Among the new companies that set up shop in SPCFZ are five global education providers
Leveraging Sharjah’s strategic location and business-friendly environment, Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone (SPCFZ) has been playing a key role in bringing publishing companies, education providers and allied businesses from around the globe to the emirate, enabling the entry and expansion of industry players into the MENA region.
Despite a challenging economic year resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, 100 new enterprises from 23 countries, including five higher education institutions, chose SPC Free Zone as their base in the region this year.
It is a testament to the advantageous free-zone business environment with numerous benefits that SPC Free Zone offers including 100 percent foreign ownership, best-in-class infrastructure replete with fully-equipped office spaces, and comprehensive allied services like printing, licensing and distribution, underscoring its position as a leading economic and investment destination for investors from across the world.
India tops the list
Companies from India topped the list of the 28 enterprises that registered at SPC Free Zone this year, followed by the UAE, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, KSA, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia, Ireland, Albania, the Philippines, Turkey, New Zealand, Tanzania, Singapore, the UK, Sweden, Ghana and Sri Lanka.
Companies specialising in the publishing sector made up the lion’s share of the new entrants. The rest of the new entities at SPC Free Zone were drawn from the creative industries, commercial consulting, law, and other administrative sectors. Emirati companies that made SPC Free Zone their home included EDU Fikra, House of Books and Kitab Kids, to name a few.
The five global education institutions, which offer higher education as well as corporate training courses, in addition specialized publishing programs, include Athena Global Education FZE, Westford University College FZE, Success Point College FZE, Capital College and Exeed College FZE.
A competitive business environment
SPC Free Zone’s promising investment environment offers several cost-effective options to investors and entrepreneurs from around the world, including help in getting approvals and issue of visas.
Commenting on the increasing interest in SPC Free Zone, Salim Omar Salim, Director of SPC Free Zone, said: “These numbers are indicative of Sharjah’s appeal as a commercial hub, and spotlight its strong investment environment across sectors. The fact that reputed global companies chose SPC Free Zone as their regional base attests to the emirate’s advanced publishing market, whose appeal SPC Free Zone continues to enhance by offering exclusive and timely opportunities to industry players.”
The SPC Free Zone Director also noted that the free zone’s integrated ecosystem, which is home to companies representing a broad spectrum of publishing, printing and allied businesses, played a key role in attracting new investors.
Business stimulus package
SPC Free Zone stepped forward to help publishing companies overcome the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic with an inclusive business stimulus package. Acting on the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and approved by His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Sharjah Executive Council (SEC), SPC Free Zone had offered discounts of up to 35% in licencing, rental and administrative to companies as part of SPC Free Zone incentive package.
Apart from the discounts on leasing and commercial licensing fees, SPC Free Zone also offered relief packages to alleviate the burden on existing clients with exemption of leasing fees apart from rescheduling of payments.
SPC Free Zone was established in 2017 as the world’s very first printing and publishing free zone offering the book and larger creative industries as well as allied businesses the opportunity to capitalise on an array of benefits emerging from operating within a free zone environment, including a strategic location at the epicentre of the globe with all the advantages of being able to serve the MENA, African and Asian region’s markets.