The Department of Economic Development usually regulates mainland or onshore areas and lies outside the free zones that have the freedom to trade and operate a business within the local market.
Usually, the mainland UAE allows businesses to operate in the entire country but may require a local partner for smooth functions. On the other hand, free zones offer more lucrative benefits by providing 100% ownership to foreign businesses, but they have certain limitations and can only operate within the designated area.
A mainland company in the UAE can be referred to as a business entity that operates outside the free zones. Moreover, mainland companies have great flexibility to trade and may participate in a wide range of business activities.