Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday launched Dubai Wholesale City, the largest wholesale hub in the world.
According to news agency WAM, the project, which will be located close to Al Maktoum International Airport, is set to span over 550 million sq ft, with an expected development cost of AED30 billion over 10 years.
The new development aims to increase the UAE’s share of the global wholesale trade sector, which is valued at $4.3 trillion and expected to grow to $4.9 trillion in the next five years, WAM added.
Sheikh Mohammed said at the launch of the project: "The UAE is moving on with its strategic plan to diversify the national economy away from a dependence on oil. It has its unique economic vision that enables the creation of new economic sectors to contribute to the nation’s growth, even while upgrading existing sectors to ensure they are on par with highest global standards."
The new global hub, to be developed by Dubai Holding, will comprise of specialised integrated trading parks that meet all the requirements of wholesale traders under one roof, as well as an international trade exhibition facility. The development aims to be home to more than 15,000 wholesale traders.
Dubai Wholesale City will also feature Country Pavilions, which will include commercial centres and malls offering products from countries including India, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Australia, China, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United States and south America.
WAM said the City will launch operations by servicing strategic sectors and will include specialised avenues for food, construction materials, electrical appliances, electronics, furniture and decor, machinery, equipment, wood, vehicles and spare parts, and textiles and clothing.
Dubai Wholesale City will also activate the world’s largest e-commerce platform for wholesale trade in the region.
Sheikh Mohammed added: "The UAE’s strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and strong institutions make it the most qualified place to lead the new wave of growth in wholesale trade, on an international scale.
"Our aim is to build a sustainable national economy. Dependency on oil was never a choice and we will not bind our future to it."
Mohammed Al-Gergawi, chairman, Dubai Holding, said: "Dubai Wholesale City is among several projects that we have conceptualised as part of our priority to help achieve the UAE’s post-oil vision. The launch of the Dubai Wholesale City comes as a result of intensive discussions and meticulous studies of the wholesale sector, and the plethora of opportunities it offers. We are confident this project will have immense positive impact on wholesale trade in the UAE, the Gulf region and the rest of the world."