The global coronavirus pandemic has helped many internet traders flourish, as the regular stores have been shuttered during lockdown.
The Dubai Government is confident about this trend continuing, as it plans to open “Dubai Commercity”, a new free trade zone for e-commerce that sets a base for online retailers.
The Dh.3.2billion development, which is located adjacent to the Dubai International Airport is considered the first-of-its-kind in the region.
The site is a joint venture between Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) and the property firm Wasl, and the developers say that the coronavirus pandemic has stalled the progress.
“The need for world-class e-commerce services has been greater. Having previously identified as the region's growing e-commerce market and given the traction witnessed by clients (going) online due to the pandemic, we are on track for the scheduled opening by the end of 2020," said Zarooni, Director General of DAFZA.
The new “city” spans 2.1 million square feet, and is nearly the size of Grand Central Station in New York. It is split into three clusters – business, social and logistics.
The business cluster can accommodate 12 office buildings that ensure state-of-the-art facilities and sustainable design for companies of various size.
Deals have been struck with companies to occupy the new premises, although the names are yet to be revealed, the developers said. Clothing, jewellery and electronics are some of the most popular products among the retailers.
The tenants in the “Commercity” will pay no income tax or corporation tax, and will benefit from the services as it serves as a ‘one-stop-shop’, including healthcare, immigration, administration and banking.
Clients can use logistics cluster comprising heavily automated AI-powered warehouses, and a social cluster of cafes and restaurants.
The first among these buildings will be ready to be occupied by November, and phased openings are likely until 2023.
The developers of the “Commercity” have expressed confidence that the investment in e-commerce will help the market in explosive growth.
According to an analyst at the Euromonitor, Mehrnoush Shafiei, when the technology and state support are available, and when people are ready to go for it, the progress is lacking only due to lack of space for businesses to store their stock, and the slow deliveries. Now, if the new free zone in Dubai can makeup for these issues, the rewards may be significant.
If ‘Commercity’ can help in facilitating transactions to improve speed and efficiency, then there would be skyrocket growth, Shafiei noted.