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TO BREAK THE RULES, YOU MUST FIRST MASTER THEM. THE JULES AUDEMARS CHRONOMETER HAS BEEN DESIGNED FROM FIRST PRINCIPLE TO SHOWCASE THE REVOLUTIONARY AUDEMARS PIGUET ESCAPEMENT. ACCURACY HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE FUNDAMENTAL QUEST OF WATCHMAKING – TO REPRODUCE THE ABSOLUTE PRECISION OF NATURE IN A MECHANICAL MOVEMENT. IN PURSUIT OF THIS, AUDEMARS PIGUET HAS DEVELOPED A DIRECT IMPULSE ESCAPEMENT, RELEASING POWER AT A FREQUENCY OF 43,200 VIBRATIONS PER HOUR WITH THE LEAST LOSS TO FRICTION. THIS ACCURACY IS ACHIEVED ENTIRELY WITH TRADITIONAL MATERIALS AND CRAFT, WITHOUT THE NEED FOR LUBRICANTS. THE FORCES OF NATURE NOT TAMED, BUT HARVESTED.
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Contents Business 14 FIRST WORD
Young CEO’s on creating wealth
16 INVESTMENT DESTINATION
Finland is attracting investors from the UAE
18 Real Estate Dubai’s recovery
20 Expo 2020
What a successful bid could mean for Dubai
Facebook’s other first lady
26 Cover story
32 Family Business
Real estate is all in the family for the Zaals
36 Global Citizenship
Programs for investing for citizenship
Starwood’s CEO on the Middle East expansion
Pakistan’s new tech entrepreneurs
Mohammed Dastmaltchi founded a bank at 17
Britain’s youngest tech entrepreneur
Providing vital tests for newborns in Pakistan
The new pop up shop trend
52 Q & A
Chanel’s CEO Bruno Pavlovsky
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Fresh perspectives on the news and people that matter in the Middle East
6 GC May / June 2013
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lifestyle 54 gizmos and gadgets
Bikes, speakers, espresso machines and more
Maserati’s new Quattroporte
Vicem’s 46 meter mega yacht
Hong Kong’s hidden gems
64 Little Black Book Shanghai’s top picks
Dubai’s newest restaurants
Healthy travelling tips
Vertu’s discrete luxury
Christian Louboutin’s tattoo parlour
Summer retro trends
64 78 58
2013 May / June GC 7
GLOBAL CITIZEN editorial DIRECTOR Ritu Upadhyay - firstname.lastname@example.org Senior editor Natasha Tourish - email@example.com Lifestyle Editor Aysha Majid - firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR Omid Khadem - email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS Sandra Tinari, Pia Aung, Matt Hamilton, Heba Hashem, Suhair Khan, Nausheen Noor, Shane Philips Printed by Masar Printing and Publishing
Innovative Entrepreneurs nnovation drives entrepreneurship and no one epitomizes that more than Christian Louboutin. The famed footwear designer revolutionized consumer attitudes towards shoes by taking an otherwise overlooked part of a shoe—the sole—and making it red, setting off a new movement in luxury footwear. We had the opportunity to find out how and what inspires him in business, design and life. Join us as we explore Dubai and travel to India with the fashion icon. Also in this issue GC correspondent Suhair Khan was in Pakistan reporting on the country’s tech scene. On page 40, she introduces us to the Pakistani tech entrepreneurs driving an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Here at home, we meet the Zaals, the Emirati family behind one of Dubai’s most talked about real estate developments, Al Barari. For them, entrepreneurship is a family affair, with both the parents and their four children involved in shaping one of the region’s premier new plush and ‘lush’ addresses. In the lifestyle section, don’t miss Lifestyle Editor Aysha Majid’s review of some of the world’s top wildlife escapes around the world. Enjoy this issue and as always, we look forward to your feedback.
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Cover image by Martin Prihoda www.martinprihoda.com
works at Google in San Francisco. Suhair writes regular columns on art, culture and technology for Vogue India and is a contributor to Tech blogs including Women 2.0 and Google Women in Tech. A Harvardtrained economist, Suhair co-founded education-focused social enterprise Developyst.org. (Her writing represents her personal views.)
is a leading Executive Search Consultant in the region and Managing Director of Shane Phillips Consultants, a local boutique search firm. Shane hosts his own show on Dubai Eye 103.8 every Thursday at 8pm called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Eye On Careers.â&#x20AC;?
is an American writer based in LA. His writing has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The National, and Monocle, among other publications. He first came to the Middle East fresh out of college to teach Iraqi refugee children in Jordan before returning to the US to pursue a career in journalism.
is a freelance journalist based between Abu Dhabi and Cairo. She reports regularly on the solar and nuclear power sectors for CSP Today and Nuclear Energy Insider. She has a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies from Middlesex University.
is an Australian business and luxury lifestyle journalist. With 19 years media experience, she regularly contributes to newspapers and magazines in Australia, Europe, the UK and US, including The Financial Times and Sunday Times. Sandra has also worked as an editorial consultant in London for leading corporate firms, such as HSBC, Savills Plc and Four Seasons.
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is a marketing and communications manager with eight years experience working within the luxury sector in London, New York and Dubai. With a background in Art History from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in design studies from Central Saint Martins, she now writes freelance for art galleries in Dubai.
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P e r s p e c t i v e s f r o m t h e to p
young entrepreneurs Creating wealth The 21st century has given rise to the first billionaires under the age of 30. GC asks some of the youngest CEOs in the region if it’s easier to create wealth today in the UAE than ever before. By shane phillips
Founder and CEO, Souqalmal.com
“Creating value and wealth is often no longer dependent on years of expertise or seniority, but on being innovative, spotting the latest trends in the market, adapting quickly and being willing to take risks by betting on unproven concepts. These are typically characteristics more likely to be associated with younger people.”
CEO, Shababco Enterprises
“Second and third generation entrepreneurs are getting involved in the region’s family businesses, many with freshly minted Ivy league MBA’s. So we are witnessing a much more sophisticated generation that enjoys a much stronger infrastructure base than any previous generation has experienced.”
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Yousuf Al Hashimi
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Ahdaaf Sports Club
“Opportunities to create wealth have drastically increased despite the recent economic downturn. Young entrepreneurs in the UAE have a wide source of monetary and advisory support through programs such as DubaiSME and the Khalifa Fund.”
Founder and CEO, The Hundred Pilates Studio
"Yo ung e nt re p re ne urs h a v e m o r e a c c es s t o knowle d ge , t o o l s and o p p o r t u n i t ies t o s et t h e p at h t o w ard s b e c om in g a m illio n a i r e. H owever i t has ne v e r b e e n a n ea s y t a s k , w h et h er in t h e pa s t or n o w. "
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Citruss TV
“People and investors lost the sense for the real value of money when millions and even billions are spent, invested or lost without hesitation. I wouldn’t say it is easier to create wealth today, but wealth can definitely be created (and lost) much faster today than in the past.”
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One of the world’s 25 wealthiest nations, Finland offers investors lucrative opportunities in its thriving new industries, as well as a gateway to the Russian market.
hile most European economies have been placed on negative outlook, Finland was the only euro member to retain a triple-A rating by Moody’s, Standard & Poor and Fitch Ratings. With Russia, Germany and Sweden making up the country’s three largest import partners, Finland’s transparent business environment, modern logistics and advanced research and development is attracting new investors. Approximately 200 foreign companies relocate to the country every year and Transparency International rated Finland as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. With upcoming corporate tax reductions, Finland is expected to become a major trading partner for both China and the UAE. “Finland is an advanced industrial economy with a thriving private sector and a business environment that is highly conductive to foreign direct investments,” Ilkka-Pekka Similä, Finnish Ambassador to the UAE, told GC, adding that “red tape” was minimal in the country.
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One of Finland’s biggest assets is the gateway it provides to Russia and Northern Europe. Most of the transit trade from Europe to Russia already passes through Finland and the countries share the same rail gauge. Given the proximity of Helsinki to Saint Petersburg and the Russian-speaking community in Finland who can facilitate trade, Russia has become Finland’s biggest import partner, pumping nearly €600 million into the Finnish market every year. With offshore accounts, the figure soars to more than six billion euros, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant.
"Cleantech, biotech and the web-game cluster are the most promising sectors in Finland."
Industry Shift Traditionally, Finland has relied on the paper, pulp, and technology industries, but trends are changing. A slump in demand due to paperless offices has forced one of the country’s oldest paper manufacturers to shut two of their mills in April, while smart phone nations with lower production costs are competing with Finland’s technology sector. The government has responded to these challenges with plans to cut its corporate tax rate to 20% from 24.5% as of the beginning of 2014, in the hope of reenergizing the economy. Since exports account for about a third of Finnish output, the economy is also vulnerable to shifts in global trade. In order to protect itself from such volatility, Finland is diversifying by expanding into mobile R&D, ICT, and the gaming industry, currently led by companies such as Rovio and Supercell. “The growth has recently shifted towards new generation environmentfriendly technology and consultancy services,” notes Similä. Finland’s thriving cleantech industry,
Image courtesy of Getty Images
By Heba Hashem
"Finland is an advanced economy with a thriving private sector and a business environment that is highly conductive to foreign direct investments."
which comprises of at least 2000 enterprises, is attracting renewable energy markets worldwide, including Germany and Sweden. In the UAE, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority recently met with a Finnish business delegation to discuss cooperation in the energy production sector. Finnish companies will also have a dedicated pavilion at Dubai’s environmental exhibition, Wetex. “Cleantech, biotech and the webgame cluster are the most promising sectors in Finland. But young cleantech companies like Ductor will also establish themselves strongly in the UAE,” says Tuomo Hyysalo, partner at Dubaibased consultancy Frontier, which helps Finnish companies enter Middle Eastern markets. Finland is also ranked among the world’s top ten countries in biomedical science and clinical medicine, and has an established reputation for advanced healthcare R&D and clinical trial work. For a country like the UAE, where healthcare spending is forecasted to double by 2014, Finland’s medical
Abdul Rahman Saif Al-Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
device industry would fit well within this capacity expansion. The UAE’s Health Ministry recently stressed its interest in acquiring modern medical technologies during a meeting with the UAE’s Finnish ambassador. A Strong Bond with the UAE They may be 3,000 miles apart, but both countries are export-driven and dependent on foreign trade. “Compared to other Nordic countries, we only have a one-hour time difference from the UAE, which makes Finland an ideal location for a Scandinavian headquarters,” says Hyysalo. In Q4 2012, Dubai’s non-oil trade with Finland reached $177.5 million.
“For Dubai-based enterprises there is investment potential in mining, water resources, bioenergy, timber and construction, data centres and ICT,” according to Abdul Rahman Saif Al-Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry who recently organised the UAE-Finland Business Forum in Dubai. In terms of business synergies between Dubai and Finland, he said there is potential in trade, SMEs, education and R&D. Foreign-owned companies in Finland are also eligible for a range of incentives on an equal footing with Finnish-owned companies including business aid, loans and guarantees by Finnvera (state-owned financing company), EU-funded support, R&D and innovation incentives by Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation), capital investments from Finnish Industry Investment, and R&D tax break for companies.
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Dubai's Real Estate Recovery A resounding return of investor confidence in Dubai has cemented the bounce back of the emirate’s thriving real estate sector. By Sandra Tinari
JW Marriott Marquis is the first of many new hotel projects due to open in the coming years in Dubai.
renewed confidence has returned to regional real estate markets. A report released by Deutsche Bank last month underscored a steady and sustained recovery of the property market. According to the report, the year-to-date growth in property prices rose to over 6.2 per cent. The strong recovery in the Gulf economies and their resilience against chills winds from Europe and the Arab Spring, has lead to a sustained upswing in mood and appetite for risk return, says Daniel Savary, Head of Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa at Swiss private bank Julius Baer. “With GDP growth and recovering markets, we are starting to see a slight shift to more aggressive investing. There is a lot of cash held at present and people are seeking opportunities and yield enhancement,” he said. Following the global economic crisis and overheating of local real estate markets, Savary said the usually conservative Middle East investor took an even stronger iron approach to investing, where a fixed-income focus prevailed. Now, investors have found a new confidence. “Investors are willing to take the risk,” said Savary. “People are aware of what has happened and regional investors are no doubt more conservative than before but in terms of asset allocation they are well diversified and are taking a global view.”
