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Dubai has MidEast’s largest number of free zones

City’s 28 free zones include the DMCC, which was voted Global Free Zone of the Year in 2018 for the 4th year running


Dubai hosts 17.5 percent of the 160 free zones in the Middle East, accounting for as many as 28. This includes what is considered the city's crown jewel, the Dubai Multi Commodities Center, or DMCC, which hosted 14,805 companies at the start of 2018 and was named fDi's Global Free Zone of the Year in 2018 for the fourth year running.

Dubai has long been a destination of choice for those wanting 100 percent company ownership, low tax rates, and quick access to international markets.

According to fDi Intelligence, citing numbers collated by the World Free Zones Organization, the United Arab Emirates has 47 free zones that are host to more than 20,000 companies, followed by Jordan with 40 zones, Iran with 21, and Turkey with 20. Within the UAE, Abu Dhabi has eight free zones, Ras Al Khaimah four, and Sharjah three.

The Middle East is now the fourth largest free zone host region in the world, according to WFZO, with as many as 7.3 percent of the world's free zones.

Free zones comprise nearly 30 percent of all global trade. In 2014, they accounted for approximately 33 percent of the UAE’s non-oil trade and 37 percent of Dubai’s non-oil trade, according to the WFZO.