The Far East in Dubai: How the Emirate is building the largest Chinatowns in the Middle East

  • October 30, 2018

The Far East in Dubai: How the Emirate is building the largest Chinatowns in the Middle East

Perfectly reflecting different cultures and civilisations, Dubai sets its eyes on the Far East, by building the largest Chinatown in the Middle East, while also expanding Dragon Mart.

Located at the centre of the Dubai Creek Harbour, Emaar has announced plans to build a super retail district dedicated exclusively to Chinese goods. At the same time, Dragon Mart, just across Dubai Creek Harbour has plans for expansion.

Featuring local and fashion brands, Chinatown by Emaar will offer Chinese tourists a piece of home in Dubai as well as brands they particularly love. According to Emaar’s press release, the project will feature “the foremost brands from the country as well as global fashion brands that appeal to Chinese tourists.”

Dragon Mart, a 1.6 million square foot dragon-shaped marketplace, is the local centre for Chinese commerce in Dubai. Hosting 4,500 stores and restaurants, a movie theatre and a hotel, Dragon Mart is the world’s largest Chinese retail and trading hub outside China. Run mostly by Chinese expats, the shops at Dragon Mart sell goods like furniture, clothing and appliances. However, Nakheel is pursuing plans to diversify the development by adding 11 million sq. ft. surrounding the Dragon Mart. The expansion is set to be completed by the end of 2018 and will be called ‘Dragon City’ as it will include residential and leisure zones.

The creation of Chinese friendly businesses will enhance the government’s plans to attract tourism from China. Specifically, the number of Chinese tourists in the UAE has grown exponentially in recent years. Since 2016, Chinese tourists can obtain visas upon arrival to the UAE, ultimately increasing the number of tourists by 41% in 2017. Also, according to data from Dubai Tourism, China is the UAE’s fourth biggest source market for tourists.

Currently, in the UAE, there are 200,00 Chinese expats, while the two countries share strong bilateral trade and cultural relations, strengthened by significant projects such as the above. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has stated, “We seek to establish cultural, humanitarian and people-to-people relations in addition to our strong economic and political relations.”

It seems like the sky is not the limit for Dubai cross-cultural experiences and we cannot wait to experience them all.