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An artist impression of the new Four Seasons resort in Jumeirah
New Projects The change in mood is not just restricted to individuals; developers are moving ahead with new plans. In April, the luxury Four Seasons launched its first development in Dubai, The Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach Resort, which will open late 2014 on an 11-acre beachfront site. Christopher Norton, Four Seasons’ President Hotel Operations EMEA, said Dubai was a market the brand had been looking to enter for years. He also stated that given the strength of the market here he is not opposed to opening a second hotel in the emirate. Six Four Seasons hotels are in the pipeline across the GCC. Craig Plumb, Head of Research for MENA at real estate consultancy JLL, says Dubai is the preferred market in the MENA region among real estate investors. “The preference for Dubai is likely to have strengthened even further over the past six months as the market has seen stronger growth in prices and performance than other regional markets,” he said.
Daniel Savary, Julius Baer
According to JLL’s latest research, the first quarter of 2013 saw a 17 percent increase in sales prices for villas in Dubai, compared with a year earlier. The report stated that the real estate investment market was very active over the quarter and well-established residential communities in central Dubai are expected to see further price and rental growth over the year. This growing buyer interest was demonstrated at the launch of Emaar
Properties’ latest residential community project, Reem, near Arabian Ranches. Last month, the Emaar Sales Centre in Emaar Square, Downtown Dubai saw queues of hundreds lining the block 48 hours before it was due to open. Buyers were hoping to secure one of the 188 Mira three-bed villas set for release at a starting price of Dh1 million (a 50% relative discount to property prices in neighbouring areas). Some of the Mira villas were offered for resale by their new owners within days of purchase, at up to a 37% mark-up. Mira represents the first phase of Reem, with properties due to be completed by 2016. However, the CFA Institute’s Nitin Mehta, managing director, EMEA, cautions that renewed growth and sustained prosperity across MENA markets is dependent upon the region’s ability to nurture investor trust and confidence. “Beyond the obvious need for political stability, this will require greater transparency and improved corporate governance practices.”
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The campaign for Expo 2020 has been plastered across the emirate.
Bringing the World to Dubai What winning Expo 2020 could mean for the emirate By Tara Gally
ubai, the small emirate that has transformed itself into the Middle East’s tourism and business hub, is reaching for new heights. With an airport that is the world’s second busiest for international traffic, the tallest building on the planet and manmade islands in the shape of palm trees, Dubai is now pouring its efforts into winning the bid to host the Expo 2020. Although said to have been submitted relatively last minute, the bid has already received verbal support from the likes of Bill Gates, one of the world’s richest businessmen. In a video posted on the bid’s official website, Gates described the emirate as having “modernised itself, taken on tough projects, brought people together in a number of amazing ways. I think they would
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be a great location for the World Expo,” he said. The World Expo, which typically lasts for six months, attracts up to 25 million visitors from around the world who come to view national pavilions showcasing innovations and achievements of each participating country. The expo, which occurs every five years, has huge economic ramifications for the hosting country. The amount of people expected to visit the fair will be a big benefit to Dubai, attracting new businesses and creating investment opportunities, said Mohammed Ali Yasin, Managing Director at the NBAD Securities. “Expo 2020 is a very important event for Dubai and the UAE. Winning this would be a big deal for the region and would serve as a catalyst for bidding for the World Cup in the future.”
Stiff Competition Dubai may be up against tough competition with Brazil’s Sao Paulo, Russia’s Yekaterinburg, Turkey’s Izmir and Thailand’s Ayutthaya in the bidding. In February, a delegation visited Dubai to evaluate the bid. A report based on their findings and recommendations will be shared with member states in June. After 163 member countries submit their votes, the winner will be announced in November 2013. “If it was down to logic and the evaluation of Dubai’s ability, I’m confident we’ll be the top candidate,” said Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports. If the bid is successful, the fair would be hosted at Dubai Trade
"If it was down to logic and the evaluation of Dubai’s ability, I’m confident we’ll be the top candidate."
A rendering of the proposed venue for Expo 2020
Center – Jebel Ali, a 438-hectare expanse on the southwestern edge of Dubai, next to Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport, slated to be the world’s largest upon completion. It is clear that Dubai has a logistical advantage for hosting Expo 2020. While its second airport, Al Maktoum International, is still a work in progress, the growth in the emirate’s aviation sector could drive further investment. Last year, Dubai’s International Airport attracted over 57 million passengers, largely driven by the growth of Emirates, the world’s No. 1 carrier for international travelers. The hub aims to surpass Heathrow as the globe’s busiest by 2015. New Project Pipeline In recent months, Dubai had announced a number of large projects reminiscent of boom days prior to the global financial crisis. Now, with signs of recovery bringing back bank lending and investments, a new projects pipeline is building up. How closely are these projects pinned on winning the Expo 2020
bid? Farouk Soussa, Chief Economist for the Middle East at Citigroup Global Markets Ltd, doesn’t think the event “will be the main driver of Dubai’s economy but it will add to its profile of being the financial and commercial hub in the region.” “If they don’t get the Expo that doesn’t mean the drivers will weaken,” Soussa said. “I think many of the projects announced are on a case by case basis.” However, the emirate is yet to repay the debt it accumulated during the boom days. Its bond and loan maturities between 2014 and 2016 are estimated by Standard Chartered Bank to be $48 billion. While questions about how the emirate will finance its new ambitions remain, there is consensus that winning the expo bid will support growth. Hosting the fair would ultimately pave the way for an easier execution of announced projects, said Yasin. “For many of those projects to be justified you need a project like this and then you won’t struggle for financing because you know that something like this is coming.”
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Facebook's Other First Lady
Gideon Spanier / London Evening Standard / The Interview People
Carolyn Everson, Sheryl Sandbergâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right-hand woman, runs the social networkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s London arm. She tells us why we need more women at the helm.
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acebook’s global advertising chief, Carolyn Everson, just might be the most influential woman in London’s internet industry. Some will say that’s not entirely surprising since there is an acute shortage of women in senior positions in technology, especially in Britain. It is something that Everson, a 41-year-old American, has noticed since she moved to London in December and she feels passionately about it — just like her boss Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s formidable chief operating officer, who this month published a controversial book called Lean In about the battles facing women in the workplace around the world. “There’s a lack of women in technology in general,” declares Everson, sitting in Facebook’s colourful offices in Covent Garden. “We have a real lack of women in engineering. We’ve got high-profile women in Marissa Meyer from Yahoo! and Sheryl in terms of actually leading technology companies. But I think there is a shortage of women across the board.” After a career lasting nearly 20 years, including senior positions at Microsoft and MTV, she speaks from experience and says motherhood remains the key issue. “I’ve worked closely enough with Sheryl over the past two years that she and I have had extensive conversations about this,” says Everson, whose role as vice-president of global marketing solutions is to manage Facebook’s top 1,500 clients and agencies around the world, at a company that brings in close to $5 billion a year and rising from advertising. “I do think women get to a point where they have to love their job and their career, it has to be so fulfilling and they have to feel as if they are having impact, in order to make the sacrifices they may feel they have to make on the home front. Women get to a point where if they are not fulfilled in their career, the inclination is to stay at home, which is totally understandable.” Sandberg’s book recounts how some women find it hard to juggle motherhood and a career and argues men are going to have to do half the work inside the home if women are to have half the leadership positions outside of it. Everson, who is married to a pharmaceuticals executive, Doug, has her own strong views as the mother of 10-year- old twin daughters, Taylor and Kennedy. “I want them to believe that they can achieve anything they set out to. Which means if they want to go and be an engineer and start coding — fabulous! If they want to lead a company some day — fabulous! If they want to be in government, if they want to stay at home, I just want them to know that they have every opportunity to achieve what their dreams are. Such candour and warmth is unexpected. But then Everson, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, is surprisingly down to earth, unlike many corporate figures. She appears more emollient than Sandberg, whose book has come under fire for suggesting women should push harder to get ahead in the workplace.
"Women get to a point where if they are not fulfilled in their career, the inclination is to stay at home, which is totally understandable." Everson is loyal to Sandberg. “I think there was a need to write the book and that’s why she did it. I do think many of the issues that are out there are people issues and not just female issues. I want the dads on my team or the men on my team who have ageing parents or obligations outside the office, I want them to feel every bit as empowered and OK to leave the office to do those things as women. Because if men can walk out the door to go and coach their daughter’s or son’s sports team or go to a parent-teacher conference, women might actually feel better about doing it too.” Everson’s own daughters don’t use Facebook because they are not yet 13 — the site’s minimum age — but they use Instagram, the photo-sharing app that Facebook bought last year. The London office, which employs around 160 people and has meeting rooms named after James Bond movies and characters from Doctor Who and Harry Potter, has a family feel. As the interview ends, a member of staff arrives with their baby on a visit and Everson suddenly turns maternal and bends down to look. “He’s smiling,” she coos. Spoken like a true working parent.
2013 May / June GC 23
Christian Louboutin The legendary designer shares his story of entrepreneurship, art and what motivates him on his lifelong journey of discovery.
“I wanted to do shoes ever since I was a kid, but I wasn’t necessarily interested in fashion. The reality is I wanted to design shoes for showgirls.”
Images by Martin Prihoda for Global Citizen
By Ritu Upadhyay
n an early spring day just off a plane from Paris, Christian Louboutin marvels at the energy of Dubai. The famed footwear designer says the emirate, which he visits often, has a vibe he hasn’t felt elsewhere. “As a child you learn about the foundation of Rome…it was something I found very exciting…the idea of a city being built right in front of your eyes. The feeling I have here corresponds to the building of Rome,” he says. “You arrive and it’s full of cranes. And you come 6 months after and there is a new
road and different buildings. The centre has shifted. You see it in front of your eyes, the construction of a whole new empire.” The fifty-year-old Frenchman knows a thing or two about building an empire. He can be credited for elevating the status of footwear in the fashion world with his eponymous company founded 20 years ago. He took what was generally an overlooked part of the shoe—the sole—and colored it red, sending women into a frenzy suddenly making shoes one of the most coveted parts of a woman’s wardrobe. He sells more than 700,000
pairs of those signature red soled shoes annually. Known for their sky high heels and extravagant embellishments including spikes, fur and even rubies, a pair of “Loubis,” as women call them, can range in price from $500-$6000 (the latter for custom made gemstone encrusted pair). With an annual sales volume estimated at over $300 million (according to Women’s Wear Daily), Louboutin’s company is still privately owned, something which helps him retain creative control over the brand. The numbers speak for his success. He has 70 stores worldwide and is growing rapidly. The bulk of sales are still concentrated in the west, but demand from luxury markets in the emerging economies of the east is catching up quickly. He has opened 11 stores in the Middle East in the last two years, with shoes flying off the shelves as the boutiques try to keep up with demand. And his appeal is not limited to just women. Two years ago Louboutin launched his men’s collection, which already makes up almost a quarter of all sales. During the course of our conversation, it is clear Louboutin is a man of many pursuits beyond footwear. He is equally comfortable talking in detail about the decimation of culture under dictatorships in Egypt as he is describing
84 May / June 2013
the archaeological significance of the pre-Islamic Nabataean ruins he visited recently outside of Jeddah or his obsession with Pakistani miniature painting. His passion for the region is so deep rooted he set up homes in Egypt and Aleppo. Louboutin’s approach to business is similar—If he loves a city, he will set up shop. He won’t enter a market unless he has a genuine connection to the place. “The growth of the company is dependent upon the place I like at the end of the day. A new expansion is not only numbers based; it is emotional,” he said. “I just opened a store I love in Rome. Every Italian journalist was asking ‘why not Milan?’ (the fashion capital). The answer was because I love Rome, and I don’t particularly like Milan,” he says unapologetically. “From a business point of view, yes, we’d probably do double or triple in Milan than in Rome. But the reality is I’m so happy to have a store in Rome. He adds that the benefit of being a privately owned company is that he can still make decisions with his heart. “You don’t necessarily have to explain to a board everything.” Though he is guided by his heart, Louboutin is not a maverick prone to going against the grain just for the sake of making a statement. One of the guiding principles of his life is something he learned from his father, a cabinet maker in Paris. “He was showing me a piece of wood and saying: ‘You see in wood there is a grain. When you sculpt the wood you need to go in the direction of the grain. If you go against the direction of the grain, you end up with splinters. If you want to do beautiful things you have to go in the direction of the wood’,” recalls Louboutin. “The lesson was you have to go in the direction of people, not against. Nature teaches us many things.” His love for discovery started at an early age. As a child growing up in the 12th arrondissement in Paris, he would often visit a travel agency near his home and pick up brochures and sit in his room planning his adventures. Detail oriented from a very early age, the young Louboutin would go so far as to think
about time differences, currency and budget for his imaginary trips. “In my mind, I was always traveling.” At the age of 15 he finally realized his dream when he took off for India. “I love India, always did. After my first trip when I was 15, I went there 7 years in a row, every year.” We meet next with the designer in that beloved place of his first international adventure. From Dubai he traveled to Mumbai to open a new flagship store
“The growth of the company is dependent upon the place I like at the end of the day. A new expansion is not only numbers based. It is more emotional.”
