Yiwu Market opens in Dubai: all you need to know about the smart free zone space

The market in Jebel Ali Free Zone is the first in the region and caters to retail and wholesale industries

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

Based in the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the market caters to the retail and wholesale industries and is part of the first phase of the Dubai Traders Market, a 550-hectare marketplace within Jafza.

The market had its soft opening on Tuesday. Here is all you need to know about the new market:

What exactly is it and where is it in Dubai?

With 200,000 square metres of space, the market houses 1,600 mainland showrooms across two floors.

The showrooms 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 behind the showrooms, allowing for the easy supply of products to the showrooms. Each warehouse has a dedicated loading dock to enable the seamless movement of goods.

Yiwu Market 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 plans to ease supply chain shortages after the coronavirus pandemic.

Customers are able to easily transport goods to and from 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, 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 an international logistics line between the Dubai Yiwu Market and the China Yiwu Market to lower costs and make distribution seamless across the region.

The free zone market allows foreign investors to wholly own their ventures and fully repatriate capital and profits. There are no tariffs on the re-export of products.

What have the officials said?

“As one of the leading global trade and logistics hubs, Jafza has helped traders maximise 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 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 could be stored, sold, imported and exported easily, without the need for additional charges.

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 separate products.

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

The local Yiwu Market will allow Chinese goods to enter the emirate at competitive costs and be distributed across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean, the Dubai Traders Market said.

China, the world's second-largest economy, was the UAE’s top trading partner during the first quarter of 2022, with trade between the two countries at Dh57 billion ($15.52bn).

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

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 Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative.

Updated: June 29, 2022, 6:59 AM