It is impressive how quickly Dubai has developed from a small fishing village into the tourist hub it is today. Only 50 years ago, Dubai had few prospects; however, it was fortunate to have a forward-thinking visionary leadership who deliberately laid the foundations of modern-day Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid owns almost 100% of Dubai’s holdings. He is a major owner of companies with retail, business, tourist, and residential properties in Dubai. The interests are not restricted to Dubai and spread into the broader United Arab Emirates, Western Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the United Kingdom.
Through the visionary leadership of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his son, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Dubai grew from what started as a small fishing village into the global metropolis it currently is. Today, it is a world-renowned tourist destination of choice.
Dubai’s Ownership Explained
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum owns 99.67% of Dubai Holdings.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid is claimed to be worth $14 billion, which has been earned primarily through his interest in Dubai Holdings.
Dubai Holdings is the majority shareholder of the following companies.
- The Jumeirah Group
- Dubai Properties
- TECOM Group
- The Arab Media Group
- Dubai International Capital
- The Dubai Group
- Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company
- Wild Wadi Waterpark
- The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management
Each of these companies has significant interests in both Dubai and other countries.
The Jumeirah Group
The Jumeirah Group holds a significant property portfolio which includes.
- Fourteen hotels or residential accommodation properties in Dubai, including the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel.
- Five hotels or resorts in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.
- Five hotels in Asia.
- Four hotels in London and Europe.
The Dubai Properties
Dubai Properties own twenty-one exclusive properties, including.
- Dubai Wharf, the 53-floor Vision Properties office tower in Dubai.
- The 12 skyscraper tower residential and an office park in Dubai.
- The 1.7- kilometer-long ground and plaza level of the Jumeirah Beach Residence, which the Jumeirah Group owns.
The TECOM Group develops and implements software solutions for the broadcasting and telecom industries.
Dubai Holding Entertainment
The group also held television assets; however, after the 2007 financial crisis, these were merged into the Dubai state broadcaster Dubai Media Incorporated.
Dubai International Capital
Dubai International Capital operated as an investment company that invested in private and public equity, secondary buy-outs, and acquisitions. The company was acquired by Dubai Holding Investment in April 2019.
Dubai International Capital was the investment arm of Dubai Holdings, which focused mainly on private equity deals situated in the Middle East and Western European.
The Company held equity in many large companies, such as these household names:
- Doncasters Group Ltd. – The Doncasters Group is British precision engineering firm.
- Travelodge – Travelodge is the fastest expanding hotel chain in Europe.
- Fastentech – Fastentech is a manufacturer of industrial machinery, and was later acquired by the Doncasters Group.
- Jordan Dubai Capital – was a buyout fund that targeted manufacturing, industrials, restaurants, hotels, leisure, and commercial product sectors in the UAE and Jordan. It was later acquired by the Hong Kong-based HPF Private Investment Fund.
- Ishraq Hospitality – An investment company in the budget hotel sector, which was owned by Dubai International Capital and acquired by the Dubai-based Almulla Group in 2011.
- MENA Infrastructure Fund – invests in the Middle East and North Africa infrastructural and energy sectors.
- Rivoli Group – A luxury goods retailer.
- KEF Holdings – A foundry in the oil and gas sector.
- Mercedes-Benz Group – The Company holds a 2% stake in the Mercedes Manufacturer.
Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company
The Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company rebranded as “du” in February 2007 and is the largest cell phone service provider in the UAE. The company also offers UAE residents, businesses, and tourists fixed line, internet, and digital television services.
The Dubai Group
The Dubai Group is a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, and holds investments in three banking, investment, and insurance companies. These are:
- Dubai Investment Group.
- Dubai Banking Group.
- Noor Investment Group.
Amongst others, the companies have ownership in the following entities.
- Dubai Bank: 100%
- Dubai Tadawul: 100%
- Bank Of Islam: 40%
- BankIslami Pakistan: 18.75%
- ACR Re-Takaful Holdings Limited: 40% (the largest Islamic Reinsurance Company)
Wild Wadi Waterpark
Wild Wadi Water Park is a family-themed water park entertainment site with over 30 rides and attractions.
The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management
The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management is a hospitality management university situated in Dubai. It is a the first institution in the Middle East to offer an internationally-recognized degree in hospitality leadership to students from over 50 countries around the world.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Owns A Large Part Of Dubai
In 1833 the Al Bu Falasah tribe members broke away from the area ruled by Sheikh Tahnun bin Shakhbut of Abu Dhabi.
There were two leaders of the new movement.
- Obeid bin Saeed.
- Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum.
These two leaders shared the role until the death of Obeid bin Saeed in 1836.
It left Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum as the sole leader and the foundation of the period referred to as the Maktoum dynasty.
Since that date, there has been an unbroken chain of eight Maktoum heirs who have ruled Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Maktoum was born in 1949 at Shindagha, near Dubai Creek.
He studied English at Cambridge university in 1965, after which he attended a six-month training course at the British Army’s Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, Hampshire.
In 1968, as the son of Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum, he attended the united unification meetings.
When the United Arab Emirates was first imagined and brought into existence, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was named the countries minister of defense.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is considered to be the driving force behind Dubai’s move to not rely on oil revenues.
It has created Dubai as a world-renowned tourist destination, tax-free zone, and world-class city (in which the world’s highest building, the Burj Khalifa, is situated.
Through the Sheikh’s 99.67% of Dubai Holdings, he could legitimately be named as the person who owns Dubai.
How Wealthy Is Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid?
Considering that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid is Dubai’s major “shareholder,” his wealth is remarkably small compared to other billionaires and royal families.
His wealth is estimated (In 2023) at $14 billion (US), placing him at number seven on the list of fourteen Royal families worldwide.
The worth of $14 billion means he does not qualify in Bloomberg’s One Hundred wealthiest people globally.
A large part of his wealth is shared with the Dubai citizenry, not through gifts, social care programs, or handouts but through creating opportunities. At $77,182, Dubai has the seventh-highest per capita Gross Domestic Product.
While Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid has a considerable holding in Dubai, he is a benevolent ruler. He has turned Dubai into one of the world’s richest countries (per capita income).
It is not true that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid “owns” Dubai, but he certainly has a massive personal interest in the city and the broader UAE. As the leader of Dubai, he profoundly influences all aspects of Dubai.