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Once a small trading and pearl diving village on the Arabian Gulf, Dubai today is a global city with a population of 2.13 million and a reputation that spans the globe. A sought after destination for tourists, shoppers and business people alike, from China to Brazil, Dubai offers a warm welcome to visitors and residents alike. Dubai’s renewed economic growth is underpinned by the strength of its core competencies in business services, trade, logistics, transportation, banking and finance, retail, hospitality and leisure. Growth was 4.4% in 2012 and is set to nearly touch 5% in 2013, powered by the buoyancy of UAE and regional economic activity. As Dubai makes its bid to host the 2020 World Expo, this city shows it’s already a winning global player. Reprinted in English from the Dubai Section that appeared in the 24 August, 2013 issue of M Magazine du Monde

Connecting Minds, Creating the Future Dubai, a city with a heart of opportunities


or generations, Dubai has welcomed people from around the world who were looking for a place to make connections and do business. As well, the city has continually worked to provide an environment that supported and enabled the success of these businesses. The success of these strategies are clear, reflected in Dubai’s nearly uninterrupted growth trajectory for decades. Whether originally from Dubai and or from countries near or far, individuals, families and companies large and small all have found significant trading and other business opportunities in the city. SUCCESS IS LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL Examples include Emirati family firms such as Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and regional firms such as the Chalhoub Group, which moved their headquarters to Dubai from elsewhere in the region. It includes large homegrown companies such as Nakheel, which has found Dubai the ideal location for its luxury, manmade Palm Jumeirah mixed-use island district. Dubai’s world-renowned travel and logistics infrastructure and its worldclass Emirates Airlines and Dubai Airports have supported the astounding success of Dubai Duty Free, which has flourished here to become one of the world’s largest duty free operators with annual sales set to exceed US$1.8 billion in 2013. In countless significant ways, Dubai is a regional and global leader. It is home to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest human-built structure, and it has INDEX s$UBAI#HAMBEROF#OMMERCE AND)NDUSTRY H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General s$UBAI$UTY&REE Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman s#HALHOUB'ROUP Patrick Chalhoub, Joint Chief Executive Officer s!HMED3EDDIQI3ONS Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Vice Chairman s.AKHEEL

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Burj Khalifa situated in Downtown Dubai

the world’s second largest number of global retail brands. It has an advanced transportation and logistics infrastructure that includes the fully automated and spotlessly clean Dubai Metro, and Jebel Ali Port, one of the world’s ten largest container terminals. It’s continues to expand its wildly successful tourism and hospitality sector. GDP GROWTH NEAR 5% Dubai also leads in the development of free trade zones, dozens of which are buzzing across sectors ranging from media, technology and financial services to commodities, sustainable technologies and healthcare. As a global city, Dubai was impacted by the 2008 financial crisis; however, the city has seen renewed growth for several years. The Dubai economy expanded by 4.4% in real terms during 2012, according to the Dubai Statistics Centre, and for 2013, the Dubai Chamber is expecting growth to be in the same 4% to 5% range. The key sectors of tourism, trade, logistics and finance are driving this growth, according to the Chamber.

The city continues to effectively leverage its location at the crossroads of East and West, and North and South, more than doubling its population between 2000 and 2012, to 2.13 million. This robust rate is expected to continue, with a 2012 report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecasting that Dubai’s working population alone would increase by nearly 1 million by 2020. Complementing the physical infrastructure are legal and regulatory systems that have engendered trust and a strong willingness by local and international entrepreneurs, investors and companies to put capital to work in the Emirate. As a result, Dubai is the fifth most accessible city in the world for enabling trade, according to the World Bank, while the UAE more broadly was ranked first in the region, and fourth in the world, in the IMF’s “Ease of Doing Business Index.” For decades, Dubai has provided opportunities; it’s in a strong position to continuing to deliver new opportunities to individuals and companies for generations to come.

Dubai’s renewed economic growth is underpinned by the strength of its core competencies in business services, trade, logistics, transportation, banking and finance, retail, hospitality and leisure.

