Middle East’s first smart freezone market opens in UAE


Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) has welcomed the Middle East’s first smart freezone market, Yiwu Market, which caters to retail and wholesale industries.

Constructed on an $163 million investment fund, Yiwu Market is the first phase of the Dubai Traders Market project, which seeks to bring wholesalers to one space for efficient trading.

The market is a partnership between Dubai Ports World and China Commodity City Group and acts as a trade bridge between the UAE and international markets.

“JAFZA has helped traders maximise opportunities by giving them access to 60 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product through air, sea and road transport,” said Ahmad Al Haddad, COO of parks and zones at DP World UAE.

“It has also enabled efficiency in terms of procurement, fulfilment and final sale.

“With Dubai Trade Markets’ Yiwu Market, we hope to build on these strengths. On completion, the market will catalyse trade and the seamless movement of goods and lower supply chain costs.”

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

The market aims to gives businesses access to wholesalers’ discounts and reduce turnaround times and costs for supply chains.

Thanks to the freezone serving as an onshore environment, retailers and wholesalers can move their goods directly from airfields and quaysides to storage areas and avoid excessive customs charges.

In addition, the logistics line between Dubai’s and China’s Yiwu Markets gives businesses the benefit of competitive costs and seamless distribution into Middle Eastern markets.

Dubai’s trade will capitalise on the “advanced end-to-end solutions of Yiwu Market”, said Quiming Zhang, general manager of Yiwu Market.

“The market’s showrooms and warehouses make it an ideal solution for all trading needs.

“Companies can benefit from storage and logistics facilities, as well as enhanced research to their buying audience, thus connecting them to key markets around the world.”

In case of disruptions to retailers’ and wholesalers’ supply chains, the market acts as an intermediary, allowing businesses to store products and cater to consumer demand.

“By accommodating the facilities of international brands, Yiwu Market will act as a regional buffer for their products in case of disruptions to the supply chain and ensuring demand for these products can continue to be satisfied,” said JAFZA.

Yiwu Market spans 200,000 square metres and is split across 324 custom-bonded warehouses and 1,600 mainland showrooms, 99 per cent of which are currently occupied.

In keeping with sustainability objectives, 11,835 square metres of solar panels account for an estimated 20 per cent of the market’s electrical needs.

Yiwu Market also hopes to digitise the trading processes for its wholesaler and retailer customers by implementing e-transactions and online inventories, customs declarations and cargo gate clearances.