How to start an E-commerce business in Dubai

Many entrepreneurs and investors flock to the UAE to start the business of their dreams. Due to the ease of business setup in Sharjah as well as its lucrative market filled with high spenders, the country shows active encouragement for those who wish to start a business of their own. Even in the online sphere, the country stands out amongst the rest. With an E-commerce market valuation of over US $10 billion, the UAE is a leader within the MENA region, which is astounding considering its population. Over 81% of the UAE’s adult population engages in online shopping, purchasing products through various online platforms. In this article, we explain how you can start an E-commerce business in the UAE.

 1. Choose your line of business and business license

Once you’ve decided to start your business online, it’s time to decide what services or products you’d like to sell. It can be anything from pottery to electronics, the sky is the limit. Based on your choice of economic activity, you can begin to decide your license type. Some business activities may require more than one license or a different license altogether, but most firms opt for an E-commerce license to start their operations. This license covers most business activities across various online platforms and allows for the trading of goods and services through the medium of the internet.

2. Select the appropriate legal structure

Once all matters regarding the line of business and licensing are finished, decide the legal structure your company will be modeled after. There are a variety of options to choose from, including:

  • 100% ownership, which is allowed to locals within the country and expatriates who decide to set up their business within a free zone; and
  • Limited Liability Company, wherein part ownership (at least 51%) is given to a local sponsor.

3. Register the company’s trade name and select an appropriate location

A trade name is equivalent to your company’s identity, so the name must be chosen appropriately and in line with the regulations set by the UAE Government. Once you’ve selected an appropriate trade name, you can now proceed with selecting a location. Though the business may be online, you are still required by law to have a physical business location. It can range from a simple office space to a warehouse of stock. Most i zones like SPC Free Zone provide arrangements for office spaces, warehouse space, co-working space, and other locations that can accommodate your business needs perfectly.

4. Design your E-commerce website

The first step to starting and operating a successful business online would be to have a solid online store or website. You can either sell your products and services through platforms like Amazon, or you can design your own business website. There are a few key points to note if you decide to start your own website:

  • It has to be user-friendly
  • The page load time should be optimized to the highest speed
  • The layout should be optimized not only for desktops, but also for mobile and tablet

5. Legal Procedures and Documentation

In order to legally operate a business within the UAE, all business owners must be in compliance with the laws and regulations set by the UAE Government. Formal permits, initial certifications and approvals, setting up a corporate bank account, visa application, and other government related formalities must be filed, completed, and approved by government authorities in order to be able to successfully conduct business operations in the UAE.

The process of starting an E-commerce business can be confusing at first, especially if you’re new to the online sphere of business. Here at SPC Free Zone, our expert consultants break down the process of setting up an online store, making your dream online business setup in the UAE a reality in the easiest way possible. Contact us at 800 SPCFZ to start your online venture today, starting from just AED 5,750.


The information contained in this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content in this website without seeking independent legal or other appropriate advice. The content of this website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. SPC Free Zone disclaims any and all liability for actions which you take or fail to take based on any of the content contained in this website.

The operation of this website does not create a professional relationship between you and SPC Free Zone.


Start your business journey.