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Dubai Chamber

Global Business Hub

Dubai Embraces the World


he engaging and dynamic city of Dubai is a crossroads of East and West, North and South, past and future, and work and play. The city has achieved so much: the world’s second largest number of global retail brands, a futuristic driverless Metro system, a wildly successful tourism and hospitality sector, and dozens of buzzing free trade zones. Crucially, though, it also has a sustained ability to create an environment that nurtures and enables people from across the globe to find their success. Even as Dubai more than doubled its population between 2000 and 2012 to reach 2.13 million, it has established itself as the fifth most accessible city in the world for enabling trade, according to the World Bank, while the UAE was ranked first in the region and fourth in the world in the IMF’s “Ease of Doing Business Index”. So it is little surprise that Dubai is praised for excellent infrastructure in trade, logistics, finance and tourism, as well as for its stable, safe and comfortable living. That’s why it was particularly interesting to hear Hamad Buamim, Director General of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, talk about what has helped drive Dubai’s success over the decades. “What I can instantly think of are Dubai’s cultural diversity and its public-private sector partnership,” says Buamim, who, as head of the 48-yearold, 145,000-member Chamber, quite literally has his finger on the pulse of Dubai’s development. While the city’s diversity and cosmopolitan nature often are cited as a key enabler, the city’s embrace of public-private partnership is less often credited.

Dubai Creek with the Chamber of Commerce building on the right

H.E. Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP “Our private-public partnership and collaboration, which are the founding principles of the UAE, will help us turn our ambitions into reality. In 2012 over 10 million tourists visited Dubai. This has been done with public- and private-sector partnership,” he says. Tourism, along with trade, logistics and finance are the key engines of growth in the diversified and fully recovered Dubai economy, which grew by 4.4% in real terms during 2012, according to the Dubai Statistics Centre. Looking ahead, Buamim says 2013 growth will be in the same 4% to 5% range. What is helping energize these sectors, he adds, is “public- and privatesector partnership, which has contributed to their heightened performance over the years.” He also cites retail and real estate as “playing important roles as support sectors” for the emirate’s sustained growth. Only London has more international retail brands than Dubai, according to CBRE’s 2013 edition of “How Global is the Business of Retail?”The report says Dubai is the primary entry point for retailers into the Middle East, and one of the top five global destinations for brands to set up new shops.

COMMERCIAL LINKS WITH 220 COUNTRIES Not only are global retailers coming to Dubai, but Dubai also is bringing trade to the world.“Dubai is actively engaged around the world trading with more than 220 countries and territories,”Buamim says. The Chamber is working to further build on this success, he says, in part through a plan to open 20 representative offices around the world. It already has offices in Baku, Azerbaijan and Addis Ababa, and soon will open an office in Irbil, Iraq. It is no surprise then that Buamim thinks Dubai, one of four candidate cities to host the World Expo 2020, would be an ideal host.“Enjoying its reputation as one of the most connected cities in the world, an East-meets-West destination and a gateway to the entire Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region, as well as global emerging markets in the Commonwealth of Independent States and Latin America, Dubai is ready to bring the world to this important event.” With more than 200 nationalities living and working in Dubai, Buamim says the emirate “can very well handle the diverse global community that will converge on the city … as the emirate will welcome everyone with open arms, never to be the same again after hosting the Expo on its soil.”

Our private-public partnership and collaboration, which are the founding principles of the UAE, will help us turn our ambitions into reality.



Dubai Duty Free

Travel and Tourism

Where the World Comes to Shop


ast year, Dubai Duty Free sold 73 million pieces of merchandise to many of the 57.7 million travelers passing through Dubai International Airport, for total sales of US$1.6 billion. With the first five months 2013 revenues up 13% on the same period last year, DDF expects to top US$1.8 billion in sales for the year. Looking ahead, annual turnover could touch $3 billion by 2018. To keep its 26,000 square feet of retail space stocked, DDF sends 70 truckloads of merchandise to the airport every day. Managing this flow of goods has required increasing automation at the company’s 27,000-square-meter warehouse from 70% to 90%. OWNING THE RETAIL EXPERIENCE Since its launch in 1983, average annual sales at DDF have grown by more than 17%, compared to average annual passenger growth of 10.3%. There are many reasons for this, says Colm McLoughlin, DDF’s Executive Vice Chairman, including good cooperation with the airport to ensure preferential location for retail space, excellent value, and superior customer service from motivated and skilled employees. As McLoughlin proudly states, 45 of the first 100 employees are still with DDF, while 213 staff have been with the company more than 20 years. Another important part of the retailer’s success is a relatively unique operating model implemented by DDF and Dubai Airports that has only one duty free retailer at the airport. By contrast, the prevalent model today is for airport operators to bid out each type of service – cosmetics, liquor & tobacco, fashion, etc. – to a different provider. This means “maybe 30 different

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, presenting the trophy to Petra Kvitova, winner of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 2013

Dubai Duty Free Shopping Complex in Concourse A

employers in one airport, with different rates of pay and different working conditions,” McLoughlin says. Even when DDF runs branded promotions or operates luxury store-within-store concepts (as it is for Ferragamo, Hermes, Chanel and Gucci), where sales personnel wear branded livery rather than DDF’s distinctive teal jackets, all staff are DDF employees. The result, McLoughlin says, is that DDF controls the entire retail experience for all passengers across the airport.

might seem counterintuitive. This includes DDF’s embrace of e-commerce. It’s investing $1 million to develop an online shopping website where passengers flying through Dubai International Airport will be able to browse, order and pay for goods online, then pick them up at the airport. As a result, they will have more time to relax at the airport to get work done, have a meal, or maybe even do more shopping.