in a historic building in the south part of the city. This is an unconventional move for a luxury brand (which typically are in malls in India). But it is exactly as Louboutin would have wanted. He is clearly his element in India. The morning of his big store opening, Louboutin takes us to one of his favorite destinations in Mumbai—Chor Bazaar (or ‘thieves’ market), navigating with the comfort of a local. He comes here regularly to buy vintage Bollywood film posters and other odds and ends. When asked what he does with them, Louboutin, a longtime fan of Indian cinema, says some go in his homes around the world and others end up on the walls in his boutiques. Not surprisingly, Louboutin himself is very involved in the interior design of each of his 70 boutiques. Despite having the world’s biggest stars clamoring to be dressed by him, Louboutin displays a humility unlikely for someone of his stature in the fashion, an industry notorious for big egos. At his opening, Louboutin is thrilled his friend Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has dropped in.
Christian Louboutin with actor Amitabh Bachchan at his boutique opening in Mumbai.
2013 May / June GC 29
“I have always loved to travel and listen and to look at what is happening around me. Even when traveling for work.”
Louboutin’s Mumbai boutique
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With great success also comes challenges. Louboutin recently was involved in a high profile lawsuit with fashion house Yves Saint Laurent (owned by luxury conglomerate Kering). YSL designed a pair of monochromatic red shoes with a red sole to which Louboutin objected. “I don’t like to go for trial as it is a lot of negative energy,” he says. However it was important to him to make a statement. “I couldn’t not do it,” he says, in reference to protecting the principle of owning the copyright to a creative concept. “If you are carrying the idea of luxury in your brand how can you not respect another individual’s creativity?” Though YSL was allowed to continue to sell their all red shoe, Louboutin retained the exclusive right to use the color red on the bottom of shoes whenever the outer portion is any other color besides red. That was enough of a win for him. “It wasn’t just about shoes. For a lot of people I represent the idea that out of a dream you can actually build a company. I’m not the son of someone famous, but I was able to build something on a creative idea. I felt I owed it to my supporters to show them that if you have been doing your own thing, you can not be crushed by a big company. Just because you’re not backed by multibillion-dollar company doesn’t you must back down.” Louboutin’s passion for championing the smaller players extends to working
with local artisans. As an avid traveler, he always has his eyes open to creative concepts. While in Bhutan a couple of years ago, Louboutin fell in love with the craftsmanship of the country, especially their woodcarving and metal work. Inspired to incorporate that into his designs, he collaborated with a local school of artisans to develop shoes so he could share their craft with the world. “I don’t want to work with them for the first sample and then the rest goes into a cheap mass production in China. If they can only do 300 pairs in one season, that’s fine. I prefer to have 300 pairs created by the artisans over 3000 based on a copy of their work.” He admits that’s not a lucrative process, but he is not doing this for the money. It’s about keeping a craft alive. “You have to keep those people working. If we don’t do that, then don’t expect creativity to keep on living.” As we bid farewell in India, Louboutin says he will be jetting off next to his home in Portugal for two weeks to focus only on sketching the next collection. He still singlehandedly designs each and every shoe himself. This is a staggering task given how many shoes he must make season after season. But the designer and entrepreneur with boundless energy will not release those reins. “You know the core of my business is drawing. It is the real pleasure that I have. Otherwise it is just running a company.” Spoken like a true artisan.
2013 May / June GC 31
when real estate is all in the family The Zaal family (clockwise from top left): Mohammed, Zaal Mohammad, Hazza, Nadia, Kamelia, and Lesley
32 GC May / June 2013
For the Zaal family—the developers behind the luxury eco-friendly development Al Barari, real estate is a family passion. GC talks to them about how they make it work as a family business. By Natasha Tourish
very city has it: a street or row that houses some of the wealthiest families in town. In Hong Kong it’s Severn Road, in London it’s Kensington Palace Gardens and in New York it’s 5th Avenue. In Dubai, that area is fast becoming a development called Al Barari. Al Barari, which means ‘The Wilderness,’ is 14.2 million sq ft of natural landscaped gardens on the Nad al Sheba royal enclave. It is home to the charismatic Emirati Zaal family, who are also the developers of the eco-friendly community. A Unique Vision From the onset, patriarch Zaal bin Zaal had intended for Al Barari to be a family business. With Zaal as the driving force behind the development, his son Mohammed Zaal is the CEO of the company and spearheads the day-to-day management alongside his sister Kamelia, a landscape architect who runs the onsite Greenworks nursery. And mum Lesley heads up the interior design company responsible for the 200 plus villas. “It all started over a decade ago when we were looking to build our own family home,” explained the CEO and eldest son Mohammed.
“We had this beautiful concept for a home but it didn’t really fit in anywhere, until we found this piece of land with the beautiful views of Dubai skyline and overlooking the natural reserve.” The family had been involved in the plant production industry for years and according to landscape architect Kamelia Zaal, it was their “shared love of beautiful gardens” that inspired them to create the botanical haven, home to the UAE’s largest private nursery, which supplies the villa’s gardens and also operates as a separate landscape business. Once the Zaal family created their own luxury home and gardens in Al Barari, it was a “natural progression” for them to work together on creating a sustainable community for other families to enjoy. The lush community borders Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s natural wildlife reserve, making it the lowest density development in the Middle East with the built-up area comprising just 30% of the site. “The real estate boom had just kicked off and we felt strongly that other people didn’t really have a community where they could walk outside of their house and go for a beautiful stroll in gardens,” said Kamelia.
The lush green gardens are the main focal point of Al Barari homes.
2013 May / June GC 33
"We had this beautiful concept for a home but it didn’t really fit in anywhere, until we found this piece of land with the beautiful views of Dubai skyline and overlooking the natural reserve." Mohammad added, “We all have our different expertise and different fields, and to be actively involved as owners means that we give so much more.” “There’s no real clocking off time, it’s breakfasts and dinners, but we try not to talk business all the time but it never works,” he admits. [Laughs] However, working so closely isn’t without its challenges, Mohammed conceded, “It’s not easy I must say, working with your family on a daily basis. “I have to remind myself to be a son sometimes, instead of a CEO.” “But ultimately it’s about us understanding what the vision and goal is and working unbelievably hard to create this thing,” said Mohammed. The continued success of Al Barari bears strong testament to the resurgent property market in Dubai. The company has just released phase 3 of their development, ‘The Reserve’- an ultra exclusive collection of 14 bespoke villas, ranging in price from $5.5m to $11m. Four different villa styles will be delivered core-and-shell, allowing buyers the opportunity to express their individuality in choosing and fully customizing their property. However, Mohammed and his mother Lesley admit they
The show home for the newly released bespoke ‘Reserve’ villas at Al Barari.
34 GC May / June 2013
had their initial reservations about offering this type of bespoke service. “The idea is that they have freedom to do what they want inside but they must adhere to our strict architecture code; 99% of people already understand that,” says Mohammed. Lesley added, ”I prefer a certain look that I would describe as ‘relaxed elegance’ and not everyone wants this style. But generally they can be guided to create something that fits with their lifestyle and is aesthetically pleasing. ” Green open space is something the development has in abundance. Although it houses 280 villas, Greenworks nursery, The Farm restaurant and The Reserve, they still have “big plans” for the remaining 80%. They plan to begin construction on a boutique hotel, cinema, retail shops and F&B outlets and 108 smaller sized villas, which will be for rental only, all in the coming months. For the skeptics who say the development will become too commercialized, Zaal says, “Having everything done in house means we design everything ourselves, so everything will be separated geographically and everything will lend itself to the development.”
Explore. Discover. Secure Global Citizenship.
Invest in a Second Residence and Citizenship. Secure the benefits for generations to come. Now more than ever, countries are competing to attract foreign investors by upgrading existing programs and offering valuable incentives. To make the right choice, you need the right advice.
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Your future, your way. EMIRATES TOWERS, LEVEL 41 SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD, P.O.BOX 31303, DUBAI, UAE | T +971 4 319 7665 | F +971 4 330 3365 | INFO@ARTONCAPITAL.COM | WWW.ARTONCAPITAL.COM Arton Capital is a leading global financial advisory firm providing custom-tailored services for Immigrant Investor Programs to Government agencies and high net-worth individuals and families from around the world. The firm is supervised by the Quebec financial markets’ regulator, L’Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and is recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Finance as an International Financial Center (IFC).
Citizenship By Investment Governments are increasingly utilizing their country’s passport as a means of attracting wealthy foreigners to their countries.
n the wake of the global financial crisis, more and more countries are realizing the potential value of offering their residence and citizenship to foreign investors in return for hefty investments that will boast their ailing economies. Cyprus’ well-documented banking crisis has brought the Mediterranean island to its knees and its economy in dire need of an injection of foreign investment. The government have been quick to realize this and in April proposed new immigration measures in a bid to compensate out of pocket foreign investors who lost more than €3 million euros in the crisis. The country’s president Nicos Anastasiades told a news conference in Limassol that his government would offer citizenship to “Non-resident investors who held deposits prior to the bailout and lost at least €3 million.” A clear sign that the Cypriot government understands the value of an EU passport, particularly to those who hail from Russia and Iran, where EU visa restrictions limit their travel. However, not all EU countries are willing to go as far as Cyprus by immediately offering citizenship to eligible investors. Some countries are instead proposing new legislation that will allow them to offer residency to foreign investors. For example, Portugal and Spain who have much stricter immigration policies are now offering residency to people who invest in real estate projects in their country. Bulgaria also modified their citizenship act in March this year to allow clients in their
36 GC May / June 2013
existing Investor Program who have already invested €512,000 in government bonds for 5 years, to speed up the process to Bulgarian Citizenship in one year by investing an additional €512,000 in shares of any company that has been labeled as a Priority Certified Project by the government. Meanwhile, Hungary has granted legislation to allow foreigners who purchase €250,000 worth of government
...the Cypriot government understands the value of an EU passport, particularly to those investors who hail from Russia and Iran...
bonds without interest to qualify for permanent residency in what has been described as “a very simplified procedure,” according to Vladimir Kolev, VP and Managing Director of Arton Capital Hungary, a global advisory firm who specialise in Immigrant Investor Programs. The company has been advising the Hungarian government on how to set up the program. “The Hungarian residency program
is designed mainly to attract Chinese and Middle Eastern investors who will be granted ID cards with permanent residency status, which will allow them to travel freely for business throughout any of the Schengen countries without a visa,” explained Kolev. He added that Arton Capital, who has offices in Dubai, will be the exclusive authorized financial intermediary in the Middle East for this program and will be offering financing options by the end of the year. Fast Track Programs It’s not just struggling EU economies that are using their passports as a method of attracting investors. Caribbean countries such as Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and most recently Antigua and Barbuda all offer citizenship by investments programs at a much faster path than their EU counterparts. The Antiguan program will be officially launched this summer. The program will be a bit more restrictive than St. Kitts in that it will require investors to physically spend one week per year on the island. It will also be more exclusive as there will be a limited number of applications per year allowed. Meanwhile, a recent invitation by the European Commission to citizens of 16 islands to travel visa free in Schengen, will make the Commonwealth of Dominica’s economic citizenship program more popular, as it has the lowest investment requirements. The government there is also considering options to include select real estate projects as a viable investment channel for foreigners wishing to participate in the program.
