The Difference Between Abu Dhabi And Dubai

17 Feb, 2015 - UAE Life & Economy


Abu Dhabi is the UAEs capital, although technically it’s not a city but an Emirate – one which also includes the historical city of Al Ain. Dubai is also an Emirate and is approximately an hour’s drive from Abu Dhabi (city to city). The UAE is split into seven Emirates but they do not border each other in order, Sharjah for example has pockets of land by the Indian Ocean as well as its main developed area overlooking the Arabian Gulf, next to Dubai.

Despite close proximity, life in Dubai and Abu Dhabi differ greatly. Dubai has made its name as a trade, tourism and retail hub, whilst Abu Dhabi was known for many years as ‘the sleeping giant’. Property in Dubai was once the most expensive in the land; now Abu Dhabi wears that crown. There are even different police forces for each Emirate, different car number plates, and water and electricity is managed by different utility providers.

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When it comes to business, life is also different. In Dubai, business moves at a faster pace (although still a relaxed one when compared to the UK). In Abu Dhabi, if you wish to work with a government client, some will ask if you have an office in the capital (hint hint). In Abu Dhabi securing a contract can take many months of meetings and groundwork, in Dubai the process is similar but perhaps a little quicker.

It is very important to understand when coming to the UAE that the country is not just the sum of its parts. Historically the UAE has a tribal culture and this heritage is still intact despite its tall buildings and man-made archipelagos. You will not be able to pick up your business in the UK and drop it into the UAE, and see instant success. Success in the UAE comes from being in the UAE and understanding its rhythms and nuances.

We’re in the UAE to help you make that transition as smooth as possible.