Prep for Expo 2020 & Set Up in the Dubai World Central Free Zone

After delving into everything to come at next year's Expo 2020 Dubai in our previous article, perhaps you're considering potential business opportunities during the exposition from the 10th of October 2020 to the 10th of April 2021. What should you do if you want to be right in the heart of the action? If you're looking to set up a business in a free zone, the business centre in Dubai South that should be at the top of your list is Dubai World Central. Why? We'll explain it all here.


expo 2020 dubai south


But first, what is Dubai South?

Dubai South is a 145 square kilometre planned city located around the new Al Maktoum International Airport, which is projected to be the world's largest. Dubai South is the Emirate’s flagship urbanisation project. The city, with its claim as "The City of You," is planned to house a million people and was designed to foster any enterprise and sector and create 500,000 jobs. Dubai South's masterplan has the whole district centred around the Al Maktoum airport and is subdivided into several areas. They include the Aviation District, Business District, Logistics District and Commercial District. There is also an Exhibition District that will be home to Expo 2020, as well as a Golf District and Residential District.


Dubai South map



Not only is Dubai South close to the Al Maktoum Airport; it also has a prime location near the Jebel Ali Port. This prime location allows companies specialising in imports and exports to save time and operational costs from the proximity to those points.


Why set up in Dubai South?


Dubai South is the Dubai World Central Headquarters

The Dubai World Central Free Zone is the free trade zone located inside Dubai South and is especially advantageous for those firms in logistics, aviation, ancillary service businesses and light industry in the business districts and business park. If you register your company in Dubai World Central as a corporation, your entity will be designated a DWC-LLC or a Dubai World Central Limited Liability Corporation.


Dubai World Central is in a logistics city

One of the most significant perks of setting up your business in Dubai World Central is having the Logistics Corridor in Dubai South. According to the Dubai South authorities, their 200-kilometre corridor allows goods to go from sea to air in a total turnaround time of four hours, making it an ideal location for all your logistical needs. The Logistics District in Dubai South also has the luxury of being close to "...45% of global oil reserves and 28% natural gas reserves." It also has two-thirds of the global population within an eight-hour flight of Dubai, offering you an unrivalled location for your operations.


Dubai World Central is accessible

Not only does Dubai World Central have the brand-new airport within easy access, but it is also within quick access of Downtown Dubai and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Its location makes it convenient for business people needing to access these areas of the Emirates. The Dubai Metro's Red Line will extend for an extra 15 kilometres from the Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station to the metro stop servicing the Expo site in 2020. A Dubai South tram line will also begin operations, and the RTA bus route 55 currently circulates in the area.


Dubai World Central has a wealth of benefits



Dubai World Central's advantages are numerous, but here are some of the ones that are the strongest for the industries most attracted to this Free Zone:

  • All DWC-LLCs can be 100% foreign-owned, meaning that you do not need a local Emirati partner.
  • No business operations are taxable.
  • Repatriate all the profits and capital to your home country.
  • Zero currency restrictions.

All entities registered in Dubai South need a physical presence in the free zone. While requiring a physical presence may seem like a drawback, they have included some benefits to make the burden less onerous. They include flexible commercial lease terms and facilities that have flexible offices and desks you can rent out. For those firms involved in imports and exports, there are no duties or taxes. The duty-free and tax-free context makes those processes even more seamless than in other Free Zones where those prices are generally set at a fixed rate.


I want to set up my business in Dubai World Central, what are the requirements?


Dubai World Central requires a physical headquarters

Every Free Zone in Dubai has its own rules, and as such, Dubai World Central also has its own. The most important is that it requires all companies registered in the Free Zone to have a physical presence. There are two options for registration in this free zone. One is registering as a branch of an already-existing legal entity outside of the Free Zone, whether in Dubai or abroad. The other is to become a DWC-LLC, which we previously stated to be an LLC within the free zone. What's the difference between them? Here's how the Dubai South authorities explained it:


A branch does not have a separate legal personality, and it derives its power and authority from the parent entity. A Branch must have a General Manager who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Branch, but it will not have a board of directors or company secretary. A Branch must retain the same name as the parent entity and end with the designation (Branch).


A DWC-LLC, however,


is a new legal entity with its own legal personality. The liability of its members (shareholders) is limited to the value of the share capital they hold in the company. A DWC limited liability company must have Shareholders, Directors, a Company Secretary and a General Manager, and will have the designation DWC-LLC.  


These are the types of business licences you can hold

There are four industrial licences that you can choose to solicit from the authorities. A commercial licence allows the holder to carry out specified commercial services, including general trading and logistics services. A service licence covers those that are stipulated in the licence within Dubai South and anywhere else inside the UAE. An industrial licence is for light manufacturing, while an education licence covers education consulting services, as well as educational aid training and other educational and social services. If you want to carry out multiple activities, you are encouraged to apply for various licences for the separate activities.


I want to get started, what do I do now?

Our team of Free Zone experts has years of experience in setting up entities across all the areas and will make sure you have all the paperwork necessary to set up correctly. If you make it through the security checks and present everything accurately, you can have the entire licensing and registration process completed and finalised with the Dubai South authorities in just one day. Are you ready to take advantage of the easy business set up in the Dubai World Central Free Zone? Get in touch with us and begin the process of establishing your Dubai World Central Corporation.


Written by

Laura Mackley

Senior Associate, Europe Emirates Group


UAE Setup Guide

Free Trade Zones
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