UAE Apple Stores to be 'exempted' from local ownership laws
Apple reportedly allowed to retain 100% ownership of its UAE-based business, despite not operating in free zone
US tech giant Apple has reportedly been granted an exemption from foreign ownership laws in the UAE, giving the green light to plans to set up shops in the country.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Apple will be allowed to retain 100% control of operations in the UAE, citing two people with knowledge of the matter.
The dispensation was a condition for the world's largest listed company to set up in the UAE, the sources were quoted as saying.
It reported that Apple will open its first Middle East store in Dubai this year and then Abu Dhabi after securing the privileges.
Under local regulations, all businesses operating in the UAE must be 51% owned by Emiratis or a company wholly owned by them unless they are based in free-zones.
A spokeswoman for Apple in Dubai didn't respond to calls from Bloomberg requesting comment.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple's largest retail store is on track to open in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates in August. However, Apple was evasive on the rumours when questioned.
The retail space is expected to be about 50,000 square feet in total, with a main entrance on the second level of the mall's new Fashion District.
The new store in the Mall of Emirates is expected to be its biggest outlet in the world, bigger than its current flagship outlet - more than double the 23,000 square feet Grand Central Store in New York.
Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the UAE last year, meeting with Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as well as a number of Apple resellers.
A version of this article was originally published on ITP.net's sister site, ArabianBusiness.com.