Dubai government issued more than 18,013 e-Trader licences since the inception of the programme in March 2017, the Business Registration and Licensing sector at the emirate’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) said on Monday.
The e-Trader licence scheme enables start-ups and freelancers in Dubai to do businesses online and across social networking accounts. One of the objectives is to thwart the sale of counterfeit goods on these platforms.
Of the total licences issued since 2017, 13,671 are professional and 4,342 commercial, DET said.
Last year, the number of e-Trader permits rose 6.3 per cent to 6,217, reflecting the growth of the e-commerce sector. In 2020 and 2019, the number of e-Trader licences issued by the Dubai government stood at 5,848 and 4,344, respectively.
“This reflects the continuous focus on promoting e-commerce and the competitiveness of Dubai’s economy … the commitment to realising the vision of the government to drive digital transformation and build awareness about the e-platforms that facilitate commercial activities,” the DET said.
The UAE's e-commerce market grew significantly after the coronavirus pandemic as more consumers turned to online channels for their shopping requirements.
It is forecast to grow 60 per cent to more than $8 billion by 2025 from 2021, according to a report by EZDubai, an e-commerce zone in Dubai South, and Euromonitor International.
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.
Under this scheme, the e-Trader licence holder cannot open a physical shop. But if the business is 100 per cent owned by an Emirati then the licence-holder can have three employment visas issued.
Some of the benefits for the e-Trader licence holders include Dubai Chamber membership for commercial activities, a customs client code that facilitates import and export through dubaitrade.ae, temporary employment services, participation in exhibitions, conferences and training workshop and special offers from banks such as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Mashreq, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Emirates Islamic and Dubai Islamic Bank.
The e-Trader licence can be obtained within minutes by registering on invest.dubai.ae, the DET said.
The DET was formed after Dubai's departments of economy and tourism were merged last November to improve the emirate's competitiveness through measures to promote trade and attract more visitors.
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 in November.