Over 16,600 new firms opened in Dubai during 2012 and major economic sectors and economic activity in the emirates remained stable and growing.
“Confidence in Dubai is rising. New project pipelines and growing links to new markets are attracting more investors  who are leveraging the various business setup and growth options in Dubai,” Sami Al-Qamzi, director general of the Department of Economic Development (DED), said in a statement.
According to the Department of Economic Development (DED) , they have issued 16,688 business licenses during 2012, which is a 16 percent increase over the 14,430 licenses issued in 2011. The tourism sector, at 56 percent, accounted for the major share of licenses in 2012, followed by the professional (21 percent) commercial (14 percent) and industrial (13 percent) sectors compared to 2011.
Among the 81 licenses issued to foreign investors  in 2012, the top 10 nationalities accounted for 54. Kuwaiti nationals topped the list with 11 licenses in 2012, followed by US investors (9), Indians (8) and Saudis (5).
“The business registration and licensing activity in 2012 mirrored an increasingly positive investor sentiment and expectations. While existing businesses in Dubai are venturing further out and spreading their wings, a growing number of investors are also sensing the ideal conditions to step forward,” added Mohammed Shaal Al-Saadi, CEO, business registration and licensing (BRL) sector in DED.
The total number of amended licenses in 2012 was 67,056, up 14 percent from 58,881 in 2011 while the total number of renewed licenses grew three percent to 101,766, as against 98,981 during the previous year. The total number of transactions rose 16 percent to 589,721 in 2012, from 506,792 in 2011.
The total number of commercial permits issued in 2012 was 29,266, a 21 percent increase over 2011, while the total number of reserved trade names reached 65,089, a 24 percent increase.
Limited liability companies topped the list of companies at 10,673 and a growth rate of 18 percent o 2011, followed by Sole proprietor-ships (5,048), which grew14 percent compared to 2011. There was also a 100 percent increase in partnership firms, from six companies to 12.