Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who serves as vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and is the ruler of Dubai, said today that the country is developing a 30 billion emirati dirhams, or $8.2 billion, wholesale business hub in the city.

The sheikh spoke during the official launch of “Dubai Wholesale City,” which the developers say is the “largest wholesale hub worldwide spanning 550 million square feet” and will serve “strategic sectors including food, construction materials, electrical appliances, electronics, furniture and decor, machinery, equipment, wood, vehicles and spare parts, and textiles and clothing.”

The project, to be developed over a 10-year period, aims to “diversify the national economy and reduce dependence on revenues from oil,” said government officials. “The new development will help increase the UAE’s contribution to the global wholesale trade sector that is valued at $4.3 trillion and expected to grow to $4.9 trillion in the next five years.”

Officials noted that Dubai Wholesale City’s proximity to major markets allows it to connect to “three-quarters of the world’s population within a seven-hour flying time,” which makes it an “ideal meeting point between the east and the west and serves as a key factor in distinguishing it from other wholesale hubs worldwide.”

“The UAE’s strategic location, world-class infrastructure and strong institutions make it the most qualified place to lead the new wave of growth in wholesale trade, on an international scale,” Rashid Al Maktoum said, adding that the “new global hub will comprise specialized integrated trading parks and an international trade exhibition facility.”

Dubai Wholesale City will also feature Country Pavilions, which will include “commercial centers and malls offering products from various countries.” Those countries include India, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Australia, China, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

“The hub will provide wholesale traders with comprehensive offerings including state-of-the-art infrastructure, roads, warehousing, storage facilities and support services, guaranteeing high operational efficiency and ease of doing business,” the developers said.

Additionally, the hub will also “activate the largest e-commerce platform for wholesale trade in the region, aiming to enhance the UAE’s capabilities in the global e-commerce space.” E-commerce is pegged with a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent, the developer said, adding that the UAE’s e-commerce sector will “surge up to four times its current size through the next three years — to rise from a value of $2.5 billion in 2015 to $10 billion in 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 59 percent.”

The hub will be located near Al Maktoum International Airport as well as the Jebel Ali Port, which the country describes as “two major gateways for global cargo and shipping industries.”