Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) has announced the development of Dubai Blink, the world’s first B2B smart commerce platform. It will utilize artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology and virtual business licenses, allowing companies from around the world to connect and trade via Dubai. 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.
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 utilizes Artificial Intelligence algorithms and Internet of things technology that will drive innovation within supply chains, placing Dubai and the UAE in unique positions at a global level.
The initiative will enable 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. Blink will be replacing the existing trade licensing solutions empowered through process innovations and technologies by introducing virtual company formation.
The announcement comes in support of Dubai and the UAE’s vision to create smarter digital economies driven by innovation and technology. It is expected that the value of global B2B e-commerce will reach USD 7.7 trillion in 2017.*
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.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum 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. 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.”
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 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.
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. In turn, this will encourage more of them to expand their businesses in the free zones, thus creating more jobs and contributing to GDP.
Commenting on this initiative, DAFZA Director General, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni said: “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.”
“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. 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.”
“The project will be implemented within the time frame set by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council – which is 24 months since the project was announced last February at the World Government Summit. DAFZA will work closely with key government and industry stakeholders to study best practices to enable Dubai Blink to achieve its economic and commercial objectives in” concluded Al Zarooni.
During the fourth edition of the World Free Zones Organization International Conference and Exhibition held in Dubai in early May, DAFZA presented Dubai Blink during a Dubai 10x session, showcasing how it will be one of the most innovative models that will provide integrated and interactive solutions to free zone companies around the world.