The Pros and Cons of Freezone vs Mainland Business Setup in Dubai

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Dubai is known for its business-friendly environment, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs looking to set up their business.When considering business setup in Dubai, entrepreneurs often face the decision of choosing between Freezone and Mainland company structures. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of Freezone and Mainland business setups to help you make an informed decision for your company.

Freezone Business Setup

Freezone companies are businesses that are set up in designated areas that offer tax and customs duty exemptions. These areas are designed to attract foreign investment and encourage economic growth. Some of the popular Freezones in Dubai are Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Pros of Freezone Business Setup:

  1. 100% Foreign Ownership: Freezone companies allow 100% foreign ownership, which means that you can set up and operate a business without a local partner.
  2. Tax Exemptions: Freezone companies enjoy tax exemptions on corporate and personal income tax, as well as customs duties on imports and exports.
  3. Easy Company Setup: Setting up a company in Freezone is a streamlined process with minimal bureaucracy, making it a convenient option for new entrepreneurs.

Cons of Freezone Business Setup:

  1. Limited Scope of Business Activities: Freezones are designed to cater to specific industries, which means that your business activities may be restricted.
  2. Expensive Renewal Fees: Freezone companies are subject to high renewal fees, which can increase your overhead costs.

Mainland Business Setup

Mainland companies are businesses that are registered and licensed by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). These companies are allowed to conduct business in any part of Dubai, including Freezones. Mainland companies can also engage in a wide range of business activities, making them an attractive option for entrepreneurs.

Pros of Mainland Business Setup:

  1. No Limitation on Business Activities: Mainland companies are not limited to specific industries or business activities, giving you the freedom to operate in any sector.
  2. Access to a Larger Market: Mainland companies have access to the local UAE market as well as the international market, which can increase your business prospect
  3. Lower Renewal Fees: Mainland companies are subject to lower renewal fees compared to Freezone companies.

Cons of Mainland Business Setup:

  1. Local Partner Requirement: Mainland companies require a local partner or a UAE national sponsor, which can mean that you need to share ownership and control of your business.
  2. More Bureaucracy: Setting up a Mainland company can be a time-consuming process due to the bureaucracy involved in obtaining licenses and permits.


Both Freezone and Mainland business setups have their pros and cons. It’s essential to understand your business objectives, the nature of your business activities, and your budget before making a decision. Consulting with a professional business setup consultant can help you navigate the process and choose the right structure for your company.

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