The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has an extremely diverse and multi-cultural society, with approximately 80 percent of the population comprised of expatriates. As a result, the UAE is widely considered to be liberal and has schools, restaurants, and cultural centers, which cater to numerous different cultures. Anyone who is thinking of starting a business in the UAE should be aware of and show respect towards local traditions.

Language in the UAE

The most commonly spoken language in the UAE is Arabic, followed by English, French, and Russian. The majority of official documents, forms, laws, and decrees are written in Arabic, so it is very helpful to have knowledge of the language prior to starting a business in the UAE. English is widely spoken throughout the UAE and though it is common for some documents to be written in English, Arabic remains the preferred language for such documents required by various public sector organizations. It is also preferred for one to have a side of their business card printed in Arabic and for one to present the card with both hands or only with the right hand immediately after introductions are made. Cards should be placed on the table when sitting down to meet, rather than putting them away immediately.

Preferred Methods of Communication

There is a significant emphasis on personal relationships when doing business in the UAE and though face-to-face business dialogue is preferred, telephone calls are also an acceptable means of communication. Emails are seen as extremely impersonal. In order to build business relationships and establish trust, contact with existing and potential partners/clients is paramount. Business relationships are built over a length of time. For situations when one is unable to meet in person, UAE virtual phone numbers and UAE toll free numbers that are virtual phone numbers can be of great assistance.

UAE toll free numbers can be purchased and set up for the organization to allow for potential and existing partners/clients to dial a toll free number to reach you. Offering this type of number to your business contacts provides a sign of commitment to doing business with your new partners as well as a willingness to accommodate them with a phone number that is toll free to them. As a business owner starting a business in the UAE, you can have calls made to your UAE toll free numbers forwarded to you mobile phone number or a landline number of your choice. This offers a great amount of flexibility for those who are often on the go and would like to avoid missing important calls.

Cultural Nuances in the UAE

The UAE is considered to be fairly modern in comparison to the remainder of the Middle East region. Many business practices are moving towards a more westernized approach, but it is still important to be respectful and aware of any and all differences that may exist.

Starting a business in the UAE may prove to be beneficial for many types of organizations worldwide and it is simple to understand what makes starting a business in the UAE such an attractive option. The World Bank ranks the UAE as fairly easy to do business with. The Index of Economic Freedom also ranks the country as ‘mostly free’ from a large amount of administrative interference related to business matters. Several reforms have helped to create a smooth-functioning and efficient regulatory system with malleable employment regulations.

There are 30 Free Trade Zones in Dubai, which boast tax exemptions, property ownership, and confidentiality, amongst other advantages.

Misunderstanding or completely disregarding cultural differences can cause great damage to business relations in this region. When starting a business in the UAE, it is important to prioritize this understanding, while establishing strong communication and relationship building.

Anyone considering starting a business in the UAE should start with UAE virtual phone numbers or UAE toll free numbers to begin communicating with potential customers and clients and enlist the help of professionals with knowledge regarding legal matters, language, and other aspects.

United World Telecom sells UAE virtual phone numbers and UAE toll free numbers to assist you and your company on your path to successful business within the UAE.