Mohamed Alabbar

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Mohamed Ali Alabbar
Mohamed Ali Alabbar
Mohamed Alabbar – Chairman of Emaar Properties
Born (1956-11-08) November 8, 1956 (age 63)
Other namesMohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar
OccupationFounder and Chairman of Emaar Properties
Known forEmaar Properties

Mohamed Alabbar (Arabic: محمد بن علي العبار‎), (born November 8, 1956) is an Emirati businessman and global entrepreneur. He is best known as the founder and chairman of Emaar Properties, the developer of assets such as the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall, as well as the chairman of Eagle Hills, the Abu Dhabi based private investment and real estate development company. He is also the founder and director of, an e-commerce ecosystem for the Arab world and largest GCC e-commerce company and the chairman of Americana Group, in food industries.

Emaar Properties is one of the largest real estate development companies in the world with annual revenue of US$6.99 billion in 2018 and a market cap of over US$9.7 billion, known for developing the world's tallest building Burj Khalifa, the world's largest and most visited mall The Dubai Mall, which are part of Emaar's 500-acre flagship mega-development Downtown Dubai, as well as Dubai Creek Tower at the heart of the Dubai Creek Harbour masterplan, the 2,000-seat Dubai Opera, Dubai Marina, Emirates Hills, regarded as "the Beverly Hills of Dubai" and King Abdullah Economic City, established with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as one of the largest private developments in the region spanning 64 square miles.[1][2] Alabbar, who acts as a top adviser to the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, formerly served as the founding director general of the Dubai Department of Economic Development.[3][4][5] is a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and Mohamed Alabbar. noon’s consumer platform first went live in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 12 December 2017 and has operations in KSA, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Primarily a digital e-commerce platform.

Early life and education[edit]

Mohamed Alabbar was born in Dubai and is the eldest of 12 children.[6] Alabbar's father was the captain of a traditional trading vessel known as a dhow and raised his children in the Rashidiya area of Dubai.[6] In the 1970s, Alabbar received a government scholarship to study finance and business administration from The Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University.[6] Alabbar graduated from Seattle University in 1981 with a degree in Business Administration.[7] He also received an honorary doctoral degree in humanities from his alma mater in 2007 and served on its Board of Trustees until 2016.[8][9]


After college, Alabbar started off his career with the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates as a banking manager.[6] Later, Alabbar relocated to Singapore and began working for the Dubai government as the director of Al Khaleej Investments, a government-owned company in Dubai with significant real estate interests in Singapore.

In 1992, Alabbar returned to Dubai and began working for the government as the founding director general of the Department of Economic Development (DED).[6][10] Alabbar's career led him to establish a close relationship with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, where he later became one of Sheikh Mohammed's chief economic advisers.[11][12] Alabbar worked with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to drive the development and growth of both Dubai's tourism industry and global reputation.[10][13] In 1996, Alabbar initiated and organized the Dubai Shopping Festival which attracted over two million visitors for an entertainment and shopping event highlighted by street bazaars, fashion shows, food festivals, folklore and more.[14] That same year, Alabbar was selected by Advertising Age as one of their International Marketing Superstars of the year.[7][15]

Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup 23 March 2013

Investments and ventures[edit]

Alabbar founded,[16] an e-commerce marketplace in the Middle East, now the largest GCC e-commerce company, operational in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, operating through three fulfillment centers and 30 distribution centers. Alabbar has raised $1 billion from investors, half of which was committed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, to spearhead what will be a string of major digital and e-commerce launches in the UAE. He met with Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of, in Dubai in November 2016.[17] In March 2017, it was announced that would acquire Dubai-based e-commerce company, following which Alabbar immediately submitted a competing $800 million bid via his Emaar Malls subsidiary. However culminated a deal with due to an exclusivity agreement signed prior to Alabbar's bid.[18]

Alabbar is Chairman of Abu Dhabi-based Eagle Hills Properties [19] a private investment and real estate development company, responsible for projects including the Belgrade Waterfront, the St. Regis and W hotels in Amman, Jordan, and the Fairmont La Marina Rabat-Sale in Morocco.[20]

In July 2016, he also led two investor groups in buying a combined 16.45% stake in Dubai-based courier Aramex for approximately $250 million.[21][22][23] Alabbar was a lead investor in Boson Ventures Corporation, which purchased the entire 9.9 percent share that Aramex founder Fadi Ghandour held in the company. He was also a lead investor in Jaona Investment, which acquired a 6.55 percent stake in Aramex.[22][23] The stake was worth around AED523 million [22] as per closing price, on July 25, 2016. Analysts said access to the package distribution company could help Alabbar build an online business.

