1. Dubai is an entry point to the fast-developing markets of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. "These are markets growing at double the rates of the developed world, and the hub for accessing these markets is Dubai," said Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, chairman of the management executive committee of the Abraaj Group, a private equity firm with $9 billion under management. Countries like India and Nigeria are expected to keep growing at rates of more than 5 percent a year, while developed markets growth may hover around 2 percent to 3 percent a year.
Dubai is not only geographically central to some of the hottest developing markets, it has a huge transportation and trading infrastructure. It features a huge deepwater port, Jebel Ali Port, that funnels trade to the Gulf, Africa and the Indian subcontinent, and the world's third busiest airport.
2. Neither companies nor individuals, including expats, pay sales or income tax, and the economy has diversified. The GDP per capita in the UAE, a federation of seven emirates, is nearly $45,000. But in contrast to some of the other emirates, Dubai is insulated from the declining price of oil, which was between $35 and $40 as of press time. "Thanks to an ambitious strategy to diversify its economy, Dubai no longer relies on commodities to power its economic growth," the Brookings Institute noted. The biggest sectors in the Dubai economy are trade and tourism, which account for more than 28 percent of the GDP; business and finance, which account for more than 27 percent; and transportation, accounting for nearly 14 percent.
The low taxes make Dubai a natural choice for entrepreneurs, and Dubai is seen as a tech hub in the Middle East, home to companies including Souq.com, a fast-growing e-commerce company whose valuation has been reported at more than $1 billion. The Middle East region suffers from a dearth of capital for high-tech businesses, but there are some VC firms focused on the UAE, including Dubai Silicon Oasis Fund, CDG Capital Private Equity and Womena.