The opening of Qatar’s Dragon Mart, a complex of Chinese shops and stalls on Barwa Commercial Avenue that had expected to launch last month, has been delayed due to Civil Defense licensing issues, an official at the Chinese Embassy has told Doha News.
In a phone interview, the official, who declined to be named, said:
“The country’s fire regulations have become much stricter since the Villaggio fire, and they want to do more to ensure it’s safe. But we hope it will open soon. We all want to go there and buy things.”
Dragon Mart’s general manager, who goes by Mr. Huang, said that the outstanding license is the one remaining hurdle for the complex. Speaking to Doha News, he added:
“All of our staff are ready to come over from China to work in the store. We will bring 500 staff over for the first phase, and once this is completed, we will rent more space on Barwa Avenue. We eventually hope to employ 3,000 people.”
Dragon Mart, which is based on a similar shopping complex in Dubai, has signed up around 300 companies to sell goods in the mall. It takes up some 20,000 sqm of retail space in the 8km long development, which flanks a major route to the Industrial Area.
The shops will offer a host of Chinese-made products, including building materials, furniture, electronics and textiles.
Last year, it was reported that a new Chinese community is expected to come up near Church City and Barwa City to accommodate the mall’s staff. But Huang said that staff will actually be housed in existing accommodation near West End Park.
Meanwhile, in an effort to forge closer links between the two countries, Katara is hosting a three-day Chinese Cultural Festival beginning Thursday, Jan. 9 (tomorrow).
The event will kick off at 10am with an art exhibition in Building 16, followed by dragon dances and a tea ceremony at 5pm, and then an official opening ceremony featuring the Nanjing National Orchestra of China at the Drama Theater at 8pm. Tickets for the concert cost QR50/person and can be bought online here.
Throughout the three-day festival, activities will take place opposite Building 16 from 5pm to 10pm, and acrobatic shows will be held from 8pm to 10pm at Katara’s drama theater.