Apple is one step closer to building the world’s biggest-ever Apple Store in Dubai, after being granted the necessary permit from authorities in the United Arab Emirates.
The permit is an exemption from foreign ownership laws in the U.A.E. It allows Apple to keep 100 percent control of the store despite being a U.S. company. According to local regulations, any business operating in the United Arab Emirates must be majority owned by Emiratis.
The U.A.E. government is currently revising this law to allow more foreign investment in the country in certain sectors.
“Apple was licensed in the U.A.E. through the Ministry of Economy according to the requirements of, and in compliance with the Commercial Companies Law, as well as the ministerial resolution on foreign company branches,” said Ahmad Al-Hosani, director of trade registration at the Ministry of Economy.
Apple is set to open its first U.A.E. Apple Store in Dubai in a massive 50,000-square-foot retail space at the Mall of the Emirates. A second Apple Store will follow in Abu Dhabi, at the newly opened Yas Mall.
Apple’s Online Store U.A.E. opened in 2011, and Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the country last year, where he was spotted meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum to scout possible locations for brick-and-mortar Apple Stores.
There are around 17 million active mobile subscriptions in the United Arab Emirates, with 61 percent of them being smartphones, according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. The iPhone remains a consistent top-seller.