IMMIGRANT INVESTMENT PROGRAM UPDATES
Required investment: US $250-350,000 donation or US $400,000 real estate investment
Required investment: â&#x201A;Ź250,000 investment in government bonds for 5 years
Time to citizenship: 6 months
Time to residency: 4 months (estimate)
Visa free travel: 130 countries
Visa free travel: PR Card access to all 27 Schengen countries
Required investment: recently proposed to add a new investment opportunity in real estate
Required investment: recently updated; a total investment of â&#x201A;Ź1M for Citizenship is required
Time to citizenship: Faster process to citizenshipless than 6 months
Time to residency and citizenship: Fast track to citizenship with permanent residency after 2 years. (No longer have a language requirement for citizenship and there is no renunciation of previous citizenships.)
Visa free travel: visa free to all Schengen countries and more, 110 in total in effect by end 2013
Visa free travel: 131
IIP coming soon
2013 May / June GC 37
starwood's rise in the middle east
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Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen tells GC about the company’s plans to open 50 new hotels in the Middle East in the next five years. By Tara Gally
rits van Paasschen has a big job ahead, but he’s upbeat about the future. The Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., whose luxury brands include St. Regis, Sheraton and the W, is steering the company towards divesting assets and lowering costs, while boosting revenue from managing hotels as opposed to owning them. Part of this strategy is to grow in emerging markets, including the Middle East and Africa. “This region in particular has bounced back quickly from the financial crisis. Even in comparison with a year ago, the level of economic activity and dynamism is only accelerating,” van Paasschen told Global Citizen. Starwood plans to grow its Middle East and Africa (MEA) portfolio by more than 60 percent with almost 50 new hotels to open during the next five years, adding in excess of 14,000 rooms. It currently has 82 operating hotels in the region, with 14 hotels in Dubai alone and six more in the pipeline. This perhaps explains why the Stamford, Connecticut-based company had moved its headquarters to Dubai for a month in April. The
The emirate has the highest concentration of Starwood hotels globally after New York City.
emirate, the Middle East’s trade and business hub, has the highest concentration of Starwood hotels globally after New York City. The month-long symbolic relocation to Dubai has left van Paasschen with a sense of optimism. Hard hit by the global financial crisis in 2009, Dubai is witnessing an economic recovery, largely driven by real estate, aviation, trade and tourism. In the past few months, Dubai announced several large projects similar to those unveiled during the boom days. While many have posed questions about how those massive plans will be funded, van Paasschen is bullish about expansion opportunities and the developments to come. “There could very well be some oversupply at some point, but that’s well worth the opportunity to have the pre-emptive presence that we want to have here,” added van Paasschen. The company’s management and franchise revenues worldwide
gained 11.5 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, according to its earnings release. It signed 131 hotel management and franchise contracts, representing some 30,500 rooms, and opened 69 hotels and resorts with approximately 17,600 rooms during the financial year ended December 31. Focus on New Markets In 2012, The Middle East and Africa region witnessed a 6.1 percent increase in hotel occupancy to 60.3 percent, and a 5.6 percent rise in revenue per available room (RevPAR) to $97.54, according to data compiled by STR Global. Among the highlights were Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, both ending the year with the highest increases in average daily rate (ADR), an industry benchmark. The two cities also achieved double-digit RevPAR growth, with 19.7 percent for Jeddah and 11.4 percent for Dubai. With developments starting to pick up and thanks to Saudi Arabia’s population of almost 30 million, the kingdom would be a “much bigger” market for Starwood, helped by the continued growth in religious tourism there, explained van Paasschen. The company operates nine hotels in the world’s largest producer and exporter of oil, has six under development and is in discussions for more. “If you look at the potential, I think with the nine plus six that would be 15 hotels, we could see that number doubling,” said van Paasschen. “That would make Saudi Arabia one of our top 10 to 12 country markets around the world, but that would take time. I think we could double the footprint…probably by 2020.” Cities such as Medina, Mecca, Jeddah, Riyadh and in the Eastern province require more hotels, in addition to all the secondary cities that lack supply, according to Guido E. De Wilde, Senior VP and Regional Director for the Middle East at Starwood. To the west of Saudi is another area that’s caught Starwood’s attention: Africa. Over the past two decades, the continent has benefited the least from global development and is now gaining momentum, as demographics, a wealth of natural resources and the effect of technology on society are acting as catalysts for development and urbanization, according to van Paasschen. Starwood has around 120 hotels between Africa, the Middle East and India, roughly the size of its portfolio in China, in addition to 75 more in development. “I don’t think that Africa will develop on the same immediate trajectory as Southeast Asian markets, but, along the lines of India, will continue to grow for some time to come,” he said.
2013 May / June GC 39
new entrepreneurs Working from unpretentious offices in Lahore and home-based laptops in Peshawar, Pakistani tech entrepreneurs are quietly making a big lucrative mark in the technology sector.
"we have smart, motivated engineers and the entire world as a potential market."
Zafar Khan at his farm just outside of Lahore
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rom his farm outside Lahore Zafar Khan runs Sofizar, one of Pakistan’s most successful internet ventures. The company has annual revenues of twenty million dollars, mostly from Ticketnest, a Stubhub-type ticket aggregator with a global user base and a staff of ninety, split between Lahore and Silicon Valley. Khan is the face of a relatively new breed: the Pakistani tech entrepreneur. These entrepreneurs are part of a quickly expanding technology industry that is increasingly organized. According to the Pakistan Software Houses Association, the size of the tech industry is estimated to be $3 billion and growing at twenty percent annually. Mostly self-funded, these companies range from financial services software and infrastructure to gaming, e-commerce and social networking. The business environment these tech professionals operate in is not always easy, punctuated by what Khan refers to as ‘geopolitical constraints.’ But the allure of Silicon Valley and tech idols like Google’s Larry Page and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey is what keeps them motivated to deal with a very unique set of challenges. Just as with their billionaire inspirations, young Pakistani entrepreneurs believe the next big technology moment could be at their fingertips. The local market is growing quickly – there are thirty million internet users in Pakistan, and internet penetration has increased by sixty-five percent since 2009. There is
Image courtesy of Warrick Page Photography
By suhair khan
an abundance of talented professionals and no shortage of ideas. Scaling Up Big international players such as Google have begun to pay attention. Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt paid a groundbreaking visit to Pakistan in June last year with company executives, meeting with developers and representatives of the tech industry. In a Google+ posting, he expressed optimism about Pakistan, particularly as the emerging middle class continues to leverage ‘connectivity, information and the Internet.’ As a precursor to this, a group of Googlers traveled to Lahore the year before to learn about the local tech scene and subsequently set up a fund to seed twenty-five of the top technology ideas. At $10K, the prize is small, but the prestige factor is high. It also reflects the moderate costs of setting up a scalable business. There has also been some external acknowledgment of outstanding Pakistani techies. In 2011 MIT’s Technology Review included Umar Saif, creator of SMSall.pk and other successful startups, in its list of the top 35 Innovators Under 35 (an honour previously bestowed upon luminaries such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg). Lack of Funding But for all but a select few players, both recognition and funding of local talent remains limited. Pakistan is starved of venture capital investment, especially as exit strategies remain difficult to quantify in a market with still questionable intellectual property laws. Funders such as Abraaj Capital have begun making inroads, and an MIT led consortium has established a Tech Angels Network, but deal flow remains limited. Most companies grow organically; e-commerce
Umar Saif creates technology solutions that target the developing world.
portals like Shophive.com and gaming outfit Mindstorm Studios have been able to afford this till now, but it seriously limits scaling. And so companies raise capital in creative ways. Joint ventures with firms from Southeast Asia to the U.S. abound. Firms are often paid for services to Silicon Valley startups in equity, the value of which, for some of them, has grown considerably, adding significantly to their
valuations. The shine of startup conventions and the appeal of the technology sector is only likely to expand. A new sense of empowerment is emerging, and as Zafar Khan says, “we have smart, motivated engineers and the entire world as a potential market. We require an internet connection and enough money to keep a diesel generator going – that is all the infrastructure we need.”
2013 May / June GC 41
Building a Bank Mohammad Dastmaltchi co-founded an investment bank at the age of 17. He is now carving out a niche for online currency trading in the Middle East. By natasha tourish
t the age of 17, Mohammad Dastmaltchi co-founded Varengold Bank in Germany, making him one of Europe’s youngest bankers. The first German investment bank to focus exclusively on managed funds and alternative investment, Varengold now manages €10 Billion worth of
42 GC May / June 2013
transactions every year, as well as billions of monthly online FX turnover for 11,000 customers across 39 countries. Born in Germany where his parents relocated after fleeing Iran in the late 60’s, Dastmaltchi developed a passion for trading at the early age of nine, saving up his pocket money to invest in German stocks and shares.