PROMOTING DUBAI Operate at this scale also gives DDF the resources to pursue its mandate to promote Dubai around the world. Every year, it spend 2.5% of top-line revenue on advertising, promotions and sponsorships, including top international golf, tennis and horseracing events seen around the world. DDF operates in an exciting city, whose dynamic aviation sector now links Dubai with more than 260 destination via more than 145 airlines at an airport that expects to increase passenger capacity and traffic from an expected 65.4 million in 2013 to 98 million by 2020. DDF contributes to this growth with constant innovation that extends to ideas that, on first blush,

DDF operates in an exciting city, whose dynamic aviation sector now links Dubai with more than 260 destination via more than 145 airlines.



Global Business Hub


Chalhoub Group

Global Business Hub

A History of Passion and Entrepreneurism for Luxury in the Middle East


atrick Chalhoub is speaking in an elegantly appointed reception room at the company’s bright and modern headquarters in Dubai.You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in his living room, given the comfortable seating and beautiful works of art adorning walls, tables and credenzas. A welcoming host, Chalhoub displays his passion and intimate knowledge of the Middle East’s luxury beauty, fashion and gifts segment as he sketches out the opportunities. In the region, the sector is worth US$8 billion and is growing by double digits, a trend sustained since 2002 in spite of 2 years of slowdown in 2009 and 2010, and a level now on par with China. Of this regional spend, 60 percent is happening in Dubai. “The Middle East market is extremely dynamic, thanks both to oil and nonoil development in the Middle East and particularly the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]. Fifty percent of the GCC population is under 30, and they represent the real wealth and the source of initiative and development with very high disposable incomes. Teens spend on beauty and fashion six times more than their peers in Europe.” What’s more, he says, shopping is a top leisure activity for both GCC citizens and the region’s many expatriate residents. 1955, DAMASCUS, CHRISTOFLE Founded in 1955 by the couple, Michel and Widad Chalhoub who opened a Christofle boutique in Damascus, Syria,

Ladies area of the level Shoe District at Dubai Mall

Patrick Chalhoub, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Chalhoub Group

today the company is led by their two sons who work with Christofle, as well as Lanvin, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Celine, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Saks Fifth Avenue, among others. Chalhoub credits the company’s success to “the respect, excellence and entrepreneurial spirit in our DNA, and the passion and commitment of our 9,000 team members, which are focused on specific brands and geographies throughout the Middle East, thereby putting us in a particular position of expertise and knowledge.” The Chalhoub Group, which operates over 600 retail outlets and has a 20-45 percent share of the region’s luxury market, depending on segment and country, operates a number of own-brand retail concepts, as well as stores for dozens of global brands. INNOVATING IN AN EVOLVING MARKET PLACE Its most innovative include level Shoe District, a vibrant hub for shoe lovers, 9,000-square-meter store in Dubai Mall with 40 shop-in-shops, 250 brands (including 60 not found anywhere else in the region), a cobbler, a Vogue café, a

foot spa,VIP rooms and shoe stylist. Another is Katakeet, a children’s wear store conceived around stotytelling, the store is developed to ensure a unique cherishing retail experience for both parents and children. Chalhoub says these concepts reflect how customers today “want the depth of a mono-brand store but also the width and the selection of a multi-brand store, even as shopping has evolved to become a real pleasure, a pleasant experience and is not only about going out to buy a specific product.” DUBAI LIVES THE EXPO EXPERIENCE A concept such as level Shoe District is only possible, Chalhoub says, because Dubai provides the Vibrancy, traffic and cosmopolitan customer base to support it. This is part of what makes Dubai an ideal host city for the World Expo 2020, he says.“It’s such an obvious continuation of what Dubai already is, with 200 nationalities living and working together, with a diversity of origins, Believes Background and Culture; Dubai is a living portrait of a city connecting minds and definitely turned to the Future, what an international expo is all about.”

Dubai is a living portrait of a city connecting minds and definitely turned to the Future, what an international expo is all about.