Alabbar, through Alabbar Enterprises,[24] holds 4 per cent stake in online fashion retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter Group (YNAP). This followed his equity investment of US$113 million in the Milan-listed company in April 2016.[21] Under the deal, Alabbar holds 3,571,428 ordinary shares, and has committed to an 18-month lock-up period on the subscribed shares. Yoox Net-A-Porter said Alabbar ‘would be key in developing its Middle Eastern e-commerce business.’

Alabbar formed a joint venture with Yoox Net-a-Porter Group (YNAP) in November 2016, via his Symphony Investments vehicle, that will operate in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with the possibility of future expansion into other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Alabbar owns 40% of the joint venture and YNAP 60%. The venture will manage YNAP's multi-brand online stores in the GCC including Net-a-Porter, Mr. Porter, Yoox, and the Outnet. A Dubai-based entity will feature local sales, marketing, customer care, a PR team, a new regional distribution center, and the development of a localized offering including Arabic-language customer care and content, as well as local currency and payment methods.[25]

Additionally, Alabbar leads Adeptio AD Investments, which purchased Americana Group in June 2016. It owns the Middle East franchises for fast food chains KFC and Pizza Hut, from its majority stockholder for US$2.36 billion in June 2016.[26] A group led by Alabbar agreed to buy a majority stake in Kuwait Food Co (Americana) from the Kharafis, a wealthy Kuwaiti merchant family, for about $2.4 billion (Dh8.44 billion).[27] Under a legally binding agreement with Al Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate, controlled by the Kharafis, all of Al Khair's Americana shares will be bought at 2.650 dinars each.

In 2005, Alabbar partnered with Giorgio Armani to establish Armani/Hotels, with locations in Milan and Dubai. He has hosted several iterations of the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience in partnership with Vogue Italia and attended by such luminaries as Franca Sozzani, Christian Louboutin, Peter Dundas, Carla Bruni, Lapo Elkann, and Naomi Campbell.[2][28]

Alabbar founded and remains a major shareholder in RSH Limited, the Singapore-based fashion retailer with 700 stores across Asia and the Middle East that distributes brands including Adidas, Vans, Lacoste, Mango, Reebok, Zara, Ted Baker, The Kooples, Sandro, and Tommy Hilfiger.[29][30]

His family business Alabbar Enterprises operates several international franchise and home grown brands in the UAE and The Dubai Mall including Two Cafe, GIA, Markette, Angelina, Social House, Ethan Allen, Yogurtland, Oscar de la Renta, and Roland Mouret.[31]

He has been included in numerous lists such as the 10 most influential people in the United Arab Emirates, the top 5 UAE business leaders, and the 100 most powerful Arabs.[32][33][34]

Various positions[edit]

Alabbar made a secret visit to Israel in 2005 where he met with Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.[35]

Alabbar spearheads several business entities in the UAE and in overseas markets. Apart from being the founder and chairman of Emaar Properties, he is the founder and chairman of Africa Middle East Resources (AMER), a private company that works to unlock the value of natural resource opportunities in Africa and link them with large consumer markets in Asia.[36]

He is the founder and major shareholder of RSH, the leading Singapore-based pan-Asian marketer, distributor and retailer of international fashion and lifestyle brands.[36] Alabbar also sits on the board of Noor Investment Group, an affiliate of Dubai Group, the leading diversified financial company of Dubai Holding.[37] In March 2015, Capital City Partners, a real estate investment fund led by Alabbar, announced plans to build a new capital in Egypt.[38] Also in 2015, Alabbar, who sits on the board of Eagle Hills, announced plans to develop the largest mall in the Balkans in Belgrade.[39]

Alabbar is a champion of e-commerce and digital revolution in the Arab world, reminding a packed house at the Majlis of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, that “the internet is the future of trade, where websites now enjoy far more margins than traditional companies.” [40]

Emaar Properties[edit]

Emaar Properties, one of the world's largest property developers, was founded by Alabbar in 1997.[2][41] As chairman of Emaar, Alabbar has assisted in the development of Dubai's real estate sector. Alabbar leads Emaar's growth strategy of global expansion and business segmentation into property development, hospitality & leisure, and shopping malls. Emaar has developed some of Dubai's most notable landmarks, such as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and the Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping mall.[2][41]

Alabbar took the company public in 1997 and in 2000, Emaar was listed on the Dubai Financial Market.[15] By 2004, Alabbar was expanding the company to foreign markets with the establishment of Emaar International LLC.[41] The company has ongoing projects in Africa, Asia, North America, and throughout the Middle East.[42] In 2005, Alabbar facilitated a partnership with Giorgio Armani and established Emaar Hotels & Resorts LLC in an exclusive deal to launch a collection of luxury hotels in the designer brand's name.[2][28] Following the opening of The Dubai Mall in 2008, Burj Khalifa was inaugurated two years later in 2010.[41]

