What Are The Challenges Of Doing Business In Sharjah Media City (SHAMS)?

What Are The Challenges Of Doing Business In Sharjah Media City (SHAMS)?

Sharjah Media City (SHAMS) is a fast-growing free zone in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that offers a range of incentives and benefits to attract businesses in the media and creative industries. While SHAMS provides a favorable business environment, entrepreneurs and companies may still encounter certain challenges when operating in this dynamic free zone. Understanding these challenges is essential for aspiring business owners to make informed decisions and ensure a smooth and successful business setup. In this article, we will explore some of the key challenges of doing business in Sharjah Media City.

Licensing restrictions:

SHAMS is a specialized free zone primarily catering to businesses in the media and creative sectors. As a result, there may be limitations on the types of business activities that can be conducted within the free zone. Entrepreneurs must carefully review the list of permitted activities to ensure that their business aligns with the available licenses.

Cost considerations:

While SHAMS offers attractive incentives such as 100% foreign ownership and tax exemptions, there are still initial setup costs and ongoing fees associated with operating a business in the free zone. These costs can include license fees, office space rental, visa fees, and other administrative expenses. Entrepreneurs need to budget and plan for these costs to ensure financial sustainability.

Visa and immigration regulations:

Obtaining employment visas for employees and dependents can be a complex process in the UAE. SHAMS has specific visa quotas based on the size of the office space rented by the company. Entrepreneurs must navigate the visa application process and adhere to immigration regulations to ensure smooth operations and compliance.


As SHAMS attracts businesses in the media and creative industries, entrepreneurs may face stiff competition within the free zone. Differentiating one’s business and offering unique services or products becomes essential to stand out in the market.

Cultural and language differences:

UAE is a diverse country with people from various cultural backgrounds. Entrepreneurs in SHAMS may encounter cultural and language differences when dealing with clients, employees, or business partners. Building strong cross-cultural communication skills is crucial for effective collaboration and relationship-building.

Local sponsorship:

While SHAMS offers 100% foreign ownership, certain legal requirements in the UAE may necessitate local sponsorship or service agent arrangements for specific business activities. Entrepreneurs should be aware of these legal requirements and seek professional advice to ensure compliance.