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Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons

Global Business Hub

Like Dubai, It Is High Quality, Fast Growing and A Benchmark


bdul Hamied Seddiqi, vice chairman of luxury watch and jewelry purveyors Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, wears two watches, one on each wrist. Why? “Why not,” he replies.“We are in this business.” This sentiment reflects the ‘can do’ character of Dubai that has helped the Emirate establish itself as a global tourism, trade, logistics, finance and business center. It’s also why Seddiqi is convinced that this bustling city of 2.2 million, with its modern infrastructure, air links and it central location, is the ideal candidate to host the World Expo 2020. This family business has enjoyed a success on the same trajectory as the Emirate – and indeed the broader United Arab Emirates (UAE) – in which the company was established more than 60 years ago. “Like Dubai and its leaders, we are open to the world and ready to adapt to the constant and dramatic changes that are shaping our future. As such, we adapted quickly to the rapid growth and fundamental transformation of Dubai,” says Seddiqi, a well-travelled businessman who, like his brother and Chairman of the company, Abdulmagied Ahmed Seddiqi , is fluent in Arabic, French and English. “We have uncompromisingly embraced the Dubai vision and we have benefited fully from its success. As much as Dubai has changed, so has our company,”he adds, noting that the business has doubled in size in just five years.

Mohammed Seddiqi, Thierry Stern and Hind Seddiqi at the opening of the Patek Philippe boutique in The Dubai Mall

The first Dubai Edition watch for ladies from Hublot

“Dubai became in less than a decade a success story and a window to the world. The emirate of Dubai is now firmly established on the world map and so are Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. Both share the same strategy and objectives,” he says. For example, just as Dubai has made great strides in building its brand internationally, so too has Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons -- even though it currently has no shops outside the UAE. “We aim at being a reference, a benchmark in our luxury retail industry and a destination with a reputation for service excellence that goes beyond the UAE and reaches out to our target customers before they actually travel to Dubai.” ‘UNIQUE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE’ As Dubai and the wider UAE continue to grow, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons

is keeping pace, expanding its business within the country, without losing sight of its fundamental business ethic. “Excellence in customer service, a unique customer shopping experience and being more and more customer centric is and will remain at the core of what we do. We invest a lot of effort, time and resources in our human assets. Our aim is to develop talents and capabilities in sync with our determination to be an employer of choice and a benchmark model in our retail industry, while at the same time remaining in step with the requirements of the highest standards of the international brands we represent,” Seddiqi says. Currently there are 52 Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons boutiques in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the northern Emirates, across the UAE’s famed shopping

Excellence in customer service, a unique customer shopping experience and being more and more customer centric is and will remain the center of everything we do. 8


Global Business Hub malls and other shopping districts. The firm represents no less than 60 brands, some so exclusive that their names are known only to the few that can afford the price tag. Patek Phillipe, Van Cleef and Arpels, Tag Heuer, Piaget, Hublot, Hermes, Chopard, Baume & Mercier and Chanel are among the top brands that the company represents. Rolex was among one of the company’s first few franchise partnerships, an alliance that continues today, and even has expanded beyond watches into real estate. The Rolex Tower carries this luxury name and is one of several exclusive real estate projects that Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons has developed. Seddiqi points out that the firm’s success is not just about selling a luxury brand; it also is the after-sales service and the attention to detail. “Excellence in customer service, a unique customer shopping experience and being more and more customer centric is and will remain the center of everything we do.” In a sign of the scale of opportunities that the company believes are still

The Panerai Burj Khalifa Dubai Edition

Richard Mille and Abdul Hamied Seddiqi with the polo teams at the first Seddiqi Polo Challenge

to be realized in the UAE – even as the company has expanded rapidly over the past years – the firm recently used acquisition, rather than organic growth, to increase scale. “This is a significant step, as it now positions Ahmed Siddiqi & Sons as the national leader in luxury watches and jewelry,” he says, adding that the retailer is considering expanding its operations elsewhere in the UAE and perhaps into other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Dubai became in less than a decade a success story and a window to the world. The emirate of Dubai is now firmly established on the world map and so are Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.

