- July 22, 2009:
Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) posted a 14.5% increase in revenue in the second quarter of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.
New company registrations for April to June 2009 climbed to 554, a marked 14.7% increase from last year's registration and a further 13.6% increase compared to the first quarter of this year.
''Our target for 2009 is to have 2,000 new companies by the end of the year. With 931 companies already registered in the first half of 2009, we are confident that we will reach this target. The free zone continues to attract business in industries spanning IT, Consulting, Manufacturing and Trading,' says Oussama El Omari, CEO of RAK FTZ.
Instead of slowing down due to the recent global recession and typical summer business sluggishness, RAK FTZ enjoyed the highest single-month registrations total since opening, with 211 new companies signing up in June. El Omari attributes this to the quality of the products and services provided by the free trade zone, especially when it comes to tailoring custom packages according to specific client needs.
In the midst of the global slowdown, RAK FTZ put measures in place to ensure that clients can easily and seamlessly set up their branch to operate in Ras Al Khaimah for a fraction of the usual cost.
This was achieved through easy-to-access and dedicated business web portals as well as the opening of new liaison offices in the USA, China, Germany, Turkey and other strategic locations.
'As for clients, we try to minimise the impact of the slowdown by being flexible and trying to find creative solutions so they can continue with their business,' says El Omari.
'For example, we help clients cut costs by providing a portal where they can view the status of their application instead of travelling all the way to Ras Al Khaimah. We also have offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and internationally where they can start the application process without travelling all the way to RAK or the UAE.' Breaking down the numbers of the newly registered companies, 64% are trading companies with warehousing facilities, 26% offer consulting and other services, seven% are general trading firms and three% are industrial.
Companies from Asia make up 41% of the new registrations, followed by the European Union at 21%, the Middle East at 13%, the rest of Europe at six% and other countries at 19%.
In the coming months, RAK Free Trade Zone will focus its efforts on small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs through the promotion of the shared facilities, the free zone's entry-level product.
To emphasise this, El Omari cited the current campaign being held in Jordan, which will run until the 9th of September 2009, offering the shared facility for a special package of $5,500.
Though the UAE government has adopted a pragmatic approach to cushion the correction in the country's property market, it is still in the early stages of recovery. Realising this, RAK FTZ aims to continuously develop its product offerings by building up customer support and upgrading its facilities and infrastructure to attract industries from the aviation repair, maintenance and overhaul sectors.
For the next five years, RAK Free Trade Zone's strategy is to attract industrial and service companies that will trigger and aid the development of basic infrastructure and services in the emirate. RAK FTZ is encouraging various companies interested in public-private partnerships with the free zone to set up projects in the airport, seaport, tourism and education sectors.
'We are also looking at the alternative energy industry,' says El Omari. 'We want to be an incubator for entrepreneurs that intend to develop and test their technologies. General efforts are focused on powering up our key value-added services for our customers through online and offline marketing, HR recruiting, and expert legal advice. Based on our strategy, RAK FTZ plans to invest Dhs7.3bn on expansion and development projects over the next five years.' With optimistic plans to assist and encourage entrepreneurs, the multi-award winning RAK FTZ will continue to live up to its reputation of 'best emerging free trade zone' in the region.