Invest in Sharjah

Being the largest population center in the emirate, Sharjah is home to more than 1.53 Million people. It is the third largest emirate in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and is the only one to have access to the ocean on two sides viz. the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Speed across 2,590 square kilometers, there's much more to Sharjah that meets the eye.

It is pertinent to note, that in 1932, Sharjah housed the first ever airport in the United Arab Emirates —the RAF Sharjah. The said airport's runway is now part of King Abdul Aziz Street in the city center. One clear pointer of how Sharjah has grown comes from them increased footfall at the Sharjah International Airport. Once a rather minuscule number of less than a million passengers in 2003 has grown leaps and bounds to over >11 million passengers in 2017 (SIA).

Unexplored Tourism potential

Surprisingly, even the people living in the neighboring emirates like Dubai, Ajman, and Fujairah are somewhat unaware of the delightful attractions and opportunities Sharjah offers. "I was surprised to see how much of culture and tourism potential this city has. Plus, my entire family spent a week of our holidays here and this city just keeps giving. We are loving it," said Adil Bhat, a real estate professional based out of Dubai.

To invest in Sharjah; the time is now!

The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the agency which facilitates and promotes investment opportunities in Sharjah, describes the emirate as a 'uniquely positioned' investment destination. As the city continues to leverage its geographical advantages, cultural attractions and avenues of diversified growth; Sharjah is more like a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

"With agencies like Shurooq, it has become all the easier to get market intelligence and guidance for investments in Sharjah," said Omar Javed, a businessmen cum investor exploring Sharjah as his next investment destination after Jordan.

Speaking about Shurooq, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority said, "Sharjah has embarked on a wide range of achievements and economic developments, focusing on the growth of the emirate's four key sectors: tourism, healthcare, environment, and transportation; Sharjah has year-on-year taken advantage of its non-oil market growth and expanded on new sectors, allowing more diversified capital flow across new emerging markets such as real estate, education, SMEs, entrepreneurship and light manufacturing."

"Today, Sharjah is one of the key drivers for Indian outbound investment volumes into the Gulf Region, valued at more than $137 billion, and among the key contributors for the nation's trade volumes into the UAE, which were also valued at around $ 53 billion as of last year, with projections to hit around $ 100 billion by 2020," he added.

When asked about the ease of doing business, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, said, "In recent months we have developed new free zones and streamlined business registration processes, encouraging the launch of new enterprises. The licensing environment for start-ups and new SMEs has changed significantly in the last few years, with the addition of three new free zones in Sharjah alone over the past 12 months. These hubs of creativity and innovation offer businesses 100 percent ownership, free business consultations and comprehensive know-how about the local business environment, office spaces equipped with latest technologies to work out of, and several other attractions."

Such step-by-step guidance is a very rare offering when it comes to investments in the UAE. And with a government-backed agency offering this, the trust factor makes it all the easier.

Investment open in Sharjah

What are Free Zones? Can an investor really get 100% ownership?

According to Shurooq, there are more than 13,000 companies in Sharjah Free Zones {Hamriyah Free Zone (HFZ) & Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF)} with investors coming from 157+ nations. The Free Zones offer 100% ownership to investors with easy access to ports and airports, thus making Sharjah an important industrial and manufacturing centers of the UAE. Besides the ownership, these free zones offer full repatriation of profits and exemption from the VAT (value added tax) provide the activity is export-oriented.

The city is in the process of opening up non-industrial free zones viz. publishing, media, health, Research & Development and more. As Sharjah offers relatively easier set-up processes in its Free Zones, the fact that it is a rather lower-cost emirate, adds up to the business advantage for investors & business owners.

The Ruler's Vision

Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah and the member of UAE's supreme council has often been quoted his vision of equitable and comprehensive development. His views on foreign investments in Sharjah are said to be beyond the material implications. "Foreign investment is not only a method of achieving personal economic goals, but it is also a partner in creating sustainable economic and social development," the ruler of Sharjah was quoted in The Report Sharjah, 2018.

Ruler Of Sharjah on Invest in Sharjah

Keep an eye out for the second part of this series on Sharjah where we will explore the tourism potential and attractions.