The Department of Economic Development (DED) issued 14,360 business licences during 2011, DED announced yesterday, arguing that the result reflects stability and growth across key economic sectors and business activities in Dubai.
The professional services sector, at seven per cent, accounted for the biggest number of licences, followed by the tourism sector at five per cent.
"Dubai's strong economic performance is demonstrated by the high number of business licences issued. It also shows the high level of investor confidence in Dubai," said Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED.
But Abdul Hamid Radwan, a UAE-based Economist, told Gulf News yesterday that while the increase in licences was positive, all aspects should be looked at.
"The big number of new licences is a positive sign of the growth of the business sectors in Dubai, [but] this number should be taken in comparison with the number of licences that weren cancelled in the same period."
Radwan also warned that increasing the number of licences could be harmful.
"It is very important to look at the capital of these new companies, their activities and whether they are productive or not. The number is not always [clear]," he added.
The top ten businesses — including trade and investment companies — accounted for 12,527 (24.8 per cent) of the 50,589 activities for which new licences were issued in 2011, compared with a share of 11,733 in a total of 46,287 licensed activities in 2010.
The total number of amended licences in 2011 was 58,129, an 18 per cent increase over 2010, and the total number of renewed licences grew four per cent to 97,355.
The total number of transactions rose 25 per cent to 503,792 in 2011, from 402,081 in 2010.
British nationals topped the foreign licence list with 14 in 2011, followed by Saudi Arabian businessmen, Indians and Bahrainis.