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BusinessWeek Issue 2009 12 14

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DECEMBER 14, 2009 I BUSINESSWEEK.COM

THE BATTLE INSIDE GM CAN AOL BE SAVED?

DUBAI
WHY IT’S NO MIRAGE

IN DEPTH

037

SIDDHARTH SIVA/ARABIAN EYE

Beneath all the glitz, though, Dubai has become a place
where serious business gets done. While the city-state has just
1.6 million residents and a gross domestic product of $80 billion, it is the business gateway for a region with a $1 trillion
economy, millions of eager young consumers, and hundreds
of billions of petrodollars to invest. Microsoft, General Electric, Cisco Systems, and a host of other A-list multinationals
have flocked to Dubai because of its open culture, top-notch
infrastructure, and hassle-free business climate.
And virtually every leading investment bank is present
in the Dubai International Financial Center, a lavish graygranite complex with ornate fountains built on what was a
desolate patch of sand just a few years ago. A big draw is the
emerging market for Islamic financial services, which has
become a $1 trillion business globally. “Dubai will continue
to lay the foundations for sustainable growth,” says Michael
Geoghegan, group chief executive of HSBC, the leading lender in the United Arab Emirates with $611 million in loans out
to Dubai World. “I am confident that Dubai and the U.A.E.
will overcome any short-term
issues they face.”
SAUDI ARABIA
Dubai’s home-grown comHas become a world leader in
panies have made their mark,
petrochemicals via joint ventures
too. At the core of debt-plagued
with Shell and ExxonMobil.
Dubai World is a first-class ports
Expanding into plastics, steel, and
operation, and the company has
auto parts. Has opened up investment banking in an effort to attract
vast real estate holdings and a
foreign capital and aims to build a
host of other businesses that span
half-dozen new cities with sprawlthe globe. Emirates, the airline
ing industrial parks and housing
founded by the ruling Maktoum
for hundreds of thousands of
family in 1985 with $10 million in
workers.
capital, is now among the world’s

top 10 carriers and a major customer for
both Airbus and Boeing. And Dubai-based
Abraaj Capital, an independent group
owned by local and Saudi investors, has
grown into the leading private equity firm
investing in the region.
Dubai’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed
in the neighborhood, and nearby states
are following its lead. Gas-rich Qatar is
promoting its own financial center. Abu
Dhabi has announced an $8 billion financial-services joint venture with GE. And
it’s working hard...
DECEMBER 14, 2009 I BUSINESSWEEK.COM
DUBAI
WHY IT’S NO MIRAGE
THE BATTLE INSIDE GM CAN AOL BE SAVED?
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