Dubai, one of the most cosmopolitan places on earth, has emerged over the past decade and a half as a global hub of world trade. Some 200 different nationalities live and work in the city, and tourists visit Birmingham to Bombay. That kind of customer profile can usually only be found online — but you can see it every day in Dragon Mart.
It’s the influx of Chinese citizens and businesses that look poised to transform the emirate in the years ahead. Four of China’s top banks, as well as several state-owned enterprises, have set up shop in the city, using Dubai’s sea and air links to the world — especially Africa — to conduct business across an emerging New Silk Road. There are some 200,000 Chinese living in Dubai, while the city also attracts some 300,000 Chinese tourists a year — and Chinese travellers are the biggest spenders in the airport’s duty-free shops, snapping up gold bars, premium whiskies, and Swiss chocolates.
Dragon Mart is thus part catalyst and part outgrowth of one of the fastest growing trade relationships in the world. It’s a place where African and Arab shopkeepers or industrialists can place a wholesale order from Chinese manufacturers without stepping foot in China. Need 1,000 teddy bears, 100 diesel generators, or miles of heavy piping? Stop by Dragon Mart and browse stores with names like Supreme Power Trading Company or Shanghai Becoming International, and you’ll find what you need.
The Dragon Mart on the Hatta-Oman road is the largest Chinese trading hub outside mainland China, Dubai. His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday opened Dragon Mart 2, the second phase of the Dragon Mart.
Shaikh Mohammad watched an electronic jigsaw reflecting the new designs and facilities of the market, which is costing Dh1 billion. Nakheel is the developer and owner of the giant project.
Shaikh Mohammad toured the new two-floor market and its various facilities. The market houses 570 shops, 520 booths, and a car park that can accommodate 4,500 cars.Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, accompanied Shaikh Mohammad during his visit.
The expansion includes a 2.2 million square feet retail component with nearly 1.3 million square feet of leasable space including a showroom-style area for events and exhibitions. The new Dragon Mart extension also has a two-tower residential component with 1,120 one and two bedroom apartments, and a separate, 250-room hotel.
The Dragon Mart will see four more phases of expansion that will bring its total area to 11 million square feet. It will be transformed into a giant retail, residential and leisure destination, called Dragon City.
Culled from: http://gulfnews.com/