How to start a cross-border e-commerce business to the United Arab Emirates

Setting up an e-commerce business in the UAE is promising since the country’s population, both local and expatriate, is among the most digitally connected and the most active online buyers in the world. How can Swiss companies successfully set up an e-commerce business to the UAE? Our guide provides important insights.


Consumer behaviour, experiences and expectations changed entirely through COVID-19 and the global lockdown. During the pandemic safety of general public has been priority in the UAE and due to effective health and safety measures, life has returned to normal faster than anywhere. The result of the restrictions was that more and more businesses started selling through e-commerce.

How can a Swiss SME sell its product through digital sales channels in the UAE?

A Swiss company can start selling online, either directly from Switzerland or by establishing a stock in one of UAE’s free zones or the mainland. Swiss businesses can have their own online shop or/and be represented on the major e-commerce platforms as well as on the ones of their distributors. But what specifically needs to be considered in these cases?

Guide: Overview of e-commerce landscape, opportunities and major players

The guide, which can be downloaded free of charge below, has been compiled by the Swiss Business Hub Middle East. The facts and data presented in this guide are based on desk research and interviews with the sector experts residing in the UAE.

The following topics are covered in the guide:

  • E-Commerce landscape in the United Arab Emirates: Opportunities for growth
  • How to start an e-commerce business (setting up a company versus selling directly from Switzerland)
  • UAE’s major e-commerce platforms
  • payment and shipping options for e-commerce businesses



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