The United Arab Emirates U. A. E. were formally established on 2nd December 1971 with the federation of the seven Emirates Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Fujairah and Ras al-Khaimah.
The UAE is located on the Eastern coast of the Arabic Peninsula, in the South West corner of the Arabian Gulf, bordering Saudi Arabia and Oman. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE as well as the largest Emirate.
Dubai city is located in the northern deserts and considered to be the second largest emirate spanning 3885 sq. km within the seven emirates of United Arab Emirates. It is located on the southern shore of the gulf and thus parted by a creek. This partition of creek enables Dubai to have an upper hand over other emirates. Moreover, it features a decent combination of desert as well as desert vegetation.
The official language is Arabic, although English, Hindi and Urdu are widely spoken too..
Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate and the weather is sunny pretty much all year round. Rainfall is infrequent, irregular and usually averages about ten days a year and occurs mainly during December and January. The best time to visit Dubai is between mid-octobers until the end of April, this is obviously because during the summer months it tends to get very hot with extremely high humidity.
The UAE is one of the world's wealthiest countries, with a GDP of more than US$ 700 billion (2007), and has the third-largest proven oil reserves in the world. While oil and gas production form its foundation, Dubai is increasingly broadening its economic activity to include: financial services, real estate, tourism, trading and manufacturing.
Cultural & Population mix
Despite the development and progress of Dubai and Abu Dhabi during the last 30 years into one of the most urbanized and modern cities in the world, the local population remains firmly conscious of their heritage, legacy and culture.
Owing to the resources and foreign enterprises located in Dubai, more than 80% of the population is expatriates from across the globe and the city is home to almost 200 nationalities.
Current population approx. 1.67 million, set to increase to 3.5 million by 2010. 80% comprises of Expatriates - Arab, Asians, European, and others.
Dubai being an Arabic country, most of the population is Muslim. However, most religions coexist in Dubai. Muslims cover 96% and the rest lies with other religions like Hinduism, Christianity, and Persian etc.
The official religion is Islam and there are a large number of mosques situated throughout the country. Non-Muslims are not permitted entry into mosques. There is one exception to this which is the beautiful Jumeirah Mosque situated on Jumeirah Beach Road.
Ramadan is the holy month in which Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Holy Quran. Muslims strictly observe the traditions of Ramadan and it is a time of fasting from sunrise to sunset. The fast is broken at sunset with the Iftar feast, the timings of which are given in daily papers and broadcast on the radio
Ramadan is truly a wonderful time as the evening markets and malls open till late and there is generally an air of festivity. Most hotels will still serve food as normal during the day, but the restaurants will be discreetly screened off from view of the general public.
Please remember to respect the local traditions. Do not eat, chew gum, drink or smoke in public during the fasting times. It is also considered disrespectful to wear revealing clothing or play loud music, for example on the beach or in your hired car during that time.
Religious and national holidays
Eid Al Fitr signals the ending of the holy month of Ramadan and lasts for two days.
UAE National Day falls on 2nd December.
Eid Al Adha is part of the Hajj celebrations which lasts for four days and commence on or about 20th December. This holiday is influenced by sightings of the new moon.
New Year’s Day – 1st January
Islamic New Year – 10th January
Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday – 20th March
Some other facts
Large and Growing Economy:
Despite a relatively small population, Dubai's total imports exceed $14 billion. The reason is that Dubai is the major re-export centre for the region. The emirate's non-oil imports have expanded sharply in the recent past and are projected to grow further as it services emerging markets like India, the CIS, Central Asia and South Africa.
Diversified Business Opportunities:
There is potential for almost any type of goods and services. In the prosperous, but sparsely populated Gulf States, there is demand for foodstuff, high technology equipment and luxury products.
Tax Free Economy:
There are no foreign exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers. Import duties are extremely low, and many products are exempt.
The emirate's transport infrastructure is unrivalled in the region in terms of size, facilities and efficiency. More than 100 shipping lines and the airport serve its ports by nearly 100 airlines. English ranks on a par with Arabic as the main business language. However, as with all the markets, UAE markets also throws up its own complexities. There are many options open to international companies seeking to establish a business relationship with Dubai.