all you need to know about the smart free zone space

Yiwu Market, the first smart free zone market in the Middle East, has opened in Dubai.

Located in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), it caters to the retail and wholesale industries and is the first phase of the Dubai Traders Market, the 5.5 million-square-metre marketplace within Jafza.

The market had its soft opening on Tuesday and is open to visitors and the public.

Here’s all you need to know about the new market:

What exactly is it and where is it in Dubai?

Spanning across 200,000 square meters, the market houses 1,600 mainland showrooms.

The showrooms are spread across two floors and are divided into different sections, namely, electronics and appliances, furniture and lighting, beauty and accessories, tools and hardware (including vehicle spare parts), kitchen and bath, bedding, curtains and clothing.

There are 324 warehouses spread across two floors, located behind the showrooms, enabling an easy supply of products to the showrooms, thus eliminating the impact of low-stock-delays on outbound trade.

Each warehouse has a dedicated loading dock, allowing for a seamless movement of goods.

It is located close to Expo City in Dubai.

Why has it been built?

A result of a partnership between DP World and the China Commodity City Group, Yiwu Market was set up in line with the UAE’s aim to support trade by easing supply chain shortages after the coronavirus pandemic.

Customers are able to easily transport goods to and from their warehouses through several channels in a manner that is cost and time-efficient due to its proximity to Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport.

For the first 27 months after the opening of the market, tenants will not be required to pay a management fee. Reduced logistics costs due to the location will result in lower shelf prices for consumers, the Dubai Traders Market said.

Yiwu Market will also establish a dedicated international logistics line between the Dubai Yiwu Market and the China Yiwu Market to allow competitive costs and seamless distribution across the region.

The market also provides 100 per cent foreign ownership, 100 per cent foreign repatriation of capital and profits, and no tariffs for re-export.

What have the officials said?

“As one of the leading global trade and logistics hubs, Jafza has helped traders maximize opportunities by giving them access to 60 per cent of the world’s GDP [gross domestic product] through air, sea and road transport,” said Ahmad Al Haddad, chief operating officer responsible for parks and zones at DP World UAE.

“Since China is one of our key trade partners, the market will reinforce economic and trade co-operation between the UAE and China.”

Abdulla bin Damithan, chief executive and managing director of DP World UAE and Jafza, said there was a need for a marketplace where goods can be stored, sold, imported and exported, all in one place, without additional charges and with the greatest ease possible .

What links are there to China?

Yiwu China Commodities City is the world’s largest wholesale market. It consists of more than 75,000 showrooms, with 2.1 million varieties of products.

To replicate its success in the GCC, a part of the team was especially flown in from Yiwu Market China.

The local Yiwu Market will establish a dedicated international logistics line between Yiwu Markets in Dubai and China, to allow Chinese goods to enter the emirate expeditiously at competitive costs for distribution across the Middle East, Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe, the Dubai Traders Market said .

China, the world’s second-largest economy, was the UAE’s top trading partner during the first quarter of this year, with trade between the two countries at Dh57 billion ($15.52bn).

Yiwu is a city of about two million people and, about a decade ago, was believed to have more than 10,000 Arabs living there.

Entrepreneurial Arab businessmen turned it into a modern Silk Road trade route between China and the Middle East.

The Middle East is a major part of the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s program to recreate the old Silk Road trading route that joins China with the rest of Asia and Europe.

Updated: June 28, 2022, 12:44 PM

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