United Arab Emirates: Company Formation In Dubai Media City

Last Updated: 11 October 2017
Article by STA Law Firm
Most Read Contributor in United Arab Emirates, November 2017

hAPPINESS

'If opportunity does not knock, build a door'

{C}-        {C}Milton Berle

Yes, Appiness. The time I used to spend on reading, cooking, playing sports is all a thing of past! What do I do these days, you may ask? Apps, apps and apps. They give me appiness. From technology to IT, media to print, virtually every industry in the world is becoming an App fan. Speaking of world, it means global appiness. Are you appy? Let's move on! 

The media sector is one of the most versatile and dynamic industries on the planet. In contrast to other industries, the media industry does not owe this to the attribute to the constant change in domestic regulatory framework or the evolving faces of global financial climate. On the other hand, trend is the basis of the media industry; and this trend does not originate by itself. Trend is created by the imagination that is backed up by public demand. For instance, when Mickey Mouse first appeared to the public in 1928, there was widespread speculation about the success of an animated figure in comparison to real-life movie stars of the time. But that year marked the birth of a trend for animated movies which gained unprecedented popularity in the century to follow. Although, this article is about the opportunity to create a new trend or pattern rather than spending your valuable time on discussing about the success of trends in the past century

Talking about the opportunity to develop new trends, the Dubai Media City (the DMC; or the Free Zone) came into existence in 2001 to foster the country's position in the global media industry by providing domestic and international players with a regional base to cultivate contemporary trends in the industry. More than a decade into the future, the Free Zone has become the home to more than 2,000 media companies that push the limits of imagination and creativity each day.

Company Formation in Dubai Media City: The Process

The Dubai Media City aims to provide investors in the media sector with exclusive state-of-the-art facilities to facilitate the free flow of creativity and artistry within the region's largest information and communications technology (ICT) community. The Free Zone is equipped with integrated fiber optic cables and custom-built offices and studios to meet the dynamic change in trends of the media industry.

Investors desirous of business setup in Dubai Media City may set up a free zone limited liability company (FZ-LLC) with natural and corporate shareholders or a branch of a UAE or foreign company. Investors interested in establishing free zone limited liability company in the DMC have to adhere to minimum share capital requirements that have been laid down by the free zone authorities. Whereas, international or domestic entities that are looking to establish their presence in the region may opt to set up a branch office in the Free Zone without any minimum share capital requirements. However, these branch offices are only permitted to carry out the same activities of the parent company in the DMC. But that is not all. Individuals professionals in the media sector also have the option of registering themselves as a sole practitioner in the Free Zone by obtaining a freelance permit and conducting their professional activities under their birth name. This is a significant overhaul of the DMC as compared to other free zones in the region since they do not require a minimum required share capital or a separate legal entity to commence their operations. Due to our significant experience with the process of company incorporation in Dubai Media City, we recommend investors to compile the following documents before initiating the incorporation process in the free zone:-

Investors may also opt from various office spaces that suit their specific activities once these documents are submitted to the free zone authorities. The Free Zone provides commercial areas, boutique villas, and business centers to facilitate the custom needs and requirements of the media industry.

The DMC also houses a dedicated innovation platform (in5) that provides a creative and technical environment to media professionals with the view of nurturing their start-ups and students who practice in the media sector. The Free Zone is a distinct city altogether within the heart of Dubai that supports media companies and entrepreneurs with dedicated infrastructure and other miscellaneous facilities ranging from hotels and restaurants to fitness centers and retail outlets. Therefore, the DMC is the premier entrepreneurial platform for investors in the media industry looking to establish their presence in the region. Domestic investors, as well as multinational giants, have opted for this free zone due to their sector-specific requirements. However, applicants should draft the business plan and the application form with care (preferably with the assistance of a law firm that provides bespoke legal advice) to ensure that the company formation process does not face any undue delay.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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