At 16, while still in high school, he attended a trade seminar to enhance his trading skills and learn more about money and risk management. It was here he met his future partners, Steffan Fix and Yasin Qureshi, both older and more experienced bankers. Dastmaltchi says upon meeting, they “skipped the whole part about age” because the only point
that mattered to them was that they were all “so deeply into trading strategies.” Their first joint venture was to set up a trading asset company, which took them one year. In order to build up a track record and show that they could manage risk, they traded 1 million Marks (€511,291) worth of investments from family and friends and turned it into around 250 million mark within 3 1/2 years. “I wasn’t yet 18 so my partners had to sign everything on my behalf,” explained Dastmaltchi. “There were definitely many steep challenges, at least in the beginning,” Dastmaltchi says. “It is obviously not easy to prove yourself at such a young age and especially in the banking industry, both among established competitors in Germany and worldwide. You have to be quicker and smarter than everybody else in order to compensate for the perceived deficit implied by your young age.” Timing helped bolster their success, he says. “At the end of the 90’s everybody was investing. The IT industry and technology industry started to come up, we were doing pretty great, but our only weakness was that the volatility of the trading was very high.” Heading Eastwards Dastmaltchi, now 33, is based in Dubai running the Middle East operations and overseeing the international business strategy for the bank, which is still headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. Varengold’s transformation from an asset trading company into an investment bank came in 2003 when they received their banking licence and on the back of a request from their investors to diversify and gain exposure to the Middle Eastern markets. “They told us what we were doing was great but ‘we are giving you a 10
million mark ticket so invest 20% in your own program and invest 80% in other managers’.” At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Varengold bought a Forex online trading brokerage. “We did the due diligence in 48hrs and after the merge, we had $45-50 million worth of client exposure in the Middle East so we decided to come over and open an office in Dubai,” he said. Dastmaltchi says that their ability to “move fast and adapt to their clients needs” has enabled them to stand alongside other top tier global investment banks. “We are dealing with UHNWI’s who are 99% entrepreneurs. They are not employees who are earning a $500,000 salary. We deeply understand their needs because first and foremost we are entrepreneurs. We know their risk profile and since the three of us are on the board and mange 80% of the company, we can take decisions quickly and can change our strategy within 24hrs if that’s what is needed. That’s a major differentiator between us and other top tier banks.” Revolutionizing Currency Trading Varengold’s medium term plans are focused on online trading currencies in the region. They are in talks with two Emirati banks to start a joint venture to provide them with an FX service which will significantly alter the way currencies are traded. “At the minute the banks here are doing (currency trading) pretty old school. We have developed technology that allows clients to trade currencies in seconds. They will no longer have to go into a bank, wait in line for 30 minutes just to change 10,000 dollars to francs. In 30 seconds they can trade online.” Dastmaltchi plans to have this business up and running within 24 months, at which point he says clients “will realize
"We are dealing with UHNWI’s who are 99% entrepreneurs. They are not employees who are earning a $500,000 salary. We deeply understand their needs because first and foremost we are entrepreneurs."
that they used to trade currencies like in the 80’s.” The firm is also in the process of extending upon it’s current institutional and trading divisions. License approval permitting, they plan to open a third division to service the needs of people who are applying for Immigrant Investor Programs. “Varengold will provide finance to ultra high net worth individuals who are investing in government bonds or other investment vehicles as required by the country they are seeking residency or citizenship from.”
2013 May / June GC 43
Britain's self taught teen millionaire Nick Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Aloisio sold his news-reading app for a reported $30 million to Yahoo. Meet one of Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s youngest tech entrepreneurs.
Mark Sutherland / Telegraph Magazine / The Interview People
By Mark Sutherland
Image courtesy of Gettyimages
ith his garish trainers and artfully tousled hair, Nick D’Aloisio looks like a typical British teenager. Initially, he seems like one too – almost his first act on entering the room is to ask for the background Radio 3 to be retuned to Radio 1, while he fiddles constantly with one of his phones as his photo is taken. But not many British teenagers have their own publicist, let alone the two different agencies that currently advise D’Aloisio. Still fewer have had their app acquired by Yahoo and raised venture capital funding before they turned 18. And he’s perhaps the only British 17-year-old who can (and does, in a slightly embarrassed way) boast of being friends with Stephen Fry, hanging out with Ashton Kutcher, enjoying ‘banter’ with Piers Morgan and doing deals with Rupert Murdoch. D’Aloisio’s ‘ridiculous’ life (his word) is a function of the burgeoning popularity of the iPhone app he created – a news summarisation service that he describes as ‘a completely novel way of consuming content on mobile’. Essentially, it pulls in news from a variety of sources and uses a computer algorithm to boil it down to a couple of key sentences, with users choosing the subjects most relevant to them. If you’re interested, you can click through to a longer summary, or the entire, original article. The latest version, which is free, has already been downloaded more than 750,000 times since it launched in November 2012, with its summaries being read more than 75 million times. That makes D’Aloisio sound like an overnight success story, but it’s actually the result of several years of hard work. He was born in London to Australian expat parents (his mother is a lawyer, his father works in commodities for Morgan Stanley), who moved back Down Under
when Nick was one. He spent six years in Melbourne and Perth until he returned to London when he was seven. His love of computers developed to the point where he pestered his parents to invest in an Apple MacBook because he was intrigued by its iMovie application. When Apple launched its iPhone App Store in 2008 he visited an Apple Store and asked the staff how he could learn the coding to make his own apps (‘It was all so new,’ he says, ‘that they were like, “We don’t know either”). Eventually, he taught himself via online videos and launched his first app, Finger Mill – a workout for your fingers – at the end
"They could have screwed me over – they could’ve gone, "We want 90 per cent of the company," and I probably would have said yes. But they didn’t." of summer 2008, when he was 12, and when there were only a few thousand apps available. “The first day I put an app in the store, I made £79. To me, that was amazing.” Each summer he would work on a new app during the school holidays – including SongStumblr (music discovery) and Facemood (for predicting the mood of a user, based on their Facebook status updates). Sometimes they were free, sometimes they were paid-for, but each would prove to be more popular than the last. In summer 2011, he came up with Trimit, an application that cut down
long form web content into tweet-sized bites. That made it into the App Store’s ‘New & Noteworthy’ shop window, was reviewed favourably by several tech blogs and quickly hit 30,000 downloads. D’Aloisio went on holiday to the Algarve with his friends, and when he returned he took a call from people representing Li Ka-shing, the richest man in Hong Kong and an investor in tech firms from Facebook to Siri. “At the end of that first phone call, I explained I was 15,” D’Aloisio says. ‘They weren’t in any way bothered. They could have screwed me over – they could’ve gone, “We want 90 per cent of the company,” and I probably would have said yes. But they didn’t.” And so D’Aloisio became the youngest person in history to receive venture capital investment. He was wired $300,000 in funding on his 16th birthday, something that would be a recipe for disaster (or one hell of a party) with most teenagers. “I did celebrate that day,” he says. “But the thing people don’t understand is that although I’ve raised $1.5 million, it’s been put into the company: it’s not like I can just pull out a million dollars and go buy some car…” Instead, D’Aloisio has used the money sensibly. Aware that people were using Trimit primarily to access news in small chunks, he applied its summarisation technique to a revamped, news-focused app, using Stanford University’s Stanford Research Institute in California to help build its algorithm (“They have a strong reputation for building robust and scalable systems, so it made sense to have their people facilitate the project”). A full version of Summly launched exactly a year after the investment, on November 1 2012 (his 17th birthday), with D’Aloisio’s youth ensuring he made a big media splash, particularly in the US, where he made remarkably unfazed appearances on high-profile chat shows.
2013 May / June GC 45
Danielle and her husband Akber Naqvi with their children: daughter Amara and twins Rio and Sienna.
a simple test to save lives GC meets the inspirational mother behind the ZB Foundation, a charity which aims to provide essential newborn screening to babies in Pakistan’s poorest regions. By natasha tourish
he subject of immunization conjures up mixed emotions in most new parents as they weigh the benefits versus side effects to their child’s health. However, when it comes to preventative screening, parents take it for granted that their babies will be tested at birth, often without them even knowing. That peace of mind isn’t a luxury that new parents in Pakistan are afforded.
48 GC May / June 2013
Pakistan is one of only a handful of countries in the world that doesn’t carry out standard preventive screening tests on newborn babies, and as a result hundreds of babies die before their first birthday. When British businesswomen Danielle Wilson Naqvi and her Pakistani husband Akber Naqvi got married, they promised eachother on the day of their wedding to adopt a baby girl from Pakistan, regardless of whether or not they could
have their own biological children. In Pakistan, there are over a million baby girls abandoned every year, as girls in poor families are often seen as a burden on the family finances. “This is why we choose a baby girl, we didn’t want to deny at least one girl a chance at love and life,” explained Wilson Naqvi. However they never thought there would be a limit on their time with their adopted daughter Zahra Beau. But just
months after they brought her home to Dubai from Pakistan, she passed away at a hospital in Dubai. Zahra was suffering from Glutaric Acidemia Type 2, a metabolic disorder that affects just one in 250,000 babies. Had she been screened at birth with a simple heel prick test, it would have shown an abnormality, which would have warranted more tests and subsequent life saving treatment. The PR executive who is now mother to a second adopted baby girl from Pakistan and has recently given birth to twins, set up the ZB Foundation in their daughter Zahra’s memory. The non-profit’s aim is to save babies like her in Northern Pakistan from preventable deaths. While newborn screening using a heel prick test and a device called an MS machine is a routine part of infant care in the first world, in Zahra Beau birthplace of Pakistan, this type of testing is not available. The ZB Foundation hopes to raise funds to run such a facility in Northern Pakistan with the ultimate goal of rolling out this vital newborn care in every hospital throughout the rest of the country. A Simple Procedure to Save Lives The heel prick tests use a new technology known as ‘tandem mass spectrometry’ to identify more than 30 disorders in newborn babies. Serious illnesses that the tests pick up include: cystic fibrosis, congenital hypothyroidism, sickle cell disease, and phenylketonuria, another rare condition that can cause mental disabilities, but is treatable if diagnosed. While the heel prick can cause some minor discomfort to the baby, it doesn’t require the more extensive blood sampling of earlier tests. And, most importantly, screening using an MS machine is fast, accurate and comparatively cheap. Wilson Naqvi intends to purchase these potentially life saving machines from a company in Finland with help from donors.
A simple heel prick test at birth could have saved Zahra’s life.
"we need only a small room in a hospital to carry out this simple test."
Baby Zahra Beau
“Contribution don’t have to be monetary,” she explains. “We also need people with connections in Pakistan who could, for example, help with the transportation of the equipment from the ports to the hospitals.” “Once we have this machinery, we need only a small room in a hospital to carry out this simple test. We will provide the training for the doctors and nurses,” says Wilson Naqvi. The ZB Foundation is also in the early stages of discussions with Imran Khan’s Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust- the biggest cancer hospital in Pakistan, and owner of a new hospital in the northern region of Pakistan. Wilson Naqvi would like to join forces to raise awareness among doctors about the importance of carrying out this heel prick test and to
raise enough funding to provide other hospitals and clinics in rural areas with the equipment. “When I travelled to Pakistan to meet my second baby girl, Amara, I did the test myself and sent the results to Saudi Arabia to be analyzed,” says Wilson Naqvi. Knowing this is something very few parents in Pakistan would have the means or knowledge to do, she hopes the ZB Foundation’s work will mean parents can take their newborns home armed with lifesaving knowledge and peace of mind.
For more information, visit www.thezbfoundation.com
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Here today, gone tomorrow An alternative to Dubai’s glittering malls, pop-up shops are gaining a large following in Dubai. GC speaks to the founder of B51. By Pia Aung
ubai is well known as a shopping destination, with malls in every corner of the city brimming with both luxury brands and high street fashion. But what has been missing in the local scene is a certain buzz that other rival cities such as New York and London are now famed for: Pop up stores. They are globally becoming big business, from guerilla art galleries to pop up dining this phenomenon has swept through cities globally and now Dubai has its own version with B51, a pop up boutique in Al Serkal Avenue that opened for ten days only in April. The second installment of B51 comes after the success of the first, which took
place in December last year and proved to be a vibrant success according to Weera Saad, the creative director of B51. Although Saad has spent many years in Dubai working in communication, retail is in her blood. Her family’s boutique in Egypt was responsible for having introduced the likes of Paul Smith, Viktor and Rolf and Maison Martin Margiela to the country since the 90’s. Ultimately the lure of retail called and in order to gain market entry with a difference Saad looked to the pop up store model. She cites Dover Street Market in London and Colette in Paris as two stores that she admires. Wanting to bring a different offering to the UAE Saad not only looked for B51 attracts vibrant young trendsetters.
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a selection of designers who were not on offer here but also for a “whole look and feel” that had not been done before. What she refers to as an Avant-garde selection of grunge glamour is made up of an assortment from thirty independent upcoming and established designers from around the world. Of these only one is available elsewhere in the UAE. Going Indie Having worked briefly in the independent film industry, Saad draws parallels between independent filmmakers and independent designers. Her respect comes from watching them make their own way, unheeded by corporate rules and typical industry regulations. “The kind of designers we deal with are playing by their own rules, they don’t have big investment companies supporting them and they do not have to abide by fashion rules, so they just experiment. Every season they actually surprise us with the stuff that they do.” The creative director of B51, Weera Saad along with Ashraf Saad and Magda Moneim.
