Compared to its glamorous neighbour Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah does not get nearly the amount of publicity it deserves. If you’re an entrepreneur seeking to expand to emerging markets abroad, there are crucial reasons why this emirate should make it to the top of your list.
It’s probably inaccurate to classify Ras Al Khaimah as an ‘emerging market’ because it has a long, rich economic history focused on trade and export. As the northernmost emirate of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, its mountain ranges contain vast reserves of high-quality clay, limestone and sand. These resources power a manufacturing sector that has been quietly flourishing for over two decades.
According to the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, the emirate will experience a twelve percent jump in visitors in 2016. Based on these projections, the authority has increased its promotional budget by 85% this year in the efforts to woo tourists, with a focus on targeting visitors from Poland, Finland, India, Kazakhstan and China.
Ras Al Khaimah has been ranked by the Financial Times fDi Magazine as one of the ‘Top 10 Small and Mid-sized Global Cities of the Future’, alongside Zurich, Geneva, and Edinburgh. The emirate was in the top 10 in a total of six categories, including Top 20 Middle Eastern Cities, Best Free Zones in the Middle East, and Cities Most Attractive for Foreign Direct Investment. The latest data showed that its GDP has risen by over 28%, while economic outlook by global credit rating agencies is favourable.
RAK Free zone
One of the primary factors in this growth has been the creation of the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ), which earned the top spot in fDi Magazine’s list of Best Free Zones in the Middle East. The FTZ is presently home to more than 8000 enterprises from over 100 countries, representing over fifty industrial sectors. RAK Free Zone has branched out from the region’s traditional focus on industrial manufacturing, and currently supports trading, sales and marketing activities as well as a wide range of service sectors, and logistics and distribution platforms.
RAK FTZ has played a primary role in Ras Al Khaimah’s transformation into an attractive business destination because it possesses three major advantages:
- Enterprises in the free zone do not have to pay any corporate or income taxes and can own 100 percent of their ventures.
- Business costs including the cost of renting facilities and land for development, procuring licences and providing housing for employees, is up to 50% lower than at free zones elsewhere in the UAE. This factor helps companies maximise their return on investment.
- RAK FTZ lies in close proximity to one of the world’s largest logistics hubs: Dubai. The free zone is only 45 minutes away from the Dubai International Airport, which serves 120+ airlines that fly to more than three hundred destinations across six continents.
With its world-class business facilities, broad range of offices, secured warehouses, ease of setting up a business, overall cost-effectiveness, and long-term growth, RAK is the perfect destination for company formation. A company formations expert can help you in understanding the steps to be taken to set up a business in the RAK FTZ.