Giordano, the Hong Kong-based clothing retailer, will spearhead an aggressive expansion strategy from a new command centre in the UAE.
The company, which has stores in 40 countries, 23 of which are in the Middle East, has set up a facility in Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai to support new franchise partners.
Inquiries from within Asia or the Asia-Pacific region will be handled by the company's Hong Kong headquarters, while Jebel Ali will process everything else.
The Middle East operation aims to add franchise partners in "five to six countries" every year across Africa, eastern Europe and central Asia. "[Giordano International] realises it is much more easy to grow the brand in non-Asian countries [from Dubai] because we have 22 nationalities within our workforce and the team understands the brand, so [what] Giordano has decided is why not have one command centre using Jebel Ali Free Zone," said Ishwar Chugani, the executive director for Giordano in the Middle East.
"To have a logistics centre in the free zone [means we will be] able to support them quicker than wait for stuff to come in from Hong Kong and China," said Mr Chugani, who has been involved with Giordano since the company's inception in 1993 and will head the new venture. Africa is of particular interest to the operation, which is looking at countries including Angola and Mozambique and is in talks with potential partners in Botswana.
"There will be a lot more interaction with companies over there. We will be working with different trade organisations to see how we promote the Giordano brand and look at opportunities," said Mr Chugani.
The Jebel Ali facility will start "small" at 15,000 square feet, but will have the capacity to scale up and will include a logistics centre. A management team based at the facility will be on hand to provide operational support to current and future partners.
It will cost US$5 million (Dh18.36m) and will hold 500,000 pieces at its peak.
"We will also be keeping enough merchandise at the unit for any market that requires it," said Mr Chugani.