Dubai set to launch world's first stock market for free zone firms

Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority reveals initiatives which aim to place Dubai 10 years ahead of other leading cities
Dubai set to launch world's first stock market for free zone firms
By Sam Bridge
Sat 26 May 2018 12:03 AM

Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (Dafza) has revealed its two initiatives which aim to place Dubai 10 years ahead of other leading cities in the world.

Dubai Blink will be the world’s first B2B smart commerce platform while the Free Zone Exchange (FZExchange) will be the world’s first stock exchange dedicated to trading shares of free zone businesses, Dafza said in a statement.

Both projects are two among 26 Dubai 10X initiatives from 24 government entities in Dubai approved by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, director general, said Dubai Blink and FZExchange will contribute to opening new fields of investment, redefine the concept of investment development in the free zones and also provide an innovative model for free zone trade in the digital space, which will provide vital opportunities for companies to grow and prosper locally, regionally and globally.

The FZExchange will enable foreign investors to tap capital in the region, without the need to return to their country of origin. Dubai Blink will encourage more regional and international companies to establish their headquarters in Dubai's free zones and accelerate their trade and investment flows through digital trading.

He added: "The global B2B business market is estimated at $7.7 trillion, which is larger than the B2C market, while the growth rate of digital commerce in 2020 is expected to reach 40 percent in the Middle East and North Africa region. Through these innovative projects, we seek to capture a significant share of this growth, positively impacting Dubai's economic standing and enhancing the GDP of the emirate."

FZExchange aims to help investors in the free zones gain easier access to the financial and capital markets by creating a simplified regulatory environment that facilitates lower costs and speedier procedures, he said, adding that Dubai Blink will be the world's first blockchain and AI enabled digital free zone platform which enables companies from around the world to connect with each other for trading purposes.

He said Dafza is also exploring strategic relationships with IBM and a number of government and international organizations to ensure the success of the Dubai Blink project, which will be implemented in four phases.

In the first phase that will start by the end of 2018, Dafza companies will be able to sign in. Later, companies registered in various free zones in Dubai will be able to avail of the project’s services, followed by companies in other UAE free zones. Dubai Blink will eventually be available to companies registered in free zones worldwide.

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