UAE billionaire behind Dubai Mall once had cake shop, clothing store that failed

The Emaar Founder talks about his successes and failures in a video on social media

by

Waheed Abbas

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Published: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 6:24 PM

Last updated: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 10:55 PM

Did you know that the founder of Emaar properties, Mohamed Ali Alabbar, had a clothing store and cake shop before he got the chance to build Dubai Mall?

In a video uploaded on social media the Dubai-based billionaire spoke of how he experienced success and failure in his business life.

“Honestly, I had too many starting points, some of them worked well while others didn’t. I opened a clothing store, and a cake shop, but they didn’t do well. But I took them as experiences to learn from. Then God blessed me with this opportunity,” Alabbar said while talking about the iconic Dubai Mall in a video shared on his social media platform.

The man is now credited with creating some of the world’s most renowned projects such as the tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, and Dubai Mall.

Emaar Properties' footsteps can be witnessed across Dubai with world-class projects and communities such as Dubai Hills, Arabian Ranches, Downtown, Creek Harbour, The Oasis, Emaar South, Dubai Marina and others.

Alabbar also took the opportunity to speak of plans to expand one of the world's largest malls. “We are planning to renew Dubai Mall, expand it, and change it,” he said.

“We must take care of this mall, as one takes care of a small child,” Alabbar said in the video.

In December, it was revealed that Salik, the toll gate operator, would take charge of managing parking at Dubai Mall. The facility will now operate on a paid basis, featuring a barrier-free system. This is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2024, and the parking charges will be determined after Emaar Malls finalises the business rules for this project.

In the summer of 2023, the iconic mall changed its name after the word “The” was dropped and was rechristened “Dubai Mall”.

In September, Chinatown was officially unveiled, with week-long cultural events. Located on the first floor opposite the Dubai Ice Rink with direct access to Address Fountain Views, the new destination offers an authentic Asian experience.

Dubai Mall’s last major expansion was in 2019, when it was connected with the Zabeel extension through a 200-metre-long bridge. Opening of Lulu hypermarket in Zabeel was part of the 2023 expansion.

According to Emaar Malls, more than 80 per cent of its retail revenues are generated by the iconic Dubai Mall, which houses more than 1,200 outlets. The mall boasts a high footfall and occupancy level, reaching 99 per cent in 2022. Emaar Malls’ properties recorded 137 million footfall in 2022, with Dubai Mall usually recording over 100 million every year.

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Dubai Mall expansion

Alabbar was talking to an elderly Emirati lady while touring the iconic Dubai Mall, one of the largest and most visited malls in the world.

He revealed that Dubai Mall, which was developed by Emaar Properties, will be further expanded.

“We are planning to renew Dubai Mall, expand it, and change it. We must care of this mall, as one takes care of a small child,” Alabbar said in the video.

In December, it was revealed that parking at Dubai Mall will become a paid service, using a barrier-free system implemented by toll gate operator Salik. The system is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2024 and the charges will be determined after Emaar Malls finalises the business rules for this project.

In the summer of 2023, the iconic mall’s name was changed after the word “The” was dropped from its name and named it “Dubai Mall”.

In September 2023, Dubai Mall officially unveiled its latest addition Chinatown with week-long cultural events.

Dubai Mall’s major expansion was in 2019 when it was connected with the Zabeel extension through a 200-metre-long bridge. Lulu hypermarket was also opened in the Zabeel extension last year.

According to Emaar Malls, more than 80 per cent of its retail revenues are generated by the iconic Dubai Mall, which houses more than 1,200 outlets. The mall boasts a very high footfall and occupancy level, reaching 99 per cent in 2022. Emaar Malls’ properties recorded 137 million footfall in 2022, with Dubai Mall usually recording over 100 million every year.

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