Dubai Inc. – Aired December 2007

Dubai is like no other place on earth. A city of new-found power and brash energy, where construction sites fill the air with the dust of opportunity and skyscrapers pierce the sky like exclamation points, it is a physical manifestation of what Arabs can do when given the chance to excel. A place so rich and ambitious it is redefining a new Arabia. Truly, a Middle Eastern success story.

Need a connection to the world? Then start an airline from scratch. This is exactly what Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum did with the award-winning airline, Emirates.

Sheikh Ahmed’s brother was Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the former Ruler of Dubai. In 1959 Sheikh Rashid borrowed millions of dollars from his oil-rich neighbor, Kuwait, to develop a narrow creek that snaked along a sleepy fishing village. Flash-forward to almost 50 years later.

Acting a chief-executive officer of Dubai Inc. is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. At 57 years old, he is one of the richest people in the world. We ask his uncle, Sheikh Ahmed, how efficiently Sheikh Mohammed runs Dubai Inc.

Acting a chief-executive officer of Dubai Inc. is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. At 57 years old, he is one of the richest people in the world. We ask his uncle, Sheikh Ahmed, how efficiently Sheikh Mohammed runs Dubai Inc.

Wall Street of Arabia. The Hong Kong of the Gulf. The City of Gold. However you want to call it, there is a Dubai for every businessman and every culture.

The United Arab Emirates sits on the north-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The capital, Abu Dhabi, occupies over 80% of the country, and dwarfs Dubai both in size and in oil wealth. But when it comes to sheer ambition and self-promotion, Dubai takes the cake.

Osman Sultan is the CEO of Du. For years, the telecommunications sector was controlled by the national provider, Etisalat. The arrival of DU has shaken things up a bit, adding a sense of edginess to an extremely profitable sector. What is the secret to the company’s success?

They say the sun never sets on Dubai Inc. But like any big corporation, it is not without its own share of problems. In 2005, Dubai Ports World lost the deal to run six U.S. ports due to allegations of terrorist financing through the UAE. The leaders of Dubai are too busy doing business with current partners and forging new ones anyway. Dubai Ports World is now the third largest port operator in the world.

What Dubai lacks in oil wealth, it makes up for in manufacturing expertise and trade genius.

Dubai is one big construction site. To say that the city is experiencing a real-estate boom would be an understatement. With projected yields between ten and fifteen percent, buying property in Dubai is a fantastic investment.

The property bubble is growing exponentially. But is it also growing too fast?

Skyscrapers straight out of the future. A love of kitsch. And an apparent lack of buildings over ten years old. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Dubai is still struggling to find an architectural style to call its own.

Brian Johnson designed many of the emirate’s architectural icons, including the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.

Where once was only sea and desert, icons of vision and imagination have risen. Here are some property developments that have been making news all over the world.

Jumeirah Islands is a waterfront community in the heart of the desert, located in Dubai’s most prestigious district.

Burj Dubai will be the tallest tower in the world.

The man-made Palm Island Trilogy have helped solve Dubai’s beach shortage by doubling its existing coastline. Dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world,” it has changed the city’s geography.

With The World, Developer Nakheel has succeeded in putting Dubai on the map, and putting the map of the world on Dubai. An island paradise of sea, sand and sky.

Dubai is building the largest theme-park in the world, Dubailand, so large its area is bigger than the city itself.

Just a decade ago, Dubai would not even be considered by many as a place to go on a holiday. How times have changed! Maybe it’s the year-round sunshine and beautiful beaches, or its unending love affair with shopping? Or maybe it’s the Jumeirah Group’s mastery of luxury tourism?

Dubai has over 100 business hotels offering high standards of service and luxury.

Sheikh Mohammed always surrounds himself with the world’s sharpest minds. Paul Griffiths ran London’s Gatwick Airport and has been recently appointed in 2007 as the CEO of Dubai Airports. What can he bring to the table?

There is more to Dubai than doing business. Asia Business Channel counts down the top five things to do when the stress of city living starts to creep in.

From traditional souks to air-conditioned megamalls, max out your credit card in this tax-free paradise.

Dubai’s exotic desert provides the backdrop to some of the most spectacular greens in the Gulf, with top-notch golf courses by some of the world’s best designers.

If your idea of a good time is slapping on some sunscreen and lazing in your speedos, then there is a Dubai beach for you.

The best way to view the Creek is through these seemingly rickety boats that have been shuttling residents and traders across for decades.

Dubai’s deserts can be breathtakingly beautiful and there is a lot of fun to be had in the rolling dunes. Clearly the best way to spend a weekend in Dubai.

As the rest of the Arab world struggles to cope with modernization and Western political and economic dominance, Dubai represents a rags-to-riches success story and a celebration of wealth. Dubai is, without a doubt, the world capital of living large, where the air practically sizzles with an unmistakable mix of excess and opportunity. This is the most exciting city in the world. Welcome to tomorrow’s Arabia, today.