preferred to purely residential or commercial developments.read article
Focus: Fighting Cardiac Disease
The UAE Ministry of Health has stated that over half of all deaths in the UAE are the result of four oft-occurring issues: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, road traffic accidents, and congenital abnormalities. A survey from the Emirates Cardiac Society showed that almost 9 in 10 Emiratis are at risk of heart disease, with one in three unaware of that fact.read article
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman , Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
TBY talks to HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), on the growing tourism sector in the Emirate, its strategies to boost cruise tourism, and the incredible progress in Sharjah.read article
Manal Ataya, Director General , Sharjah Museums Department (SMD)
TBY talks to Manal Ataya, Director General of the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD), on cooperating on international exhibits, its educational festivals, and the challenge to ensure that museums are accessible to all.read article
Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director, Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC)
TBY talks to Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director of Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC), on the appeal of Sharjah as a MICE destination, plans for expansion, and the projected benefits of Expo 2020.read article