"We make sure the products that we offer are at the core of the seek and find culture." As you might guess with a family so entrenched in the business, the buyer for the collections is Saad’s Aunt. Magda Moneim has been travelling on buying trips since the eighties and is regarded by many within the field as a keen trend spotter and purveyor of eclectic creations that she seeks based on their caliber rather than the size of a house or popularity of a brand. Whilst many of the items are bought at the Paris and Milan fashion weeks, she also makes a point to visit more experimental fashion weeks such as Berlin as well as many showrooms where they have been alerted to be on the look out for anything atypical and extraordinary. “We make sure the
products that we offer are at the core of the seek and find culture, ” said Saad. T-shirts by Des Artistes start in the early hundreds and the proceeds go to the artists preferred charity, for example medicines sans frontiers is one of the selected charities. As she muses over the print Saad is quick to highlight that the consumers she has encountered in the UAE have been more adventurous then she could have imagined. But perhaps it is the nature of the pop up concept itself, which is playful and engaging that is drawing in a more style conscious and thrill seeking shoppers at a time where the market appears ripe for such a dexterous business model.
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Bruno Pavlovsky, CEO of Chanel Fashion, talks to Global Citizen on the eve of the opening of their Little Black Jacket exhibition at the base of the Burj Khalifa.
Can you tell us why this photographic exhibition of the iconic black jacket was conceptualized? This exhibition is the perfect illustration of the creativity of the brand. It’s not a fashion show–we wanted something else besides a fashion show. Karl Lagerfeld photographed 143 celebrities and friends of the brand who were wearing the black jacket, styled in their own unique way. It shows a lot of different attitudes; you see a lot of different types of people who are playing with the jacket: men, women, kids. The message is that Chanel is for everyone. Dubai is one of 11 cities in the world that the exhibition has traveled to. What is the significance of emirate for the company? Dubai is an important city. We are very pleased to be here. We have a long relationship with customers in Dubai, having first come in 15 years ago with Chalhoub. Business is booming. Will you do any special lines just for the Middle East? Creativity is worldwide, it’s global. We are not creating anything for any one region. Whether they are from the Middle East or Brazil, our customers want the same thing. The best sellers are the best sellers everywhere, including here in Dubai. Through an alteration process we can offer to our customers something more specific to their needs. If they want something longer, we can do that. It’s very important and we are quite respectful of what they want. However at the same time we want them to enjoy the Chanel creativity. We are not here to deliver any other message. It’s the same message of creativity everywhere. Where do men fit into the brand ethos for Chanel? It’s a big question for Chanel (smiles). We are not a menswear company. We have to be clear. Men’s is more about clin d’oeil (a wink). Mademoiselle Coco Chanel and Mr. Lagerfeld both say they have been inspired by men, but it’s for women. It’s another business. It’s much better to be focused on what we know. We have too many things to offer women. We do have products for men, of course. We have fragrances and we have ties. We also do some bags which are for both. But we are not trying to be a serious player in menswear. We have enough to just surprise people.
What’s next for Chanel in Dubai? We have a new boutique opening in the Mall of the Emirates. This will be our second wholly owned boutique in Dubai. We look forward to offering our customers a wider assortment. It won’t be the same as Dubai Mall. We want each store to offer something unique.
CEO Bruno Pavlovsky
Chanel’s photographic exhibition of The Little Black Jacket will be in Dubai until May 11th. The photographs celebrate the versatility and timelessness of Coco Chanel’s iconic black jacket design.
GIZMOS & GADGETS
Stealth Electric Bicycle
Combining 4.5kW of electrical output with as much mechanical input as the rider is capable of, the Bomber electric bike by Australian based Stealth displays phenomenal acceleration and hill climbing ability in any terrain. The silent bike has zero emissions and can be recharged within two hours. Constructed from aircraft certified alloys, the bikeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pedal power is transmitted via its unique 9 speed sequential gearbox, with stopping taken care of by progressive 6 or 8 pot hydraulic disc brakes. Heavy duty long travel suspension soaks up the hits and allows the rider to maintain high speed stability. Priced at $9,900, available at www.stealthelectricbikesusa.com
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A tribute to the Grand Prix engines of the nineties, the Espresso Veloce is the ultimate in functional automotive art. Engineered using the same super-alloys as in engines raced by the likes of Senna and Schumacher, these iconic halfscale “motors” come in V12 and V10 configurations and are limited to just 500 numbered units. Not only does the “motor” produce a rich Italian-style coffee (thanks to an oil-filter that doubles as a grappa reservoir), the Espresso Veloce also creates the ultimate caffe corretto! $15,000 per bespoke piece, www.espressoceloce.com
D&W Aural Pleasure Loudspeaker
The limited edition D&W Aural Pleasure loudspeaker from Hart Audio fuses the ancient craft of bell-founding with state of the art acoustic technology to deliver a lucidity of sound that is simply breathtaking. The special edition speakers are limited to 99 pairs available in bronze, five in sterling silver and one pair in solid 18 carat gold made using a private cast with the owners seal. Castings are made for Hart by a British foundry that specialises in casting fine art sculptures. Priced at $5,306,000 for 18 carat gold, $303,200 for fine silver $60,650 for bronze
The Highest Resolution on the Largest Screen
Samsung S9000 85 inch UHD TV is the largest screen in home entertainment viewing with the best picture quality available in ultra-HD resolution. With Samsung’s Precision Black Pro technology, the S9 delivers deep, real blacks as well as pure vivacious whites. It combines an extremely high contrast ratio and ultimate dimming control functionality – which utilizes hundreds of blocks of LEDs and precise BLU control – to deliver sharp resolutions previously unseen on large format displays. The S9 comes with 3-way 2.2 channels of 120 watt sound for an audio experience that is six times better than a typical TV. Available from Samsung stores in the UAE, $38,120
never sounded so good The new Quattroporte is lighter, longer and louder thanks to its Ferrari engine.
he all-new Maserati Quattroporte had a tough act to follow, but after test driving the newest model, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve found that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s longer and lighter, and its V6 twin turbo makes it not only the fastest four-door Maserati ever built, but also the most powerful and efficient. Buyers can choose from the 3.0-litre V6 and a 3.8-litre V8, both twin-turbocharged directioninjection units designed by Maserati Powertrain and assembled by Ferrari at Maranello. Both have an 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheeldrive, although the V6 is available with optional all-wheel-drive.
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While the original Quattroporte introduced in 1963 defined the luxury sports car segment for the first time, the new version introduced at its 50th anniversary is setting new benchmarks. The latest model’s styling was created in-house and carries the already-established family look with a classic, vertically slatted grille, luxuriously sculpted sides and a neatly tapered rear. But despite being over 17ft long it still drives like a car half its size, an impression that only increases the harder it’s pushed. It’s partly thanks to a liberal use of aluminum that makes the new car 90kg lighter than the old GTS, as well as a new multi-link suspension set-up at the rear that has been designed with aggressive driving in mind. To offset its scintillating performance, the V8 has lowered both its fuel consumption and emissions by 20 percent over the outgoing Quattroporte. The interior has clean aesthetics with quality attention to detail at its forefront. The all-leather seats have
traditionally styled ribbed inserts that are available in a variety of colours and even bespoke leather options. There’s a straightforward twin-dial fascia set-up straight ahead, with a small screen between the dials and a threespoke wheel that perfectly splits the difference between luxurious and sporty. Features like the Maserati Touch Control screen, adjustable pedals, reversing cameras and the optional 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins audio system, as well as WLAN-based WiFi compatibility with most modern mobile phone systems, means the Quattroporte can stand tall in the technology rankings. After announcing that they plan to triple their sales figures in the Middle East compared to last year and considering that a high number of the Quattroporte’s were pre-sold before delivery, Maserati are on track for the new model to become their biggest seller. Hot on the heels of the Quattroporte, is the new Ghibli, which will launch later this year followed by the Levant luxury SUV, with the former being described as a rebirth for Maserati.
Technical Specifications Price: $143,000 Engine: 3.8-litre, twin turbo V8 and 3.0-litre, twin turbo V6 engines Performance: 479lb ft (530lb ft overboost) at 2000-4000rpm Top speed: 191mph
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Vulcan 46 M Tri-Deck takes its first plunge urkish shipbuilder Vicem has made quite a stir with the launch of their 46-meter mega yacht. Priced at a cool $27 million, the Vulcan 46 M was sold on spec before completion. The mega yacht is designed to emphasize performance, thanks to the naval architect Frank Mulder, who crafted its light weight exterior ensuring it is faster than the industry standard. Vicem says the 460 ton mega yacht can achieve a top speed of 26 knots and enjoy a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 12 knots, thus creating an extremely versatile ship. Power comes courtesy of twin 3,650 hp MTU engines. The yacht is designed for entertaining large groups, with multiple indoor and outdoor lounges, a gourmet-worthy galley, and a dining area that seats 10. A sun deck sits atop the upper deck, providing unmatched views while at sea.
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The yacht’s interiors, from the saloon to the six staterooms are designed by Art-Line Interior Design, who blended richly coloured wood and light-toned fabrics for a striking contrast. Their construction techniques allow for complete customization, enabling customers to incorporate the use of dark and metallic colours. Natural lighting is ample throughout the yacht, thanks to the open atrium design with 45 feet of unbroken natural lighting.
The master suite runs the yacht’s entire 30’ beam and includes a jacuzzi, a private gym, and a CEO’s office.
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Hong Kongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hidden Gems Senior Editor Natasha Tourish takes us on a tour of the islands to reveal the lesser known sides of the city, from its lush green hiking trails and quiet beaches to some of the hottest dining spots.
hen you think of Hong Kong images of bustling crowds and soaring high rises, home to one of the world’s busiest financial centers, tend to come to mind. But venture just outside the city limits and you are struck by the real magic of Hong Kong— its natural greenery. From deserted beaches to the lush mountains that make up over 75% of the city, Hong Kong’s natural beauty is perhaps its greatest hidden gem. Although seven million people hustle along the streets of Hong Kong every day, most of Hong Kong geographically, at least isn’t crowded. The New Territories, spreading from Kowloon to the Chinese border, have plenty of towns scattered around them. But for the most part, they’re rural, hilly and green. This is why hiking is possibly the city’s most popular hidden activity. Tourism campaigns for Hong Kong rarely champion its hiking trails and yet 300 kilometers of designated trails, varying in length and difficulty, traverse the territory and many locals hike religiously. So to really experience Hong Kong, do what the locals do and shake off the city for a day and head to the islands. It would take a lifetime to explore all 236
islands in the region so GC has selected a few of the most stunning. No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without a trip to the largest of the islandsLantau, although it can be busy at times, its spectacular views of Tung Chung Bay, Lantau North Country Park, the South China Sea and its unspoiled beaches make it worth the hike or cable car ride up to the top, and of course there is the marvel of the 34ft tall bronze Buddhist statue that dominates the hills of Lantau and Po Lin Monastery. However, the real splendour lies on the less visited western tip in the fishing town of Tai O, dubbed the ‘Venice of Hong Kong’. Stilt houses line the waterway and are overshadowed only by Tung Chung’s ancient canons. The seafood
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world but a little known fact is that 75% of the land is green space.
competes with some of the best in Hong Kong and after lunch you can catch a boat to watch wild dolphins off the coast. For a more laidback vibe visit Lamma Island, it takes less than an hour by boat from Hong Kong. The island is small so the best way to get around is on foot or by hiring a bike as cars are prohibited. The main village of Yung Shue Wan, is one of the more popular weekend getaways for locals, thanks to its old style village charm and selection of seafood restaurants, they’re a far cry from their glitzy counterparts on Hong Kong Island, but its nice just to sit and eat on the water’s edge with an uninterrupted view of the South China Sea. Lamma is also home to a range of hiking trails, with options for both novice and expert hikers. The more adventurous can make the longer trek out to Sham Wan on the southern part of the island, which is a breeding ground for endangered Green turtles. Another mecca for seafood and hiking is the Sai Kung Peninsula in the New Territories. As you stroll along the promenade to the pristine beaches and look out from Sharp Peak over the Sai Kung East Country Park, the change in pace from Hong Kong is a million miles away.
