Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza) on Saturday announced the development of Dubai Blink, which is being billed as the world’s first B2B smart commerce platform. It will utilise artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology and virtual business licenses, allowing companies from around the world to connect and trade via Dubai. As one of Dubai 10X initiatives, Dubai Blink was presented to Dubai Free Zones Council, which is being chaired by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

The initiative will enable both global companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to set up digital businesses in Dubai free zones without the need to be physically there. Blink will be replacing the existing trade licensing solutions empowered through process innovations and technologies by introducing virtual company formation.

The Free Zone Council accepted Dafza’s proposal to form a joint team from free zones to work with government entities in an integrated and interactive way on the project. This is expected to stimulate and grow foreign direct investment in Dubai and allow the free zones to operate more efficiently in the coming years.

“We have directed the free zones to form a joint team to unite our efforts and expertise to make Dubai Blink a success and help achieve the aims of the Dubai10X initiative — to make Dubai 10 years ahead of its time,” said Shaikh Ahmad.

Dubai Blink will speed up trade in free zones by providing comprehensive solutions for companies to search for services and products, negotiate, and make purchases online via a unified platform using blockchain smart contracts and machine learning.

The second challenge it will solve is around transactions. International trade barriers, regulations and transaction fees add unnecessary layers of complication to B2B commerce. The convergence of free zone set-ups, AI, and blockchain, will radically cut cross-border transaction costs and time.