Mainland Company: A mainland establishment is an onshore setup, an onshore establishment is permitted to conduct business in the local market as well as outside Qatar, without any restrictions.
Free Zone Company: Qatar has two ‘free zones’, Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) but further free zones are planned through the Qatar Free Zone Authority. QFC is not a true free zone as, although it offers 100% ownership, corporation tax applies at the same rate for mainland companies. There are also restrictions on activities in QFC, no ‘trading’ for example but, as with all free zones in Qatar, you are allowed to trade anywhere in Qatar. QSTP has 100% ownership and a zero tax regime, however, this free zone appeals to only a small number of specialised businesses. It should be borne in mind that as a general rule, government contracts are not awarded to companies that are not mainland companies with a local Qatari partner.