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23 April 2024

Dubai’s strategic location and business environment drive the Chinese multinational logistics company J&T Express’ rapid growth in the Middle East

Published
By E247

When J&T Express, one of Asia’s largest multinational logistics companies, sought to expand its presence in the Middle East, it looked to Dubai International Chamber for assistance and guidance in quickly establishing a strong foothold in the region. As one of three chambers under  Dubai Chambers, Dubai International Chamber is focused on enhancing partnerships with global corporations, investors, and entrepreneurs to enhance Dubai’s status as a major trading hub.

Since entering the Dubai market with the support of the Dubai International Chamber in 2021, J&T Express has rapidly expanded its regional footprint, using the emirate as a strategic hub to access other Middle Eastern markets. Today, the Chinese multinational logistics company has significantly grown its operations, increasing its employee count from just five in 2021 to 750 in 2023, and operating a fleet of 500 delivery vans. 

With its exceptional growth, J&T Express now provides its services across the entire UAE. The company’s expansion and success highlight the benefits of Dubai’s unique business environment and strategic location for companies of all sizes.

Dubai, the gateway to the Middle East

Dubai International Chamber serves as a gateway to the Middle East for multinational companies like J&T Express. With its close support, J&T Express rapidly created a strong presence in the region and expanded its Dubai operations to access other regional markets. The company’s commitment to its UAE operations is reflected in its multiple warehouses, distribution centres, and an ever-growing fleet of vehicles. 

The Chamber’s international representative office in Shenzhen, China, played a key role in identifying J&T Express as a company to watch and facilitated its market entry and expansion into Dubai. The Dubai International Chamber’s efforts promote bilateral trade to and from the emirate and enhance its competitiveness in the global market.

Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said: “We saw enormous benefits for J&T Express to develop a presence in the Middle East with Dubai as a key trading hub. As a highly valued and growing company, it quickly became apparent how the company would not only gain a market presence in a new region but also support the growth of Dubai and the wider region’s economy.

“J&T Express recognised the benefits of entering the Middle East market and the advantages of maintaining its regional base in Dubai. The company’s rapid growth across several regions has disrupted the market, but Dubai has always been a hub for innovators, visionaries and entrepreneurs. We are excited to see what J&T Express will achieve in the region with our help.”

Sean Xiao, the Chief Executive Officer of J&T Express Middle East, commented on the partnership, stating that “J&T Express Middle East is leveraging Dubai’s world-class infrastructure to empower e-commerce in the MENA region. With the unwavering support of the Dubai International Chamber, we are connecting Chinese markets with MENA, driving logistics innovation, and promoting sustainable development. This expansion is a testament to J&T Express’ capabilities in attaining a leadership role in the regional logistics market."

Strengthening bilateral opportunities with China

Dubai International Chamber strengthened its global network by opening an international representative office in Shenzhen, China, in October 2019. The move aimed to expand business potential in the emerging and fast-growing technology and innovation hub, and facilitate bilateral opportunities between Dubai and China. The representative office’s mandate is to gather market information, build relationships with local businesses, and promote Dubai as a strategic partner for Chinese companies looking to expand into the Middle East. 

With this new development, Dubai International Chamber reinforces its commitment to supporting the growth of businesses and entrepreneurs, both locally and globally. The representative office plays a key role in identifying business opportunities for Dubai and China and supporting companies to expand in new markets. 

The chamber’s Shenzhen team works to identify business opportunities in the city’s high-technology, hardware manufacturing, IT, finance, trade, tourism, maritime and logistics sectors, as well as prospects for the Dubai International Chamber’s members and other Dubai companies to benefit from China’s development plans.

In 2020, the office identified J&T Express as a promising company, leading to the logistics unicorn launching its business in Dubai in 2021 with the help of Dubai International Chamber’s support. The Shenzhen team facilitated J&T Express’ market entry and expansion, providing the company with due diligence, market information, and assistance with local regulations, free zone selection, and licensing.

J&T Express, a regional success story

J&T Express has made significant investments in its UAE operations, with a 7,000 sq. m main depot located in Dubai Industrial City, a 5,000 sq. m warehouse in Dubai Airport Freezone, and a 3,000 sq. m warehouse in Dubai South. The company also operates distribution centres in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi to support its operations across the northern and southern emirates.

Looking ahead, J&T Express plans to expand further, adding two supply chain warehouses and a bonded warehouse by 2026, which will increase its total warehouse space to more than 40,000 sq. m, in addition to its three existing distribution centres. The company also aims to establish a fleet of over 2,000 vehicles and achieve a daily volume of 100,000 deliveries by 2026.

J&T Express is a rapidly expanding international logistics company, with a valuation of $20 billion and ranked as the 16th largest unicorn globally. The company was founded in August 2015 with its core business including express delivery services and cross-border logistics. J&T Express has since diversified its range of services and now also provides fast freight, warehousing, and supply chain services. Its services cover same-city, cross-provinces, and international express deliveries.

The company’s extensive terminal network spans 13 countries, while its international logistics business covers nearly 100 countries and regions. It is the largest express logistics company in Southeast Asia and ranks in the first echelon in China’s express delivery industry.

J&T Express is expanding its presence in the Middle East, Latin America, and North Africa, with a global network of more than 290 large-scale sorting centres and over 22,000 courier depots. With a workforce of 350,000 employees, the company serves over 2.5 billion people worldwide.

The Chamber is committed to promoting international trade and investment through its extensive global network of chambers and business associations. 

Dubai’s strategic and competitive advantages

Dubai has long been at the heart of global trade flows. It offers world-class infrastructure, several sector-specific trade zones, a range of low and zero-tax advantages, expedited company formation, and streamlined visa application processes. 

Dubai’s legal and regulatory framework conforms to international norms, and its strategic location makes it an ideal base for progressive businesses seeking to expand into new markets, such as Africa and Central Asia, with greater ease.

According to the latest research by Agility, the UAE ranks third after China and India for overall competitiveness based on logistic strengths, business climate, and digital readiness. The logistics sector, which is a sizeable contributor to the UAE’s economy, is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 8.4 per cent, reaching $31.4 billion by 2026.