Winner: Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), UAE

In addition to its overall award, the DMCC also won the best free zone for large tenants in fDi’s Global Free Zones for the Year 2022. The Dubai-based zone experienced its most significant growth in terms of new members in 2021. New large tenants come from far and wide and span a range of sectors, from Chinese state-owned utility Huanghe Hydropower to Italy’s Ascot Industrial to music streaming platform Afrotunes.

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The DMCC is due to open its mixed-use community Uptown Dubai District to cater to its large tenants. It also provides a range of facilities and services, such as: office space in its Jumeirah Lakes Towers with options to expand as operations grow; the possibility of office sharing; business support services and account management; and in collaboration with DP World, it provides warehousing in the Jebel Ali Free Zone.

Highly Commended: Ajman Free Zone, UAE

Ajman Free Zone was highly commended for large tenants globally. The zone, which was featured in the top 10 zones overall, has targeted healthcare, advanced technology, food and beverage, education and retail. Its artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics hub and its e-commerce hub serve to attract large tenants, and last year it signed five memoranda of understanding with companies including Chinese tech giant Huawei’s cloud computing arm and Japanese multinational Nippon, to drive technology investments focused on AI and robotics.

Africa

Winner: Coega Special Economic Zone, South Africa

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Coega Special Economic Zone won best zone for large tenants in Africa. With the objective of making South Africa into a hub for regional trade, it offers infrastructure, tax incentives, rebates and a duty-free zone to large tenants tailored to the manufacturing sector. Divided into 14 zones, the SEZ provides support to export-orientated manufacturing companies. Notable tenants include the Geneva-headquartered Mediterranean Shipping Company and South Africa’s Vector Logistics.

Highly Commended: Mauritius Freeport, Mauritius

Mauritius Freeport was highly commended for large tenants in Africa. As it moves to become an export hub for countries in the Indian Ocean countries and sub-Saharan Africa, it can count several tenants either establishing or expanding their operations, such as French logistics company Decathlon and Singapore-incorporated shipping company Pacific International Lines.

Asia-Pacific

Winner: Dalian Free Trade Zone, China

Dalian Free Trade Zone won best zone for large tenants in Asia-Pacific, having succeeded in attracting some big-ticket investments from large tenants over the last 12 months. At the end of last year, SK Hynix completed the first phase of its acquisition of Intel’s fabrication plant (fab), while making an additional investment to build a new wafer fab. A joint venture between Japanese industry giants, Toyota and Panasonic, called Prime Planet, has invested Rmb1.15bn ($170m) in a hybrid vehicle battery plant and R&D centre this year.

As mentioned above, the zone also worked with China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the Bank of China to provide a tailor-made offshore trade finance supervision scheme for multinational energy trading house Trafigura.

Highly Commended: Mahindra World City Jaipur, India

Mahindra World City Jaipur was highly commended for large tenants among zones in Asia-Pacific. The zone, which first opened in 2007, reported several domestic wins in 2021, including Indian solar company ReNew Power, Italian chemical manufacturing company Kerakoll and US-Austrian software company RoboMQ.  

Europe

Winner: The West of England, UK

The West of England won best zone for large tenants in Europe. The zone, which is split into seven enterprise zones and enterprise areas, has a targeted lead generation service and works in partnership with the UK government’s Department for International Trade to find new investors. It identifies, approaches and then works with prospective investors to align their project with the zone’s regional business plan. 

In 2021, US multinational Jacobs Engineering opened a flexible working hub in the Bristol Temple Quarter enterprise zone. UK pharmaceuticals company Vectura also decided to open an Inhalation Centre of Excellence at the Bristol & Bath Science Park. 

Highly Commended: Pomeranian Special Economic Zone, Poland

Pomeranian Special Economic Zone was highly commended for large tenants among European zones. In 2021, the zone added 90 new projects, including expansions from different Polish packaging companies such as Mondi Świecie, Przedsiębiorstwo Bart and MMP Neupack Polska. Unilever has also decided to rebuild its plant in Bydgoszcz, while an automotive components subsidiary from Anglo-Irish multinational Eaton Automotive Components has also moved into the SEZ to push its manufacturing activity into e-mobility.

Americas

Winner: El Paso Foreign Trade Zone 68, Texas, US

El Paso Foreign Trade Zone 68 won best zone for large tenants in the Americas. Over the past 12 months, it welcomed expansions from investors such as Expeditors International, Aries Worldwide, Kuehne & Nagel, Gamer Logistics, Pilot Logistics and EP Logistics. Meanwhile, companies such as EPCOM and Handgards, have started the activation process in the zone.

Highly Commended: Manaus Free Trade Zone, Brazil

Manaus Free Trade Zone was highly commended for large tenants among zones in the Americas. It witnessed several expansions in 2021 and 2022, from companies such as Austria-based e-mobility company Horwin, Polish packaging company CanPack and Indian multinational Bajaj Auto. Other companies’ expansions in the zone have already borne fruit, as French manufacturing company BIC started to produce the Comfort 3 Hybrid shaver and Swiss medical devices manufacturer EMS expanded its production of medicines.

Middle East

Winner: DMCC, UAE

See above.

Highly Commended: Ajman Free Zone, UAE

See above.

This article first appeared in the October/November 2022 print edition of fDi Intelligence. View a digital edition of the magazine here.