Barely 50 years ago, the United Arab Emirates, or UAE, was an economically unimportant and sparsely populated British protectorate. But striking oil in the 1950s and declaring independence from the British in 1971 transformed this Arabic-speaking state into a thriving and developed economy.
Much of its success can also be attributed to its unique demographic profile: just 12% of the population are native Emiratis. The rest are expatriates from far and wide, including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Europe. The UAE's net migration is the highest in the world, so its total population continues to grow at speed.
Inbound migration brings with it inbound investment, creating a virtuous circle that has helped the UAE diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil exports. A moderate, business-friendly outlook and zero income tax makes UAE trade an attractive proposition for workers and businesses alike.
Seemingly overnight, the UAE has developed a mature e-commerce market: smartphones are commonplace and internet penetration is amongst the highest in the world. The UAE isn’t the most populous nation on earth, but almost everyone is online.
Urban centers like Dubai have successfully tapped into the tourism trade, building entire cities from the ground up in just a few years.
The construction and modernization work continues to power forward: there are more than 7,000 construction projects underway in the UAE, bringing in billions of dollars of investment.
The jewel in the crown is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure on earth. It’s a jaw-dropping 160 floors and 828 meters high.
Every e-commerce company and exporter is looking for new, fertile trading opportunities and the UAE’s rapid growth and developed economy make it a top contender for your next export market.
Get our country guide and find out:
- Why the UAE is such a prosperous target market
- Which goods are in demand right now in the UAE economy
- Why the UAE’s e-commerce sector is about to hit its stride