The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East, sometimes called a "Gulf Tiger." Dubai, the country's largest and most populated city, is the region's cultural and business hub. Perhaps more than any other Arab city, Dubai is a destination for the rich and famous, and many leading families have been in place for decades.
According to a Wealth-X and UBS report, Dubai is home to more than 30 billionaires — by far the most of any Middle Eastern city. But a more recent and comprehensive list from Forbes only lists seven Dubai residents in the world's billionaire club as of 2018. Here are four of the richest people living in Dubai.
Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair
Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair's net worth was listed at $5.9 billion by Forbes and ranked at 296th-richest person in the world. Abdulla was born into a successful business family, but nearly all of his wealth came after he founded Mashreqbank in 1967. It is the leading bank in the UAE. Although his son, Abdul Aziz, is the bank's CEO, Al Ghurair is still the company's chairman.
The Al Ghurair family fortune is controlled by a holding company called The Al Ghurair Group. The group also owns food, retail and construction companies. In the 1990s, it split into two distinct operational entities. The company's food operations claim to have the Middle East's largest pasta factory, which is sold under the Jenan name. Al Ghurair's construction company helped build the Dubai metro and clad the exterior of the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa.
In June 2015, Abdulla Al Ghurair donated approximately one-third of his assets to a new charity, the Al Ghurair Foundation for Education. According to Abdulla, the group will "invest in innovative high-impact programs that improve the quality of education at the primary and secondary levels." The goal is to provide 15,000 scholarships to Emirati students.
His brother, Saif Al Ghurair, is also listed as a billionaire. His net worth is reportedly $1.9 billion.
Majid Al Futtaim
Owner and operator of the Majid Al Futtaim Holding Group since its founding in 1992, Majid Al Futtaim is the brother of fellow Dubai billionaire Abdulla Al Futtaim. His business interests include shopping mall management, retail trade, and entertainment and leisure. His net worth was estimated at $4.6 billion.
The Majid Futtaim Holding Group, which was estimated to have $8 billion in revenues in 2016, specifically targets consumers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As of 2018, the MENA arm of the group's operations includes 12 hotels, 21 shopping malls, and three mixed-use community centers. His group owns and operates Dubai's Mall of the Emirates and Cairo's Mall of Egypt.
With an estimated net worth of $4.1 billion, Hussain Sajwani ranks as Dubai's third richest billionaire. Sajwani founded Damac Properties, a Dubai-based luxury real estate developer, in 2002. He is currently the company's chairman.
Before shifting to real estate, Sajwani began his career in food services, where he catered to the U.S. military and large construction companies. After the country made it easier for foreigners to own real estate in Dubai, Sajwani moved to real estate. Damac Properties partnered with Donald Trump in 2013 and developed two Trump golf courses in Dubai.
According to Forbes, Sajwani is known for his lavish marketing gimmicks. He has been known to give free luxury cars to some of his real estate clients when they buy property.
Abdulla Al Futtaim
Businessman and investor Abdulla Al Futtaim is the owner and operator of the Al Futtaim Group, which is a managing force behind many of the world's most famous brands. The Al Futtaim Group became the prime distributor of Toyota in the Emirates in 1955. The company now has 30% of the area's market share. The group also has a license to operate brands like Toys "R" Us, Ikea, Hertz and Zara in the UAE.
Day-to-day activities of the group are handled by his son, Omar, although the Abdulla remains a guiding presence.
Abdulla's conglomerate has been successful in several different industries in the UAE and surrounding regions. Successful industries include electronics, engineering, insurance, retail, services, real estate, and property development.
Forbes estimated Abdulla Al Futtaim's net worth at $3.3 billion as of 2018.