Dubai may only be small (3,302,664 residents at the last count), but it has an almost unfair number of citizens with a ten-figure fortune. According to the latest roundup, a fair share of the richest people in the world call the city their home- not surprising really, given that Dubai is the second most expensive city in the region and the 20th most expensive in the world. Here, we take a look at the top ten richest people in Dubai and discover the secrets to their wealth.
10. Saif Al Ghurair – Net worth: $1.7 Billion
As the 412th richest person in the world, Saif Al Ghurair heads up the Al Ghurair Group, one of the largest real estate and manufacturing companies in the UAE. His $1.7 billion net worth can also be attributed to his significant investments in Mashreq, the oldest privately held bank in the UAE.
9. Hussain Sajwani – Net worth: $2.1 Billion
In 2002, Hussain Sajwani founded the real estate development company DAMAC Properties. It’s since grown into one of the leading companies in the sector, having orchestrated the development of multiple large scale, luxury properties and projects across both Europe and the UAE. In 2018, Sujwani, who currently serves as chair of the group, was honored with the title of Real Estate Legend at the Arabian Business Real Estate Awards, as well as the Real Estate Business Leader of the Year at the Gulf Business Awards. He currently places #962 overall on the list of the world’s richest people.
8. Abdulla Futtaim – Net worth: $2.5 Billion
Emirati billionaire Abdulla Futtaim earned his billions as the owner of Al-Futtaim Group, a large conglomerate that operates across the automotive, electronics, insurance, services, real estate, and retail sectors. In addition to holding the franchise right to IKEA stores in UAE, Qatar, Egypt, and Oman, the company is also the exclusive distributor of several major car brands, including Toyota, Lexus, and Hino in the UAE.
7. Sunny Varkey – Net worth: $2.6 Billion
As the head of GEMS Education (which, with 250 schools worldwide, is the biggest operator of K-12 schools in the world), Indian born billionaire Sunny Varkey is ranked by Forbes as the 962nd richest person in the world. Thanks to his achievements in the educational sector, Varkey has been honored with numerous awards over the years, including Outstanding Asian Businessman of the Year (2007), Middle East Excellence CEO of the Year (2012) and Education Business Leader of the Year (2012).
6. B.R. Shetty – Net Worth: $2.6 Billion
Another Indian born Dubai billionaire to make our list is B.R. Shetty, a man who can thank his $2.6 billion net worth on his position at the head of a health care and financial services empire that includes the like of BR Life, NMC Healthcare, and holding company Finabir under its banner. In 2018, Shetty showed of his philanthropic credentials when he signed the Given Pledge, an effort that encourages the world’s richest to donate half of their wealth to charitable courses within their lifetime.
5. Micky Jagtiani – Net worth: $3.1 Billion
Micky Jagtiani has well and truly put his early career as a London taxi driver behind him: since relocating to the UAE in 1973, Jagtiani’s fortunes have changed dramatically. After spending 10 years running a baby product shop in Bahrain, Jagtiani decided to expand operations by adding a further 6 shops to his name. After the start of the Gulf War, he made the decision to relocate to Dubai, founding a new corporation, the Landmark Group, in the process. Since then, the company has grown exponentially, with interests in everything from fashion, electronics, and furniture to budget hotels. With a net worth of $3.1B, Jagtiani is ranked by Forbes as the 478th richest person in the world, and the 5th richest in Dubai.
4. M.A Yusuff Ali – Net worth: $3.7 Billion
The UAE based Indian billionaire M.A Yusuff Ali achieved his wealth as the head of LuLu Group International, an Indian multinational that operates a chain of retail companies across the UAE. Under Ali’s leadership, the company has increased its operations extensively over the past few years, and now has interests in retail, food processing, and logistics. in addition to his business activities, Ali is a noted philanthropist, having invested heavily in India and contributed $2.6 million to recovery efforts when his home state of Kerala was hit by floods in 2018.
3. Ravi Pillai – Net worth: $4.2 Billion
Ravi Pillar’s wealth can be traced to his decision to abandon his native India for the United Arab Emirates after his Kerala based construction business was forced to close down after labor strikes. With the help of a local partner, he began a small trading business; within two years, he’d expanded into construction under his new enterprise, Nasser S. Al Hajri Corporation (NSH), a company that would eventually form the foundation of the billion-dollar conglomerate, RP Group. As of 2019, Pillai ranks as #529 richest person in the world and 3rd richest in Dubai.
2. Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair – Net worth: $4.9 Billion
In 1967, Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair founded Mashreqbank, which has since grown into one of the leading banks in the United Arab Emirates. In addition to drawing a healthy salary in his position as the chairman of the bank (his son, Abdul Aziz, currently holds the position of CEO), Abdulla Al Ghurair’s billions also come from his eponymous holding company, a mammoth organization with interests in everything from real estate and construction to food.
1. Majid Al Futtaim – Net worth: $6.1 Billion
With a net worth estimated by Forbes to be $6.1 billion, Majid Al Futtaim ranks as the richest person in Dubai. His wealth originates from Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF), a retail and entertainment conglomerate which, since its inception in 1992, has grown into one of the largest companies in the UAE, operating more than 120 stores across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia region, and owning exclusive rights to operate franchises of Abercrombie & Fitch, AllSaints, Lululemon Athletica, and Carrefour. According to Forbes, the company generated $8.8 billion in revenues and $600 million in profits in 2017, making it easy to see how Al Futtaim acquired his billionaire status.