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10 Top Business Opportunities to Explore in the Middle East

1046 Views | 2 min | Published On: June 16, 2023 Last Updated: January 2, 2024
business opportunities middle east apptunix

The Middle East has emerged as the prime destination for businesses of all kinds. Over the course of the past few decades, it has become a center of focus for business investors around the world. Reasons? Rising GDP and huge business investment inflows.

According to World Economics, the total GDP of the Middle East is $8,500+ billion in 2022 and it makes up for 5% of the global GDP. This, among other factors, makes it a top business destination in 2023 and beyond.

Cairo, Dubai, Doha, Jeddah, Tel Aviv, and Abu Dhabi are taking the lead in the list of ideal destinations for setting up a business in the Middle East and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

Business-friendly tax rules, easy access to resources, an educated workforce, an increasing population, and a galore of trading opportunities are just some of the many reasons that make the Middle East an ideal place to start or expand your business.

Setting up your business in the Middle East allows you to provide services across the region. In addition to carrying out offline operations, you also need to develop a mobile app and open a website for your customers to find you online.

If you are a budding entrepreneur searching for the best business opportunities in the Middle East countries or MENA region, or you want to expand your business operations in the UAE, then you’ve stumbled across the right blog post.

Here, we will explain 10 different business opportunities to explore in the Middle East. We’ll also look into the top 6 advantages of operating a business in the Middle East. So, let’s start.

10 Best Business Opportunities to Explore in the Middle East

As the Middle East continues to attract more and more FDIs and FIIs, many business ideas in the Middle East are suitable to launch here. This is our pick of the 10 best business opportunities to make hay out of the Middle East market right now:

Top Business Opportunities to Explore in the Middle East

1.eCommerce

The eCommerce industry has immense potential in the MENA region. It is among the emerging major industries in the Middle East.

According to Statista, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and UAE were the three biggest eCommerce markets in MENA with a market size of 13 billion, 12.5 billion, and 10.7 billion, respectively.

The region witnessed more online sales than in-store sales for the first time in early 2020. Since then, the count of online sales has outpaced offline sales. This has led eCommerce businesses to set their sights high on providing their services in the Middle East.

B2B and B2C sellers can fulfill the need for online buying and selling in the Middle East. Once an eCommerce business is set up successfully here, especially in Dubai, it can be then operated from anywhere in the world.

2.EdTech

Education technology received a huge boost after the coronavirus pandemic. This was the time when there was a need to provide education services online to mitigate the education delivery challenges imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Middle East has a good chunk of the population that belongs to other countries. For example, over 80% of the Dubai population is expats. Hence, there is a huge demand for providing educational services in multiple languages.

Unlike traditional educational services that require you to purchase a license to open a school, college, or some other educational institution, you can provide online courses by setting up an educational technology business. You can also leverage artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality, to offer practical learning classes to your audience.

By 2027, the MEA market for educational technology and smart classrooms is expected to reach $7,626.1 million. The statistics show that this industry will expand in the upcoming years.

3.EVs

Electric vehicles are witnessing humongous growth. At present, the EV market is expected to reach $561 billion in 2023 and has already sold over 10.6 million EVs.

ev units sold 2017-2022

At present, EVs are costlier commodities, but the technology is continuously improving and becoming cheaper. As the Middle East has some of the wealthiest countries, it is a great test track for innovations in electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are complex. They require internet connectivity, AI, GPS, and other technology to provide services efficiently to EV owners. Moreover, the EV infrastructure includes electric vehicle charging stations that are still not enough in number to make EVs go mainstream. Nonetheless, advancements in EV technology are on the rise.

The demand for electric vehicles is increasing throughout the world. Launching your electric vehicle business, especially in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi) and Saudi Arabia (Jeddah, Riyadh) is a fruitful endeavor.

electric vehicle development guide

4.FinTech Services

As businesses are growing in the Middle East, so is the need for innovative financial technology solutions. For business, this primarily includes accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping services.

Although the financial errands for full-fledged companies are managed by big financial firms in the region, there is a lot of room for handling the financial tasks of the rapidly growing SMEs and startups.

Businesses in the Middle East require someone who can facilitate their finance operations and generate accurate reports regularly. Thus, opening a fintech business in the Middle East is a business idea worth exploring.

You will have the opportunity to connect with a worldwide customer by starting a FinTech business in this industry. Digital payment systems are currently used by 3.8 billion persons worldwide; by 2025, that figure will rise to 5 billion.

It is feasible to argue that FinTech has a big market potential in the Middle East and that business owners can profit from this investment given the increased need for digital payment software.

You can hire a fintech app development company to help you put up an app and website for your business.

5.Gaming

Gaming is a multi-billion-dollar industry that is loved across the globe. Being popular in all regions of the world makes it a top business idea to explore in the Middle East.

According to Statista, Saudi Arabia generates the most revenue from video games in the MENA region and Egypt has the highest share of gaming users.

You can hire app developer in Dubai to to develop a mobile app that you can then advertise and promote in the region to generate revenue for your business.

6.IT and Web Development

Dubai is listed among the top smart cities in the MENA region. At present, it is home to thousands of tech startups. With the increasing demand for IT services in the region, more and more IT businesses are looking forward to starting their operations in the Middle East.

Consequently, there is a huge demand for IT and web development services, including digital marketing, mobile app development, online PR, and online security.

