Apple has been eyeing the prospect of opening a retail store in Dubai for quite some time now with hiring starting almost exactly a year ago and a UAE newspaper claiming three months ago that a 50,000 square foot store would open this month.
Up until now, however, legal issues over foreign ownership laws in the UAE have presented roadblocks from that happening, and today Bloomberg reported that Apple has been granted a significant exemption resolving that issue:
Apple Inc. has been granted an exemption from foreign ownership laws in the United Arab Emirates that will allow it 100 percent control of operations in the country, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
The report goes on to say that the exemption being issued was a condition that Apple required being met before it would open a retail store in the region, adding that plans to open a new store this year are still underway.
Countering the claim, however, is Gulf News reporting that Apple has not been granted 100 percent control of operations in the UAE. The conflicting report cites a specific government official in denying that Apple has been given such an exemption:
“Apple was licenced in the UAE 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. Within this mandate, branches of foreign companies in the UAE have full management rights provided they work through an Emirati service agent,” he said.
Despite the conflicting reports, it seems clear Apple is moving forward with its plans to open up shop in the UAE, although the legal tightrope walk may make that happen later than expected.