Alabbar continues to expand the company, and in 2014, Emaar listed its shopping malls & retail business, Emaar Malls Group on the Dubai Financial Market with one of the largest IPOs in the region.[42][43]

In April 2016, Alabbar announced the launch of a new icon for Dubai, ‘The Dubai Creek Tower’ worth $1 billion in Dubai Creek Harbour, a 6 km2 development by Emaar Properties, only 10 minutes from the Dubai International Airport.[44] Alabbar said the new observation tower would be ‘a notch’ taller than the Burj Khalifa and is due to open in 2020. Designed by Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, the tower would also be linked to a new mega retail district.[44]

Alabbar has also created several corporate social responsibility initiatives and supports various local organisations such as Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs.[45] Focused on the need to promote affordable and low-cost housing, under Alabbar, Emaar Properties undertook the reconstruction of the earthquake-ravaged village of Ngelepen in Indonesia.[46] He also initiated a social housing project in Egypt, The Beyout residential project for the economically underprivileged, which was handed over to the Supreme Council of Luxor Governorate.[47] In 2014, Gulf Business recognized Alabbar with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with Emaar and the development of iconic buildings and communities in the UAE and other countries.[48]

Board memberships[edit]

Alabbar has served as a member of the Dubai Executive Council and the Dubai Economic Council.[49] As vice chairman of Dubai Aluminum Company (DUBAL), Alabbar has contributed to the growth of the country's non-oil sector.[49] He also served as vice chairman of Dubai World Trade Center and chairman of Dubai Cable Company.[49]

Alabbar is the chairman of Tradewinds Corporation, a premier leisure and hospitality owner-operator in Malaysia, focused on developing world-class real estate developments in the country and in Southeast Asia.[50] He also chairs Eagle Hills, a UAE-based real estate development company focused on large-scale projects in high-growth international markets. He serves on the board of Emaar Malls (DFM: EMAARMALLS)[51] , the developer of The Dubai Mall, and Manara Developments in Bahrain.

Alabbar chairs several companies including Emaar, The Economic City, the developer of King Abdullah Economic City, the largest private sector development in the Middle East; Emaar MGF Land (India) and Emaar Properties Gayrimenkul Gelistrime (Turkey) S.A.

Alabbar has served as Director on the Board of the Emirates Stock Exchange Authority, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and National Bank of Dubai (now EmiratesNBD). He was Chairman of Amlak Finance Company (2000 to 2007) and headed the Dubai Quality Board, and served as Director of Gulf International Investment Group, and Chairman of UM Land in Malaysia and Smelter Asia.

North Korea[edit]

In September 2007, Alabbar became the first person to complete a trip on a private jet to Pyongyang, North Korea, flying in from Seoul, South Korea, and flying out the next day to the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian. Alabbar's jet followed a Pyongyang-approved route: It first flew along the edge of a triangular zone skirting the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, then headed westward, out to sea, before turning northward and eastward to Pyongyang. The speculation is that the purpose of Alabbar's trip was to explore investment opportunities in the isolated communist country as part of a broadening interest in emerging markets by Emaar. While there, Alabbar was understood to have visited a new World Peace Center, and the Botongkang Hotel, both affiliates of Tongil Group, the business investment arm of South Korea's Unification Church.[52]

Egyptian new capital venture[edit]

Alabbar serves as the Founding Partner of Capital City Partners (CPC), a private real estate investment and development firm. In March 2015, CPC, alongside the Egyptian government led by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, announced plans for a $300 billion proposed new capital of Egypt to be as large as Singapore and located east of Cairo. The announcement for the fund was made at the Egypt Economic Development Conference held in Sharm El Sheikh. However, as of June 2015, negotiations had stalled and it was reported that the Egyptian government cancelled a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CPC.[53][54]

Personal life[edit]

Mohamed Alabbar competes in the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup 2013

Alabbar participates in several athletic pastimes and hobbies such as golf and endurance racing. Alabbar has served as chairman of the UAE Golf Association, and in 2007, he was recognized by Golf World Magazine as one of the world's ten most powerful golfing personalities.[55] Alabbar is also an active member of the UAE's endurance horse racing community.[56]

Mohamed Alabbar taking part in Emirates Challenge 5th Jan 2013, Wathba

Alabbar's son Rashid Alabbar's wedding was in April 2017. Wedding guests included the President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Founder and Chairman of Emirates, Chairman of Dubai World, and President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Ajman, Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, and the Crown Prince of Ajman, Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the Ruler of Umm Al-Quwain, Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, and the Crown Prince of Umm Al-Quwain, Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, the Ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, and the Crown Prince of Ras al-Khaimah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation and the Ruler of Dubai's son, Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport, Bahrain, and the King of Bahrain's son, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.[57]

See also[edit]


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