Registering your company - Singapore vs Dubai : A comparison

Both these cities are located in different geographical zone and cater to different continents. So a comparison is difficult. But below are the few points worth noting:

Economic base

Dubai is primarily oil, tourism and retail based economy. It’s main focus is on the oil business in the around region. In recent years Dubai government has made efforts to diversify the economy into other segments like trade, tourism and retail. Because of its heavy reliance on oil, its susceptible to volatile situations happening in the international oil market. In the downturn of 2009, the property market in Dubai crashed and many businesses were significantly impacted.

Singapore economy in comparison has much broader base. Trade, manufacturing, shipping, banking and finance are at the core of Singapore economy. Because of its broad base, Singapore was minimally impacted in the downturn of 2009.

    Tax rates

    Singapore has corporate tax rate of 17%, whereas there is no tax charges on corporate income in Dubai. Obviously it appears that Dubai is a clear winner here. However The government of Dubai has other fiscal revenues through various fees it levies, including road tolls, airport tax, hotel tax, house rent tax, visa fees and various license fees. So the cost of all this needs to be taken into consideration. In fact experienced economist suggest that a modern and transparent tax regime is what Dubai need to move to.

      Foreign ownership in companies

      Singapore allows 100% foreign ownership in the companies registered here. There is no need to get a local partner to act as a shareholder. This way you are 100% owner of your venture in Singapore.

      In Dubai, a foreigner can hold maximum 49% shares in the companies established outside the Free Trade Zone. Rest 51% shareholding must be with a UAE national. In case of a flourishing business this can be a problem as the controlling stake is with somebody you don’t really know.

      Companies registered in Dubai free trade zone are allowed to have 100% foreign shareholding, but this option has many restrictions.


        Official language in Singapore is English. We have clean and transparent procedures and over last few year all business and government activities have moved online. For the incorporation, business licenses, Visa, banking transaction etc we don’t need to get out of our office. All these things can be done by a professional firm like our’s by using an online government platform. This has contributed significantly in reducing the bureaucracy.

        Official language of Dubai is Arabic, and Dubai has still some journey to cover so far as bureaucracy is concerned. Many business related activities still require personal visits and may take a long time to process.

          Residency & Citizenship

          Singapore government is very pragmatic and welcomes talented individuals to settle in Singapore. After working in Singapore for 3-4 years you can apply for permanent residency, which gives you almost all the rights a citizen can do (with some exceptions). After around 3-4 years on permanent residency you can apply for citizenship. In 2011, 25000 people got permanent residency and 16000 people became citizen.

          There is no such residency or citizenship in Dubai. Citizenship can be obtained only by birth. The popularly called residency visa in Dubai is actually not a permanent residency, but it’s just a visa issued for 3 years either for housing, investment or employment purpose.