The Hong Kong skyline seen in the distance from the southern district islands. 2013 May / June GC 61
in the city
The Mandarin Barber
One of the swankiest bars in the world in one of the swankiest hotels on the planet (a fleet of Rolls Royce’s are lined up outside the Hotel for VIP guests). Designed by the ubiquitous Philippe Starck it comprises a restaurant serving Pacific Rim cuisine, a balcony, a wine bar, an American Bar serving some of the best cocktails in town and, as the centerpiece, a weird and wonderful Perspex box that’s a dance floor known as the Crazy Box. Most spectacular of all though is the view. Felix’s is located on the top two floors of The Peninsula hotel and you get a panorama of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon in the neon jungle below. But most intriguing of all is the little boys room, where men can relieve themselves in a glass urinal with a view of the whole city below!
There is nothing more decadently masculine than a visit to a good old-fashioned barbershop. Inspired by 1930’s Shanghai chic with lots of dark wood, ironwork and panes of glass etched with images from traditional Chinese screens, The Mandarin Barber, located on the second floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel offers facials, massages, body waxing and acupuncture but the real reason to head here is for the famous Mandarin Shave. An hour-long straight razor shave complete with hot towels, essential oils and massage.
The City’s Quirkiest dining spot
We all know by now that cool restaurants these days have to be difficult to find and preferably hidden up a back alley somewhere—so Brickhouse, by this very definition, is the epitome of cool. There’s no reservations or no phone number for this Mexican hotspot so just show up and grab a Bloody Maria at the bar while you wait for your table. As you might expect, brick facades are a recurring theme here, and exposed ceilings and bare floors give the space a downto-earth and pretty convivial vibe. Every dish is drizzling with colour and served on equally colourful plates, try the Mexican-style street corn drenched in chili, cheese, mayo and lime; stone-ground chips dipped in fresh and vibrant salsas and a whopping tub of firm and flavourful guacamole — and this is just the starters.
Where to stay
The Mira Hotel
One of Hong Kong’s newest boutique hotels, the design savvy Mira has a Cantonese Michelin star restaurant and is located in one of the busiest shopping districts in the city. Cherry red and lime green Arne Jacobsen chairs punctuate the muted, technologically driven rooms. Guests are given a local mobile phone to use when they are outside of the hotel— just press one and you’re on the line with the hotel concierge. Mira’s spacious colour-coded suites have their own balconies with sunken hot tubes, separate dining area and bar and built in Bang & Olufsen speakers. 118 Nathan Road, Kowloon, +852-2368-1111
The Peninsula Hotel
Home to China Clipper — a swanky lounge that recalls the pioneering days of Asian flight, the Peninsula is a Hong Kong classic and has hosted Presidents and Prime Ministers alike. Don’t miss out on trying a glass of champagne and lunch at the hotel’s grand signature restaurant Gaddi’s or afternoon tea in the famously palatial lobby. Salisbury Road, Kowloon, +852-2920-2888.
The Langham Hotel
The Langham oozes elegance and class. It’s the city’s only hotel on the Leading Hotels of the World list, a remarkable feat considering the competition. The lobby exudes a classic Italian atmosphere, with chandeliers, marble flooring, a hand-painted dome ceiling, and statues that make guests feel like they’ve stepped into an art gallery. The recently renovated rooms have sunken bathtubs, leather paneled walls and old black and white photography adorning the walls. 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852-2375-1133
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little black book
Little Black Book Shanghai Few have revolutionised the culinary scene in Shanghai like David Laris. After making a name for himself at Terence Conran’s Mezzo in London, he moved to China’s largest city 10 years ago to open Laris, his eponymous high-end restaurant and bar. A flurry of concept establishments followed, each solidifying his reputation as one of Shanghai’s leading restaurateurs. The talented chef and businessman dishes on his favourite haunts in his newfound home city.
Consistent Cuisine “The restaurant I go back to bec ause the food is phenomenal and the views are grea t is Mr. and Mrs. Bund.” The French eatery overlooks the Huangpu River and diners should expect a lengthy wine list and a variety of Foie Gras.
Off the Beaten Path Avant-garde Art art critics in the most intelligent “Pearl Lam is one of must-see. a is ry lle and her ga this part of the world d up-and-coming enting fantastic an She’s always repres h contemporary are overwhelmed wit artists. In China we also about leading arl Lam’s Gallery is Chinese art but Pe international art.”
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“One of the most charming districts is the French Concession. There are tree-lined streets and you can wander around and dine alfresco.”
Crowd Warning “There are lots of tourist traps in Shanghai, like Yuyuan Garden. If you are into eating dumplings with hordes of people, the area around Yuyuan Garden is perfect.”
Bohemian Enclave For art lovers with a bit of wanderlust, Laris advises a visit to Red Town. Housed in a renovated factory, Red Town has restaurants, art galleries, bridal sho ps and even a flower market. “It’s got an eve r-evolving flow of all forms of art and you can wander around from one to the next.”
I love Kappo Yu. It’s a tiny little Japanese place– it maybe has 20 seats.
“For a drink with friends, El Coctel is ‘the’ place to go.” Located in the Xuhui district, El Coctel’s beverages adhere to traditional recipes, but the rigid mixology contrasts with the relaxed space. Expect plush leather couches, pink and red chairs and warm, amber lighting.
Foodie’s Secret Haven
Early Modern Boutique
“One of my restaurants I’m proud of is 12 Chairs— it’s a small private restaurant with one table, 12 seats and a regularly changing menu. As a chef, it’s a great playground, it allows me to do what I want to do. People fly in to Shanghai just to make an appointment to go.”
“If you are visiting and looking for some real Chinese memorabilia, not just touristy stuff, head to Madame Mao’s Dowry. It’s a fun boutique.” Early modern Chinese art, furniture and accessories are on offer, along with playful concept pieces that borrow from vintage and contemporary aesthetics.
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Coming face to face with the most powerful, ferocious or endangered species on the planet in their natural habitat can be altogether life changing. Discover GCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s picks for the intrepid traveller. By aysha majid
safari Maharaja Style Aman-i-Khas, India Hidden between the rugged Aravalli and Vindhya hills, Ranthambore National Park in palatial Rajasthan, India, is known for its population of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;friendlyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tigers. At Aman-i-Khas resort, canopied tents offer every modern comfort for travelers exploring Ranthambore. The ten air-conditioned, Mughal-inspired tents with vast canopies and simple drapes are swathed in natural hues of cream and khaki, and boast king-sized beds, sunken baths and separate showers. The traditional pool sports ancient step-well design and the spa offers scrubs, massages and traditional henna art utilising local herbs and spices. The tents surround an enchanting outdoor fireplace, boasting cushioned stone banquettes and breath-taking views. Guests have access to open-top 4x4s for exciting excursions exploring the majestic surroundings. Once a hunting ground for the local maharajas, the bush is a refuge for hundreds of species of birds, mammals and reptiles, including the spotted chital deer, nilgai, jungle cats, chinkara gazelle and sloth bear. The luscious bush is bordered by angry rocky ridges and at the center, perched atop a gargantuan mound of earth, lies the ruins of the 10th century Ranthambore Fort. Several ancient temples and mosques can be explored within the boundaries of the reserve, as well as romantic Rajput palaces, camouflaged by ravenous vines. From $1,025, www.amanresorts.com 66 GC May / June 2013
South Africa’s Big Five great fish river lodge This 54,000 acre, malaria-free, untarnished private wilderness is set in the heart of South Africa’s unspoiled Eastern Cape. Guests can experience the thrill of tracking big game, while private safaris and night drives produce rare sightings of bat-eared fox, porcupine and aardwolf. Set high along the verdant banks of Great Fish River,
designed to maximise the jaw-dropping vista of uninterrupted wilderness, Great Fish River Lodge is Kwandwe’s flagship property. Viewing decks and private balconies offer riveting sights of majestic kudu indulging in an afternoon drink and playful otters wallowing in the glistening waters below. A hue of calm and earthy tones, ostrich egg shells and animal skin, linens and plenty of texture preserve the harmonious mergence of sophisticated simplicity. Kwandwe goes that extra mile to cater to the luxury traveller, with private plunge pools and poolside butler service. Mouth-watering meals are served in the candlelit dining room, on private decks, or in the snug boma under a natural blanket of stars. From $670, www.kwandwe.com
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Rainforest Luxe Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil The only hotel set within Brazil’s Iguassu National Park, guests at Hotel das Cataratas need saunter just a couple of minutes to experience the monstrous Iguassu Falls and the lunar rainbow. The hotel’s eco-guide can arrange excursions along tree-hung trails and boat rides within just five meters of the Falls. Private cruises allow a glimpse of broad-snouted caimans and birds like the Amazon parrot and harpy eagle. Guests can also hop on a helicopter and enjoy an aerial view of the falls followed by a private picnic on the Isle do Sol. The tropical setting feels like a perpetual state of endless green with Hotel das Cataratas as a grand colonial haven— classic Portuguese style, with colourful tones and polished wood. A spa pampers guests with treatments that incorporate responsibly harvested ingredients directly from the rainforest. The fine dining Itaipu restaurant serves Brazilian international fusion and the Grill is where guests enjoy mouth-watering ‘gaucho’ style barbeques. From $570, www.hoteldascataratas.com
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sanctuary in the wild olonana camp, kenya Situated on a private stretch of the Mara River, the award winning Olonana Camp is one of only a handful of properties in Kenya to be Gold Eco-Rated for its sustainability. The annual Wildebeest Migration is practically on the camp’s doorstep and boisterous hippos colonise the banks below and can be observed from the tents’ private balconies or the dining veranda. Fascinating cultural visits, romantic bush dinners and scenic flights are just some of the breathtaking experiences on offer to visitors. Guests of the small but luxurious property can relax in the library, take a dip in the pool, or try out traditional African remedies in the mini spa. Sanctuary Retreats will also arrange travel to their Forest Camp— a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwest Uganda, sheltered in the dense Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This private eight-tent camp is one of the most remote in Africa and offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to track a gorilla family. Only eight guests per day are allowed to view each gorilla family and all are taught the etiquette involved in meeting a giant silverback. P.O.A., www.sanctuaryretreats.com
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Dubai’s New restaurants The restaurant scene in Dubai is growing at lightning speed. Discover a few of the most talked about new additions By nausheen noor
Café Habana Café Habana is the kind of place you’d imagine Ernest Hemingway would have frequented. He’d be tucked in a corner, smoking a cigar and penning his latest novel. Brick walls, vintage blue and white floor tiles, dark woods and the requisite painting of Che Guevara echo Cuba in the heyday of the 1950’s. The menu, a mix of Mexican and Cuban dishes, offers the same unfussy fare that popularized the original New York outpost. The grilled corn is a must— sweet corn on the cob slathered in mayonnaise, cotija cheese, lime and chili. The Cuban sandwich gets reimagined for the Middle Eastern market with corned beef and pickles. The dessert menu, with kitschy classics such as Bananas Foster, adds to the nostalgia factor. Cafe Habana- Souk Al Bahar, +971 4 422 2620
Prime 68 The minimalist, black and white interiors of Prime 68 allow for the true star to standout, the spectacular views of Dubai from the 68th floor of the JW Marriot Marquis. From this vantage, Sheikh Zayed Road appears as a pass of molten glitter, snaking its way through the city. The menu is primarily New American. Seared scallops arrive on the smoothest cauliflower puree, accented with beetroot and pomegranate rubies. Steak options include three choices of beef; USDA Prime, Argentinian, and Australian Wagyu. While the Wagyu wins any contest for texture, the Argentinian is a close second for flavor. The bread pudding is revelatory, as if bits of bread have been suspended in a silky crème brulee. Restaurant manager Mesrob Yergatian, formerly of New York’s Masa, provides the perfect balance of hospitality and will also create bespoke wine pairings for the meal. Prime 68- JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, +971 4 414 3000
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Aspen For fatigued shoppers looking to escape the chaos of the Mall of the Emirates, Aspen, the newly redone lobby lounge at the Kempinski provides the perfect setting to rest their Louboutin-clad heels. Blonde woods, taupe marble, and pops of sherbet orange and lime green create a bright and cheerful setting. The venue specialises in adding a ceremonial touch to the everyday. Elixia, a French artisanal sparkling lemonade, is served in champagne glasses with flecks of 24 carat gold leaf. A smoked tomato soup arrives encased in a glass dome, which is then lifted to allow the diner to experience the woody aroma. The in-house Tchaba boutique brings a perfumeries concept to tea. Recommended dishes are the Scottish mussels— plump and sweet and not too cream-laden. Or for a more substantial meal, the braised beef cheeks on saffron risotto. Aspen- Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, +971 4 341 0000
Wheeler’s Wheeler’s of St. James’ was once the oldest fish restaurant in London until Marco Pierre White took it over in 2010, giving it his signature contemporary English stamp. The restaurant once again gets a makeover with the opening of its Dubai location. The décor is English gentility meets Dubai opulence. Marble floors are inlaid with the Greek key symbol. Wavy crystal chandeliers hang from the exceptionally high ceilings. Tables are set with blindingly white, starched linens. Start with the beef carpaccio with hazelnut vinaigrette, or the crab and ginger salad— both light, refreshing, and laced with just the right amount of seasoning. The organic salmon with citrus glaze is surprisingly piquant and complex for a dish with a mundane title. End with the chocolate peanut butter brownie which tastes like the grown up version of a Snickers bar. Wheeler’s of St. James’- DIFC Gate Village 2, +971 4 386 0899
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Frequent flyers of your life When traveling is a large part ain a healthy you need strategies to maint uld your diet body and mind. Not only sho good health, it and lifestyle choices promote ysical and mental should also enhance your ph performance. By Ian Houghton
Here are some recommendations to stay engergised and fit while on the road. Ground rules When at home make sure you have established routines for eating, training and sleeping that can help your body better tolerate the stress of frequent traveling. A good idea is to have a professional health and fitness practitioner help assess your current condition, create a strategy and hold you accountable. If you start off on your journey fatigued then the impact of traveling and jet lag is only going to hit you harder. When preparing for a long haul flights in particular, try to start accommodating the time difference up to 48hrs prior to the trip by adjusting your sleeping patterns.
