Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Replacement of Dubai

On a radio business talk show, a question was asked on which city will replace Dubai. Would it be Doha or Abu Dhabi? The answer was very diplomatic, but then I don't have to be diplomatic.

The short answer is not in a million years.

What about all that oil money? Precisely because of the oil wealth Dubai will not be replaced. What every one forgets, Dubai is not towers and malls or amusement parks. Dubai is an idea, a vision and a life style that became a reality not only with money but with the hard work and innovation of Emaraties and expatriates alike, who bought in the vision and dream.

Other cities will copy the parts of Dubai which are money related. They may have higher towers or bigger malls. What they will not have is the dream and the vision that produced the life style and quality of life that is cherished and makes Dubai what it is now, irreplaceable.


  1. The word replacement implies vanishing, and termination. I guess the question on the Radio was either mean or innocently stated. The right one should have been on which city would compete with Dubai. The undiplomatic answer shall be the same simply "None".
    I do not like to sound as a hypocrite, but honestly I visited Dubai only several times in my life, yet each visit added something of a memorable change and advancement.
    Keep on the good work,,,

  2. Speaking as a visitor to Dubai several times. It always gives me something different each and everytime that I go there. Dubai is a vision that has become a reality. How could it be replaced? Dubai isn't even finished yet. It is still growing and developing. I don't see any replacement for this wonderful place.

  3. This is a debatable subject Ossama. There is no dout that Dubai is a vision, though one that may have fallen in the hands of the wrong people. For it to maintain its status and continue to be an inspiration to those who live here, Dubai needs to reassert the same values that made it what it is. These values did not include the greed of some speculators who were allowed to flourish, hence my belief is that there needs to be government intervention to regulate the market, so that everyone finds benefit in living here, and more important, give what they can to make it happen.

  4. Ziad, replacement in this case referred to its position as a financial, social center

  5. Abdulkadir, Dubai is not a Utopia and was never intended to be one. Greed is there wherever there are human beings, and it is as bad in Dubai as in Doha, Abu Dhabi or anywhere else for that matter. Just look at runaway rents in Abu Dhabi and Doha a few years back. However, Dubai has shown resilience and the political will to fix problems and increase transparency, a prime example the number of high level Emaraties and expatriates that have been fired or taken to court for alleged violations of the law. The UAE government has addressed several laws that will improve the business environment in the country but Dubai went the extra mile to modify local laws and regulations.

  6. For a social center I think Dubai will remain the irreplaceable melting pot.

    As a financial center however...that is to be seen. Dubai government has about $50 billion of shortterm debt to refinance in the coming three years and you can't just expect Abu Dhabi to take over all liabilities.

    Not really the best example for a financial center. I think Abu Dhabi shows more prudence as a long term financial center than Dubai.

    Dubai should keep its main focus on tourism and its vision. Another overreach could be a real problem...

  7. Dear Anonymous, if debt was a criteria NYC or London will not be financial centers. The local regulations, financial and industrial infra structure are way advanced in Dubai than Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is struggling with setting up free zones and is too slow in reacting to the need to change local regulations to meet the needs of financial and industrial stakeholders mainly due to its wealth.

  8. They may try to duplicate the skyscrapers, the malls and 1001 crazy insane ideas Dubai has come up with.

    They won't ever replicate the vision and the spirit that is the essence of Dubai. Never.

    It's an undefinable sense of optimism and grandeur mixed in with just a tiny hint of skepticism and a ton of hope that every new day is a new challenge, and another chance to shrug off the previous day's disappointments.

    Yay Dubai!

    And no, I don't work for BrandDubai :)



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