New Commercity for online retailers set to come to Dubai, first of kind in region

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A new free trade zone for e-commerce dubbed “Dubai Commercity” is the first of its kind in the region and will provide a base for online retailers.

The new 2.1-million-square-foot hub is dedicated to the growing e-commerce market in the Middle East and North Africa. The 3.2 billion dirham ($871 million) investment “provides a unique e-commerce ecosystem to global and regional brands to help them set up and operate their e-commerce business in the MENA region,” the project’s website said.

The city will consist of clusters for business, logistics, and social activities, and is a joint venture between the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority and property firm Wasl.

“The need for world class e-commerce services has never been greater,” Mohammed al Zarooni, director general of the airport free zone said to CNN.

“Having previously identified 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.”

The developers have said the coronavirus has not hindered their progress, but instead has boosted it, CNN reported.

The regional e-commerce retail market is expected to grow 20 percent in the next five years, according to figures from Commercity’s website. In the GCC, it should see $11 billion growth in five years.

Surging smartphone ownership has contributed to e-commerce’s popularity, with smartphone usage reaching nearly 100 percent among GCC millennials.

With many shut indoors because of coronavirus lockdowns that have also led to businesses temporarily shuttered – though many are now beginning to gradually reopen – more are turning to online shopping.

“Dubai Commercity is a new push for a non-traditional economy based on Innovation and Smart transformation,” a statement from Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman of Dubai’s airports, said on the new city’s website.

CNN reported that agreements have been made with companies that will operate on the premises, but developers say they cannot yet be made.

Tenants will pay no corporate or income tax and will benefit from state-of-the-art infrastructure and a “high-end modern business community zone.”

The business cluster will have 12 buildings with 175,000 square meters of leasing space.

Sustainability will be a top priority, as the UAE aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 25 percent by 2030.

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