Dubai Blink will allow companies from around the globe to connect and trade via Dubai
Dafza to develop world's first commerce platform for free zones
Dubai Airport Freezone Authority, the economic zone that encompasses Dubai International Airport and the surrounding area, is developing the world’s first commerce platform for free zones that will allow companies from around the globe to connect and trade via Dubai.
The business-to-business platform called Dubai Blink, will utilise artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and virtual business licences, that will transform the global supply chain mechanics, Dafza said in a statement on Sunday carried by the UAE’s official news agency Wam.
The initiative will enable both global companies and small and medium-sized enterprises, to set up digital businesses in Dubai free zones without the need to maintain a physical presence there, it said.
"The Dubai Blink project will be one of the most innovative models for the future of global supply chains and e-commerce across the free zones,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, the chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chief executive of Emirates Group. “It will help boost trade for companies operating in Dubai's free zones, which have chosen the Emirate as a platform for growth and prosperity."
Dubai is pursuing its 10X futuristic agenda, an initiative designed to place the emirate 10 years ahead of time through embracing disruptive innovation. The broader strategy aims to cut bureaucracy and could save millions of man hours by employing AI and blockchain technologies in smart government operations.
Blink is part of the government’s digitisation plans. Dafza is working closely with stakeholders and has formed a team to share expertise.
“The work that is being done between the free zones and government agencies will help create a new model for smart commerce in the international industry as well an attractive future for foreign investments within the free zones of Dubai," Sheikh Ahmed said.
Dafza, which is home to companies including aviation heavyweights Boeing and Airbus, GE Aviation, Rolls-Royce and Panasonic, is working to boost FDI flows by developing virtual platforms and some of the fast-growing sectors such as the Islamic and halal economies, director general Mohammed Al Zarooni said earlier this month.
Dafza represented 18 per cent of total free zones trade in Dubai in 2016. It is at the forefront of efforts to increase FDI as part of broader measures to boost the contribution of the non-oil sector to the UAE economy to 80 per cent by 2021, from the current 70 per cent, following sluggish economic growth on the back of low oil prices. The UAE recorded $10.3 billion of inward FDI in 2017, up 6.7 per cent from $9.6bn in 2016, according to the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority.
With Blink, Dafza aims to speed up trade in free zones by providing solutions for companies to search for services and products, negotiate and make purchases online via a unified platform using blockchain smart contracts and machine learning. It will also resolve the issue of current lengthy supplier identification and validation processes, it said.
Blink will radically cut cross-border transaction costs and time. It will provide global companies with the opportunity to gain a virtual business licence, which will be known as a cloud-trading licence, enabling them to explore the commercial opportunities and to sample and test the regional market and explore the opportunities provided in Dubai, according to the statement.