First virtual mall launched in Dubai

One of the main reasons for Dubai's impressive tourism figures is the city's amazing shopping culture.The emirate is home to the largest malls on the planet and holidaymakers travel from all over the world in order to visit the massive retail complexes.All of the world's top designers have shops in the city centre and the upmarket boutiques tend to attract plenty of famous faces.Of course, times are changing and more and more people are now doing a lot of their shopping online.Not one to be left behind when it comes to technological developments, Dubai has introduced its first ever "virtual mall".Just like the record-breaking shopping centres that are strewn across the metropolis, the cyber mall is packed full of renowned retailers, with 40 different companies providing goods through the portal, the National is endorsed by Dubai's Department of Economic Development and managing director of the website Ayaz Maqbool is confident that it will be a success."The site hosts well-known local and multinational retailers across various departments akin to a shopping mall, but in the online space," he was quoted as saying.Mr Maqbool also stated that is a "natural extension of Dubai's world-class retail industry" and people who use the site will find it is broadly similar to visiting one of the city's excellent malls - except they can do so from the comfort of their own home.Dubai's thriving retail sector makes the city an incredibly attractive proposition for foreign investors, who know that wealthy tourists will spend huge sums of money when visiting the emirate.Retail has accounted for 12 per cent of Dubai's gross domestic product over the past decade, which highlights just how important the sector has become.Huge new malls are being built in the city all the time and a number of Dubai's older shopping centres are also being regenerated.Last month, owners of the Al-Ghurair Centre - which first opened in 1981 - confirmed the complex will undergo a massive AED 2 billion expansion this summer.Indeed, the complex will be almost double in size once the work has been completed.

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