Nevertheless, “our focus is still on the UAE, where we are yet to grab the full potential of the market in a fierce and challenging environment,” he adds. One example of the everchanging opportunities and changes in the UAE market, Seddiqi says, is the influx of visitors from new geographies such as China and Russia. ‘INFRASTRUCTURE READY’ The company is an enthusiastic supporter of Dubai’s bid to host the World Expo 2020. Having previously launched its Dubai Edition line of exclusive timepieces developed in partnership with reputed luxury brands, the company is not ruling out a special design for Expo 2020. On the Dubai bid, Seddiqi says, “There is no better possible choice than Dubai to host the Expo 2020. We are at the crossroads of West, East and Africa, reaching a population of more than two billion people within a three-hour flight radius,” he explains. “Our airline, Emirates, is the fastestgrowing airline in the world and can easily accommodate the increased demand and air traffic that the 2020 expo will generate,” he says. “We also have the infrastructure ready, including public transport, roads, airports and hotels, while more than 200 different nationalities live in Dubai in a very safe, respectful and harmonious environment. “Actually the Expo 2020 theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, is only an extension of what Dubai has been doing for the past 25 years with great success,” says Seddiqi, “and that is why there is no doubt that there is no better place to host the World Expo 2020.”

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Travel and Tourism

A Demonstration of Dubai’s Astonishing Vision Realized


round the world, Palm Jumeirah has become a symbol of Dubai’s incredible energy, growth, and ambition. This engineering wonder, created by Nakheel, is one of the world’s largest man-made islands, stretching five km into the Arabian Gulf in the shape of a date palm – the national plant of the United Arab Emirates. The scale of the project and the complexity of the engineering behind it are astounding. In all, 120 million cubic meters of sand and seven million tons of rock were used to build Palm Jumeirah. That’s enough material to create a wall – half a metre wide and taller than the average man – that would circle the globe three times. CULTIVATING A UNIQUE, UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE The phrase ’Palm Jumeirah’ conjures up visions of exclusivity, but the unique experience of living on or visiting Palm Jumeirah is cultivated by what has been built on the island itself. . There are elegant villas, each located on its own white-sand beachfront along the island’s palm fronds; there are luxury apartment buildings boasting stunning sea views along the island’s trunk, and there are numerous five-star resorts spread along the arching crescent beyond the fronds that fronts the open sea and provides a protective shield for The Palm. Some of Palm Jumeirah’s most notable resorts include Atlantis The Palm, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, One & Only and Rixos The Palm. Featuring cafes, restaurants, and a host of convenience retail stores and

The worldfamous landmark of Palm Jumeirah is Nakheel’s flagship development

A glittering firework display lights up Nakheel’s Palm Jumeirah

service providers,, Palm Jumeirah also boasts the Middle East’s first monorail and a 1.1-million-square-foot public park – the UAE’s first indigenous park – featuring more than 60 varieties of trees, plants and shrubs found in the UAE. The Nakheel Mall and Hotel, scheduled to open in 2016, will further enhance the island’s unique lifestyle. A ‘TREE’ THAT CONTINUES TO GROW Palm Jumeirah’s land reclamation began in 2001, and, just over five years later, the first residents moved into the 4,000 villas and apartments completed in the first phase of development. To date, Nakheel has delivered 1,400 villas and 6,100 apartments on The Palm, which now has a population of around 25,000 people. The island, located just off the Dubai coast and connected to the mainland by a road bridge, continues to see new development and to draw investors. In 2012, master developer Nakheel sold a 28,400-square-meter plot on The Palm’s trunk for AED 400 million, a 14,400-square-meter plot for AED 202 million and a large villa plot for AED 104.4 million. Nakheel itself is developing The Pointe, a 136,000-square-meter retail

and entertainment destination opposite Atlantis at the tip of the trunk, opposite Atlantis, as well as a number of new residential, retail leisure projects on the island. NAKHEEL, THE MASTER DEVELOPER Nakheel is one of the world’s largest real estate developers and a key player in realizing Dubai’s vision to create a worldclass destination for living, business and tourism. Nakheel is developing an innovative portfolio of landmark projects – including iconic projects such as Palm Jumeirah and The World that help to define how the world sees the dynamic, forward-thinking city of Dubai. Palm Jumeirah is a shining example of Dubai’s ability to deliver of astonishing projects, bringing them to life in a way that is highly attractive to residents and visitors from across the globe. The island continues to be one of the most sought after residential districts in Dubai, while its growing number of hotels and resorts continue to enjoying high occupancy levels and deliver an exceptional experience. Palm Jumeirah powerfully demonstrates Dubai’s unique strengths and highlights why the city is ideally suited to host the World Expo 2020.

Palm Jumeirah powerfully demonstrates Dubai’s unique strengths and highlights why the city is ideally suited to host the World Expo 2020. 10


It is time to achieve. Ibrahim Ahmed Seddiqi, the late Chairman joined the company in 1950 and soon signed the first franchise agreement with the iconic Swiss watch brand Rolex. Along side his father, he played a major role in expanding the brand portfolio for the family business.


Global Business Hub


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