Meituan UAS, a drone-based food delivery business from China, is a step closer to integrating its delivery drones, operating systems and drone hubs in the UAE.

In a statement, UAEs Ministry of Economy said the company will be joining its NextGen FDI programme, which was designed to attract pioneering projects to the UAE.

Launched in 2022, NextGen FDI aims to support economic growth by speeding up licensing, facilitating the issuance of bulk or golden visas, and accelerating banking services. It also provides commercial and residential lease incentives for advanced technology companies seeking to relocate to the UAE.

The company, which is a division of food delivery platform, Meituan, has been operating drone delivery services in three cities in China since 2021.

Speaking on the announcement, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said: “The NextGen FDI program was designed to attract pioneering projects to the UAE, ones that could not only use our enabling ecosystem to scale and expand, but also enhance it through the dissemination of new technologies and approaches.

He added: “Meituan’s decision to launch operations in our market underlines the welcoming environment we have created for cutting-edge companies, and we look forward to working alongside them to fully integrate their logistics systems into our existing infrastructure and deliver a technology of genuine benefit to the UAE and its people.”

UAE already offers licenses for commercial Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drones. In addition, theDubai Programme to Enable Drone Transportation was launched in 2021 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. This is currently establishing the infrastructure to enable drone use for a wide range of commercial purposes.

“The development of Meituan UAS has been a process of steady, rapid growth. I’ve been deeply impressed by UAE’s pursuit of innovation and the strong support shown for the UAS sector by government authorities,” said Dr. Yinian Mao, Vice President at Meituan, and General Manager of Meituan UAS.

He added: “We look forward to exploring the possibilities of drone delivery services with partners and to helping promote safer and more efficient drone logistics solutions.”

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Image source: Meituan