Shaikh Ahmad witnesses the launch of Dubai CommerCity. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai CommerCity, a Dh2.7-billion, 2.1-million square feet joint venture between Dafza and wasl Asset Management Group, was launched on Saturday by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (Dafza), according to a statement from WAM.

Dubai CommerCity, located in the Umm Ramool area, becomes the first free zone dedicated to e-commerce in the Mena region, is strategically intended to promote Dubai’s position as a leading platform for international e-commerce and to support economic diversification and smart transformation strategies.

The project will accelerate the growth of the e-commerce market, which is expected to reach $20 billion (Dh73.4 billion) in 2020 in the GCC countries. It will provide an environment that stimulates creativity and attracts more direct foreign investments in line with Dubai Plan 2021 which aims to create a unique and sustainable economy based on innovation.

The new free zone is also expected to drive steadily growing private investment activities supporting the region’s start-ups which have already exceeded $870 million, especially as most start-ups are involved in e-commerce, IT and internet-based services, of which the UAE has the largest share in the region. Over the next five years, the e-commerce sector is projected to account for 10 per cent of the Emirate of Dubai’s retail sales, which are in turn expected to reach Dh200 billion by the end of 2017

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum expressed his confidence that the joint venture will add a new dimension to Dubai’s commercial activity and will help attract more direct foreign investments to the emirate. The new free zone is strategically located near the Dubai International Airport. It provides direct access for e-commerce stakeholders in the Mena and South Asia regions.

“Dubai CommerCity will enhance the role of e-commerce as a key driver of Dubai’s sustainable economy,” said Dr Mohammad Al Zarouni, Director General of Dafza. “Dafza will apply its leading experiences and services based on comprehensive studies on the future of e-commerce in the Mena region.”

Ideal opportunity

The project, which will be implemented in two phases — where 50 per cent will be completed at each stage — is intended to be a comprehensive and modern system that supports the e-commerce sector and meets the current and future needs of logistics, electronic payments, IT solutions, customer services, and other related businesses. The project will be an ideal opportunity for major regional and international manufacturers to store their goods, products and spare parts in state-of-the-art, fully-equipped, technology-enabled warehouses, to be shipped later to the local markets in record time via e-commerce.

According to WAM, “Dubai CommerCity has a clear-cut plan to attract more foreign direct investments (FDI) through an integrated portfolio of products and services according to the highest international standards. It is intended to be a coherent environment that embraces, nurtures and develops the potentials of youths and promotes entrepreneurship through a modern ecosystem that facilitates the conversion of creative ideas into reality. The project will help foreign investors establish a presence and expand in this field and allow young innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue promising opportunities within the e-commerce sector, which serves as an ideal platform for establishing start-ups and sophisticated projects in line with efforts to make Dubai the smartest city in the world.