World’s first publishing free zone in Sharjah invites Indian investors

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) The world’s first publishing free zone, set to open in Sharjah this year, has invited Indian publishers and printers to set up shop, offering them a slew of tax incentives and hassle-free relocation.

A flagship project of the government-owned Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the Sharjah Publishing City is a free zone covering 400,000 sq m of land with office and warehousing space for companies to set up regional, as well as international sales and marketing presence.

The zone is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017.

“We are particularly keen to have Indian investors on board with us, especially because we already have such strong trade and bilateral linkages,” SBA Chairman Ahmed Al Ameri said in a statement.

“The government of Sharjah has lined up a string of financial incentives to attract Indian publishers. These include foreign ownership, fund repatriation, zero currency restrictions and exemption of corporate and personal income tax and exemption on import and export tax,” said Mohamed Noor Hersi, advisor to the SBA Chairman.

India exports about $26 million worth of books and other printed materials to the Arab world, with the UAE claiming a 37 per cent share of this.

The free zone has a choice of furnished or unfurnished offices with long-term and short-term storage facilities, licences issued in 24 hours, sponsorship and visas for all staff and zero restrictions on hiring 100 per cent expatriate workers.

The publishing city will have prebuilt warehouses implemented as part of phase II scheduled for 2017. They will be available for an affordable annual rent, featuring office and storage spaces, the statement said.

Investors and their employees will be sponsored under the Sharjah Publishing City Authority, it added.