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Dubai launches world’s first B2B Smart Commerce Platform for Free Zones

Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) has recently announced the development of Dubai Blink, the world’s first B2B smart commerce platform.

The platform will utilise artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology and virtual business licenses, allowing companies from around the world to connect and trade via Dubai. It enables both global companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to set up digital businesses in Dubai free zones without the need to be physically there.

Dubai Blink will speed up trade in free zones by providing comprehensive 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.

The project will enable virtual company formation to operate business, supply chain, and services in an interconnected world. It is an end to end platform that operates and analyzes the performance and health of businesses from a web or mobile app.

It is hoped that Dubai Blink will transform the future of global supply chains by creating a new trade platform for global free zone companies. The project offers a new form of e-commerce known as smart commerce, which utilises AI algorithms and Internet of Things (IoT) technology that will drive innovation within supply chains, placing Dubai and the UAE in unique positions at a global level.

According to DAFZA Director General, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Dubai Blink will be a gateway to leverage free zone assets, network, and connect with trusted providers of product or services to evolve your business. It will be an integrated platform that will allow businesses to manage supply chains and transactions, underwritten by the speed, truth, and reliability of blockchain smart contracts.

“Dubai Blink's most important quality will be its role in meeting the needs of the future. It has become clear to everyone that the future of world trade will be in the digital era. As such, this platform will position Dubai as a leader in driving future global trade in the digital world,” he added.

The initiative seeks to solve two problems:

The first issue it will help solve is around identification. Currently, there are lengthy supplier identification and validation processes. AI algorithms will provide researchers tailored results in a fractional time. It will replace the existing trade licensing solutions empowered through process innovations and technologies by introducing virtual company formation. 

The second challenge it will solve is around transactions. International trade barriers, regulations and transaction fees add unnecessary layers of complication to B2B commerce. The convergence of free zone setups, AI, and blockchain, will radically cut cross-border transaction costs and time. This will help in guaranteeing efficiency and enhancing economic growth. Dubai Blink will provide global companies with the opportunity to gain a virtual business license which will be known as a Cloud trading license. This will enable them to explore the commercial opportunities offered by Dubai without the need for an actual presence on the ground, allowing companies to sample and test the regional market and explore the opportunities provided in Dubai.

Dubai Blink is likely to encourage more of companies to expand their businesses in the free zones, thus creating more jobs and contributing to GDP. It is expected that the value of global B2B e-commerce will reach USD 7.7 trillion in 2017.

As one of Dubai 10X initiatives, Dubai Blink was presented to Dubai Free Zones Council, which is being chaired by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. The Free Zone Council accepted DAFZA’s proposal to form a joint team from free zones to work with government entities in an integrated and interactive way on the project. This is expected to stimulate and grow foreign direct investment in Dubai and allow the free zones to operate more efficiently in the coming years.

According to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, 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. 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.

"We have directed the free zones to form a joint team to unite our efforts and expertise to make Dubai Blink a success and help achieve the aims of the Dubai10X initiative – to make Dubai 10 years ahead of its time. This comes in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 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,” he said.

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