7.Logistics and Transportation

Many regions in the Middle East flaunt world-class infrastructure for supporting logistics and transportation operations, including Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Dubai, Doha, Jeddah, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv.

Moreover, the demand for trans-city transportation and local taxi services is high for residents and tourists alike. Therefore, it is high time to hire logistics and transportation development services to help you open your business digitally in the Middle East.

8.On-Demand Delivery

The on-demand market is huge. It involves a lot of services required by customers, ranging from taxi booking and food ordering to medicine delivery and home services.

You can partner with an on-demand app development company to get a white-label solution that you can then offer to your customers.

9.Retail

The growing population and migration of people from other countries to the Middle East to grab job opportunities have paved the way for the retail industry to mushroom in the region.

Other factors that contribute greatly to the rise of retail in the Middle East include an expanding economy, an increased standard of living, a rising population, and a huge influx of foreign tourists.

While thinking about grabbing the retail opportunity, you need to consider the mode of retail you want, including the sales office, storefront, and warehouse.

10. Tourism

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world is considered to be Dubai. The emirate makes money from trade, tourism, and other associated industries.

It is widely recognized that countries attracting tourists from around the world include Kuwait and Dubai. By 2032, studies show that the Middle East would earn $400.71 billion in revenue from tourism.

To increase the number of visitors, numerous new attractions are frequently added. So if you’re interested, it would be a smart idea to start working in the travel and tourism sector.

6 Benefits of Operating a Business in the Middle East

There are several great perks of operating and running a business in the Middle East. The most important among them are:

middle east business benefits

1.Access to the GCC

GCC stands for the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is a group of the 6 richest countries – namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – in the Middle East.

The group provides a legal framework for facilitating economic, political, and military coordination in the region. In terms of economics, this means that it facilitates businesses in one location to operate in other locations that the council covers.

Starting a business in any of the GCC countries allows the business to enjoy a simple business registration procedure, special investment regulations, and tax benefits.

2.Educated Workforce

An educated workforce is pivotal for any business’s success, whether on-demand grocery delivery or telemedicine. In many Middle Eastern regions, the workforce available is well-equipped with bachelor’s, master’s, post-graduate, doctoral, and other degrees.

3.Excellent Geographical Location

The Middle East sits at an excellent geographical location that facilitates businesses to gain access to a slew of markets.

In the past, the single biggest business in the region was oil and gas, which has now changed as several nations in the region are now expanding their business horizons by supporting other economic sectors that are helping them attract investors from around the world.

4.Heart of the International Trade

The Middle East has served as a crossroads for international trade for many millennia. It is the region that was part of the legendary Silk Road and at present of the 21st century oil and gas route.

The region has excellent port facilities that make it an ideal location to trade with other regions across the globe.

5.Pro-Business Taxation System

In recent years, governments in the Middle East have released tax structures that benefit business owners. While some taxation systems allow businesses to pay low corporate taxes, others allow businesses to avoid paying any corporate taxes.

6.Robust Infrastructure

Thanks to the region’s role in the global oil and gas industry, the Middle East supports excellent infrastructure.

This makes it easy for the region to use the same architecture with modifications for supporting other forms of businesses, including finance, e-commerce, IT, and transportation.

Apptunix is Your Trusted IT Solutions Partner to Start and Run a Business in the Middle East

Apptunix is a leading IT solutions provider in the Middle East. We have a physical office located in Dubai from where we oversee our operations in the entire region.

We have not only helped businesses in the Middle East to take their business online and optimise business operations but also helped businesses around the world to target the lucrative Middle East.

Conclusion

In the past, the Middle East region has been strictly tied to oil and natural gas supply and tourism, but now it is becoming more welcoming for other types of businesses as a result of many regional economies looking to diversify their business portfolio.

As such, it is high time to start or provide your business offerings in the region pertaining to the business sectors mentioned above.

Apptunix is an experienced mobile app development company that has helped a multitude of businesses set up their operations in the region. Our professionals have a wide array of experience to help you develop mobile apps and websites for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q 1.What are the best places for business in the Middle East?

There are several great locations to start and run a business in the Middle East. The most important among them are Dubai (UAE), Doha (Qatar), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Abu Dhabi (UAE), and Amman (Jordan).

Q 2.Which city is the richest in the Middle East?

Dubai is the richest city in the Middle East. During the third quarter of 2022, it ranked first in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) with 13 billionaires. It ranked 27th richest country in the world on the same list.

Q 3.What are the best businesses to start in the Middle East?

The Middle East is a rapidly-developing region, making it an excellent starting point for businesses. At present, advertising, information technology, web development, travel agency, transportation and logistics, education, and healthcare are the leading business ideas to start in the Middle East.

Q 4.What is the most profitable business in the Middle East?

Perhaps the aforementioned companies are the most lucrative ones. Creating a prosperous business in the Middle East is another option; you may also consider businesses such as manufacturing, consultancy, fashion & beauty, or digital marketing sectors. Additionally, low-investment businesses in Dubai include cleaning services, daycare services, handyman businesses, and more.

Q 5.How to start a business in the Middle East?

You should research the idea and gauge the market before beginning a business. Create a business plan, acquire funding, and team up with the best app development company to launch after that.

Q 6.What is the minimum investment to start a business in the Middle East?

The cost of operating a business in Dubai’s mainland is mostly influenced by the type and location of your firm as well as the number of visa permits needed. In Dubai, AED 18,000 is the least amount required to launch a service-based firm.

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