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Drop the night-cap Alcohol might bring comfort and an easy way to sleep, but the downside is bigger than most people think. While it may help you fall asleep initially, it will lower your sleep quality and most likely interrupt your sleep later on in the night due to dehydration. Even a moderate amount of alcohol can affect your health by significantly impacting your mental and physical well-being the next day. As an alternative evening routine, try to unwind with a hot bath, an enjoyable book and if needed a cup of green tea or glass of water.
Keep joint pain at bay When travel (and work) keep us in a seated position, the body starts accommodating by limiting our joints range of motion and making certain muscles short and tight and others long and weak. The key to maintaining healthy joints is to keep moving. “The World’s Greatest Stretch” is a movement sequence that will benefit those who spend a lot of time sitting.
making the right Food choices Think about the airport, the first class and business lounges, the flight and your final destination. If you like to eat during the flight, did you pre-book that healthy meal option? If you don’t think you can find a suitable food source, then prepare multiple snacks of nuts, seeds and even dried meats or a home cooked meal and bring them with you for your trip.
Do this sequence at different paces, starting slowly with a 5 second hold in each position and doing 3 sequences per leg. Then progress to holding for only 2 seconds in each position and increasing to 5 or 6 sequences per leg. Keep breathing throughout the movements and focus on the quality of your form before quantity.
When in doubt, fast If all else fails and you find yourself unprepared, don’t give in to temptation. ‘Fast’ until you reach your destination and can find a proper meal. However make sure you keep drinking water throughout your fast. There is considerable data that shows intermittent fasting, when done properly, might help extend life, regulate blood glucose, control blood lipids, manage body weight, and maintain lean mass. Studies also show that fasting between 14-24hrs while traveling can help reduce jet lag. But make sure to eat soon after landing, as close to the local mealtime as possible.
Ian Houghton is a Scandinavian Manual Therapist and founder of Scandinavian Health & Performance in Dubai. He is also a head teacher at the Academy for Personal Training in Norway and Sweden. For more information contact him at www.shpdubai.com.
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Vertu President Perry Oosting tells GC why the company offers more than just a phone. By Pia Aung
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f you have ever wondered what phone would be used by a secret agent, then it seems probable that they would be carrying a Vertu. The Android TI model is the most powerful Vertu handset to date. Well-crafted and stylish design form the aesthetics, but the secret weapon is the phone’s subscription to Silent Circle — a communications specialist that provides mobile encryptions and guarantees secure usage. Positioned and priced miles away from other mass-produced mobiles, Vertu is altogether a different and daring animal. As Perry Oosting proudly explains, “Each piece is handmade in Hampshire in the UK and carries the laser engraved signature of its maker. The brand is about a full sensory experience with unique never used before materials.” With a product that lures a ‘certain type’ of consumer, Vertu has similarly attracted the discerning cognoscenti as collaborators. ‘Blue’ was the name given to the phone that came about through a collaboration with Lapo Elkann— a member of the prestigious Italian Agnelli family. Only seventy-seven blue handsets were created; correlating to his birth date (the seventh of July) and inspired by the colour of his eyes.
Oosting talks of the experience of creating the ‘Blue’ Vertu handset and his subsequent friendship with Lapo, making it clear that he is someone who understands that world well. Just as he spearheads partnerships and collaborations with high society, industry and celebrities, Oosting effortlessly fits the company ethos of daring, different and innovative. You get the sense that there is something more to the substantial costs. Something beyond the phone’s luxurious materials— it’s the air of discretion and the privacy. The network and knowledge that Oosting is clearly privy to is available to the Vertu user at the touch of a button, connecting them to their own devoted concierge network. “That’s actually our strength, it’s the global solutions and the mixture between our team and third parties.” Vertu offers a global team whose sole motivation is to service the requests of users “from arranging immediate entrance to private members clubs, to organising an elaborate proposal.” As Oosting divulges in tales of opulent requests (nameless of course), one soon realises that it is the non-tangible aspects of this phone that would appeal to the customer, or any secret agent worth his salt.
Positioned and priced miles away from other mass-produced mobiles, Vertu is altogether a different and daring animal.
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Lifestyle Editor Aysha Majid sits down with Christian Louboutin to discuss his new daring concept.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;As part of the bespoke service, the client will choose from a selection of fabrications and a diverse colour palette.â&#x20AC;?
Outline and Shine, is a technique which uses a black and silver thread, whilst Colour introduces the use of dynamic colored thread. Colour and Relief utilises a variety of vibrant colours of thread as well as fine bead work.
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ine embroideries and a deep appreciation for artisanship are integral parts of Christian Louboutin’s designs and it seems only natural that the softly spoken 49-year-old Frenchman, with a cheeky twinkle in his eye and a penchant for independence and freedom of expression, would take this one step further. Known for pushing boundaries his new concept is all about creating the ultimate bespoke shoe. Not satisfied with simply incorporating customised styles, fabrics, embroidery and techniques, customers have the opportunity to include a little piece of themselves. “A tattoo is a souvenir and a map of a person. It speaks a lot and is a way people express themselves. In France you have a crest of your family that represents you. I think tattoos are a modern day crest.” Discussing limitations Louboutin switches from his charming demeanor (face morphing into a comical mask of disgust) and expresses his disdain for incorporating anything violent, brands or labels. “This is something I completely refuse to do.” Transposing softly he shares his desire to allow the customers’ own approach to personal modern armoury. “Instead of carrying someone else’s crest on a loafer why not carry your own.”
“Instead of carrying someone else’s crest on a loafer why not carry your own.”
Louboutin says he doesn’t have any tattoos himself. “I think it’s too late for me now! I always liked tattoos and went to get one with a school friend when I was around fifteen. But she was in such pain; when the guy said it was my turn I was like ‘er...’ I got traumatised very early on!”
“Customers have a choice of three embroidery techniques.”
Clients are invited to discuss their design and preferences during a private appointment with an in-house bespoke services expert, who will walk them through each step of the process. Choosing from a range of men’s styles from the sporty Louis sneaker to the elegant Henri loafer, as well as The Nigel— introduced exclusively for the service. The final proposal is then sent to the client from Paris to ensure the drawings are true to the vision. Requiring three months from the day of order, the shoes will have travelled through the expert hands of artisans in Italy and India before finally being received by their new owners. With “Bollywood in his DNA,” Louboutin says his love of India influenced a desire to incorporate the country into the production process. “India has really beautiful drawings and tattoos are very powerful pieces of art, very strong and very symptomatic of India. I’ve traveled there since I was a kid, so it’s been an inspiration for me for years.”
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Modern Vintage As the weather heats up GC brings you comfortable summer looks with a retro feel.
1: Sunglasses aviators, Salvatore Ferragamo, $406 2: Belt, Todâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, $223 3: Shoes, Todâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, $596 78 GC May / June 2013
Z Zegna Spring Summer 2013 catwalk
4: Bag, Burberry Prorsum, P.O.A. 5: Top stripy, Sandro, Mr Porter, $161
Experimental looks with a practical element
1: Sunglasses round, Maison Martin Margiela, Mr Porter, $494 2: Shorts, 12% Linen, Boutique 1, $184
3: Top, Missoni, Mr Porter, $367 4: Boots, Foot the Coacher and Grenson, Mr Porter, from $653
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Stealth TimePieces Timepieces that show off your masculinity
RJ-Romain Jerome unveils its first pilot’s watch: the Spacecraft. This 99 piece limited edition boasts an unusual trapeze-shaped face featuring a black PVD-coated titanium case. A black rotating disc with a red indicator transferred on the sapphire crystal indicates the minutes on the top of the case, while the linear hour display is read off laterally, thereby giving time a whole new dimension. Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, $33,400
The all black PVD finish of the Movado Datron creates a powerful tone on tone look. The tonneau-shaped case features two matching chronograph pushers. Protected by a curved antireflective sapphire crystal, the distinctive black lacquer dial is detailed by 3 black timing subdials, thin silvertoned hands and applied hour markers, water resistant up to 5 ATM. Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons $1,940
Hublot teamed with Morgan-a British maker of retro-styled sports cars to make this limited edition watch. It has a HUB44 SQ calibre automatic movement and a complex construction featuring titanium, tungsten, ceramic, kevlar, steel, and sapphire crystal. Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. P.O.A.
Distinguished ‘All Black’ sleek timepieces
Just launched at this year’s Basel, the Omega Speedmaster has been dubbed ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, due to its all black variant with black polished 44.24mm ceramic case. The dial is lit by 18K white gold applied indexes, while two blackened sub-counters almost melt with the dark backdrop. Dubai Omega stores, $10,790
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GEORGE CLOONEY’S CHOICE.
Available at: Dubai - OMEGA Boutiques: BurJuman • Deira City Centre Dubai Mall • Dubai Festival City • Mall of the Emirates Mirdif City Centre • Sahara Centre • Waﬁ and at select Rivoli Stores. Now available in Abu Dhabi. Toll Free: 800-RIVOLI