Dubai's e-Trader platform records best year since inception as 2021 issuances rise 6%

The number of permits issued since 2017 hit 16,409, reflecting the continuing growth of the emirate's e-commerce sector

Dubai has been heavily promoting its digital economy and transformation. Pawan Singh / The National

The number of e-Trader licences issued by the Dubai government rose 6 per cent in 2021 to 6,217, reflecting the continued growth of the e-commerce sector.

The issuances made 2021 the best year so far for the e-Trader platform, topping the 5,848 permits issued in 2020, the Business Registration and Licensing sector at the emirate's Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) said on Tuesday.

This brought the total number of licences issued to 16,409 since the platform's launch in March 2017. In comparison, 4,344 licences had been issued by the end of 2019.

The professional segment accounted for 79 per cent of the permits issued, followed by the commercial segment at 21 per cent.

The most popular business activities in 2021 were in the fields of information technology, ready-made garments, women’s tailoring and design, handicrafts, men’s tailoring and design, publishing and printing services, facility management, marketing services and food preparation.

The UAE's e-commerce market significantly grew after the pandemic as more consumers turned to online channels for their shopping needs.

The sector grew 53 per cent to a record $3.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand further, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said last June.

Through the e-Trader licence, which is issued electronically, the DET aims to regulate and enhance the ease of doing business online, as well as connect customers with traders.

The permit allows start-ups and businesses to operate from their places of residence or on digital platforms such as social networking sites. One of the objectives is to thwart the sale of counterfeit goods on these platforms.

While a licence holder cannot open a shop, they can avail of three employment visas if the ownership is 100 per cent Emirati, with the legal liability falling on the licence holder.

Overall, Dubai issued 55,194 business licences in the first 10 months of 2021, 69 per cent more than in the same period a year earlier, reflecting the high-growth opportunities in various sectors and the growing confidence in the overall economy, the DET said last November.

The DET was formed after Dubai's departments of economy and tourism were merged last November to boost the emirate's competitiveness through measures to promote trade and attract more visitors.

Updated: January 25, 2022, 10:55 AM