A country’s economy cannot sustain on a single industry especially when it is a global business based on local natural resources. This is evident in Dubai's economy which was originally based on revenues from the oil industry. Revenue from petroleum and natural gas is barely 5% of the emirate's GDP, today.
The present Dubai is building hotels and developing real estate, to grow its economy through tourism. Port Jebel Ali, constructed in the 1970s, is world's ninth busiest port and has the largest man-made harbor in the world, but is also increasingly developing as a hub for service industries such as IT and finance, with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) coming into existence.
Dubai is the top business gateway for Middle East and Africa [Source: Healy Consultants]. The government has set up industry-specific free zones throughout the city in hopes of giving a boost to Dubai property.
Great infrastructure combined with high capital and entrepreneurial leadership produces the most successful business. But to sustain the profitability of such ventures, one must constantly reinvent to cater to the changing demography, consumer behaviors, technology and policies of the market. Only a few can achieve such consistency and grow their business through the years. Among Dubai’s increasing billionaires we have identified the few whose business directly impacts the growth in the construction and real estate industries.
Saif Al Ghurair
Saif Ahmad Al Ghurair is Chief Executive Officer and Director of Al Ghurair Group, which run operations in real estate (villas and apartments across Bur Dubai and Deira) and manufacturing sectors in UAE. He is also the one of the leading shareholder in leading Emirati bank Mashreq. Saif Al Ghurair’s net worth is $1.91 billion*, which makes him one of the ‘richest people living in Dubai’.
Hussain Sajwani is the founder and Chairman of DAMAC Properties, a residential real estate developing company. In 2002, he established DAMAC Properties, which has grown to become one of the largest real estate company in the Middle East. Sajwani was one of the pioneers of the property market expansion in Dubai and today he is one of the most significant people in Dubai managing more than 200 projects. He is also the business partner of Donald Trump in Dubai, since 2013 and has developed two Trump International golf clubs in Dubai. His net worth is $3.1 billion.
Ravi Pillai’s name adds to the list of Indian businessmen based out of Dubai among the top 10 wealthiest people in the rich city. He is the founder of RP Group, which employs over 70,000 employees across its businesses. Ravi Pillai also has interests in several other industries such as construction, steel, cement, hospitality, real estate, oil and gas sector.
Ravi expanded his business to other countries including United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and employs one of the largest numbers of Indians in the Middle East. He is one of the richest people in Dubai and has an estimated net worth of about $3.7 billion.
Abdulla Al Futtaim
Abdulla Al Futtaim is a businessman and investor who owns and operates Al Futtaim Group, which is a large conglomerate and sole distributor of Honda and Toyota vehicles in the UAE. Abdulla Al Futtaim owned company also deals in several different industries such as insurance, retail, electronics, engineering, services, real estate and property development. All of these divisions have been very successful in UAE and surrounding regions. His Group employs over 44,000 people. He has a net worth of $3.3 billion and is one of the richest people living in Dubai.
Majid Al Futtaim
With an estimated net worth of 4.4 billion, this entrepreneur in Dubai founded the Majid Al Futtaim Group in 1992. His holding company operates shopping malls, retail, and supermarket establishments in the Middle East and North Africa, with operations in 15 international markets and employs over 33,000 people. Majid Al Futtaim’s company also operates Mall of the Emirates which is one amongst the top five shopping malls in Dubai. Majid Al Futtaim was considered the richest man in Dubai in 2016. Tilal Al Ghaf is the latest community developed by his group, in Dubai.
(*Source: Forbes real time figures as of 6th June 2018)
In addition to these stalwarts of Dubai’s economy, the number of billionaires living in the UAE is forecast to increase significantly by 2027, according to a new report.
Earlier this year, the Wealth Report from Knight Frank said the number of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) in Dubai will grow 60 percent by 2026. According to the report, Dubai experienced a 12 percent increase in UHNWIs between 2015 and 2016, outpacing other financial hubs such as New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. The report credited the expected increase in UNHWIs to a rapid population increase of 76 percent in the decade to 2016, as well as an additional 15 percent increase expected by 2026.
Significant infrastructure projects and new neighborhoods associated with Expo 2020 Dubai have made the emirate an increasingly attractive destination for investors. These positive stories will invoke the global population to choose Dubai as the most desirable place to buy a home when they think of investing in an overseas property.