Sharjah is among the top ten business cities in the Gulf region and the UAE’s leading industrial and manufacturing capital with 19 industrial subdivisions. Sharjah is home to approximately 40% of all industry based in the UAE with goods being manufactured across the entire spectrum. Industrial areas have been developed in specified locations and Sharjah has two world-class free zones. By the end of 2008, Sharjah's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had risen to Dhs 71 billion from Dhs 41 billion in 2005, with a recorded annual growth rate of 11% over the last 5 years.
Research in 2008 revealed that the cost of industrial investment in Sharjah is as much as 35% lower than in any other emirate due to the fact that the Government of Sharjah subsidises the equivalent of 70% of the cost of water and electricity consumption used in industry. The free zones’ incentives and lack of red tape has attracted over 8,000 companies to open in Sharjah since 1995.
Crude oil and gas are Sharjah's primary economic resources and have paved the way for the development of inspirational industrial projects. Petroleum production began in 1974, with gas production following in 1982. Sharjah owns 5% of the UAE’s known gas reserves with the most important deposits at the Mubarak field offshore, and onshore at Sajaa. The total reserves are estimated at 10,000 billion cubic meters and development of these fields is ongoing.
Sharjah is therefore a main supplier of gas to power stations and desalination plants due to its considerable resources in the production of oil and gas. These resources are in part, responsible for the chemical industries being the most important industrial sub-sector in the emirate's economy. Sharjah is also the first Emirate to supply piped natural gas to all domestic suppliers through some 1,000 kilometres of pipe work connecting the city to the Sajaa field.