What Is the Richest Arab City?

Dubai is the wealthiest Arab city and the 30th richest one worldwide by total wealth held. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) city maintained its richness despite the adverse economic impact of the pandemic on nations’ wealth.

Its position as an international business hub, overall safety, and tax rates are reasons for this city’s prosperity.

Dubai is uniquely affluent since it does not depend on selling oil to flourish. Its diverse economy significantly contributes to its wealth, centering on tourism, trade, transportation, finance, and technology.

Dubai has the busiest international passenger traffic, making it a gateway to the East and an admired destination for businesses.

Table of Contents

What Makes Dubai So Rich?

Dubai museum

Oil makes Dubai the wealthiest Middle Eastern city and among the richest places globally. Although the area has little oil, the black gold is sufficient to make the town prosperous.

Dubai used the oil to transform the economy into the present-day affluent city in less than 50 years.

How Did Dubai Become Rich?

Hard work and a strong vision led to Dubai’s rapid transition to a metropolitan area from a fishing village.

In addition, the city’s welcoming attitude towards anyone interested in investment encouraged people to build their businesses in the region.

The forward-thinking business approaches and the oil industry merged to make Dubai a global economic powerhouse.

So, what primary factors played a role in Dubai becoming rich?

1) Free-Trade Zones

Many companies often decide to operate in Dubai due to its free-trade zones. The city has over 30 free-trade zones, accounting for over 20% of total foreign investment in the United Arab Emirates.

These zones play a significant part in Dubai’s transformation into a top economy. The city’s safety, booming economy, and quality of life are other elements that attract expats.

free-trade zone

2) Dubai Ports

Dubai is home to three crucial ports; the Jebel Ali Port, Al Hamriya Port Dubai, and Mina Rashid Port Dubai.

They undertake extensive cargo operations that contribute to the area’s economic growth.

Jebel Ali is the busiest Middle Eastern port and among the most valuable assets in the United Arab Emirates.

It sits inside the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Jafza, the world’s biggest free economic zone. Free economic zones provide custom duty benefits, attractive business benefits, and no foreign ownership restrictions.

Dubai’s free economic zones present a well-developed infrastructure operated by an independent port authority.

The authority takes an active role in streamlining the city’s bureaucracy.

Who Are the Wealthiest People in Dubai?

Dubai’s richness and a plethora of luxurious facilities make it one of the most expensive places on earth.


You can get some of the wealthiest people around the world calling the city their home. The top three richest people in Dubai are:

1. Majid Al Futtaim

Majid Al Futtaim has an estimated net worth of $6.1 billion, ranking as the richest man in Dubai. His wealth comes from the entertainment and retail conglomerate, the Majid AlFuttaim Holding.

2. Abdullah bin Ahmad

Abdullah bin Ahmad is the founder and chairman of one of UAE’s leading banks, the Mashreqbank.

He also has an eponymous company involved in everything, ranging from food to construction and real estate.

His estimated net worth is $4.9 billion.

3. Ravi Pillai

Ravi Pillai’s estimated net worth is $4.2 billion. Pillai is the founder and chairman of the billion-dollar conglomerate, the RP Group.

Why Is Dubai Attractive for Investors and Businesses?

Emirate of Dubai's capital

Dubai is the most populous UAE city and Emirate of Dubai’s capital. It has various economic, political, and environmental aspects that favor investment.

The following are eight factors that make the city attractive for businesses and investors:

1. Diverse Workforce

Dubai welcomes people from different countries with varying backgrounds, cultures, abilities, religions, and races.

Diversity means people working together provide different perspectives about a specific matter to reach better conclusions.

Working together also boosts productivity while bringing in creativity.

Personnel sharing similar cultures and socio-economic backgrounds limits creativity and innovation opportunities.

The UAE workforce features nationalities of more than 200 countries, with the diversity benefiting businesses in multiple ways.

For instance, a diversified workforce helps minimize fear while fostering excellent performance.

Diverse Workforce

It also aids in marketing by expanding a brand’s reputation among different communities.

2. Strategic Geographic Location

Location is one of the most vital points to examine in business. Dubai’s site on the Persian Gulf Coast presents a strategic position globally.

It is a gateway linking the western world with the Asian and African continents.

The rapid development of water and transportation contributed to the growth of major hubs in Dubai.

These hubs offered efficient navigation for cargo and passengers to enhance the city’s prospects as an investment paradise.

3. Security

The United Arab Emirates city incorporates a robust and reliable security system. It has a highly equipped police force that operates efficiently, making it the seventh safest city worldwide.

Dubai also shows a comparatively lower crime rate.

The police typically observe each activity within Dubai without disrupting people, conducting their work using the latest technology.

Dubai Security

They are available to all emergency calls and constantly remain alert in their duties. Additionally, the city is always free from aggressive or communal riots and similar social disturbances.

Insecurity is not a concern for anyone journeying to the city, boosting confidence for businesses and investors.

4. Government-Owned Companies

Unlike other developed nations, the UAE requires its corporations to operate in all sectors of its economy.

UAE’s government wholly owns and controls the businesses, including Dubai Knowledge Village, Dubai Internet City, and Dubai Media City.

The Dubai World Central – Al Maktoum International Airport and the Emirates airline are other government-owned companies.

Dubai offers well-developed infrastructural facilities and the necessary amenities to start your business.

This system plays a considerable role in local and cross-border trade growth. Moreover, the UAE government established special economic zones with these corporations to develop and expand all economic sectors.

Some sectors influenced by this government setup are tourism, trade, information technology, and investment and communications.

Al Maktoum International Airport

Human, infrastructure, and social development are other areas the world-class government-owned corporations affect.

This system transformed the UAE into one of the top-ranked developed countries without resorting to privatization.

5. High Sea Sales

As previously mentioned, Dubai has an inherent strategic location that led to the development of transport logistics and international trade.

Jebel Ali in the city is the largest port in the Middle East. It connects to the Dubai International Airport cargo village and Dubai’s expressway system.

UAE VAT law outlines that the point of supply of the transportation service is where the transaction originates.

The transaction undertakes outside the UAE under the cross-border trade. Thus, the regulations regard such a transaction as beyond the VAT scope.

Dubai customs implement significant initiatives in the logistics and transport sector to boost high sea sales.

Jebel Ali

These efforts give importance to client satisfaction while improving e-commerce efficiency in the city.

They also help save money and time by facilitating faster border crossings for containers and trucks.

6. Tax-free City

A tax-free system is one of the biggest reasons investors and businesses love operating in Dubai.

The city does not implement personal tax, tax on capital gains, and corporate tax. Subsequently, you can conveniently strategize on any type of investment stress-free, giving room for innovation and expansion.

7. Ease of Obtaining Visa

It is easy to get an investor visa or a residence visa in the United Arab Emirates. The country has expat-friendly regulations, enabling you to obtain a visa at a minimal cost.

This system lets you move in and out of Dubai, giving you the flexibility to meet various business demands.

8. Resource Availability

Dubai has access to plenty of resources to enhance convenience and comfort for investors and businessmen.

 Dubai International Financial Centre

The Dubai International Financial Centre offers financial resources via an impressive Fintech and venture capital environment.

Dubai’s metro and high-quality road network make navigation around the city effective and smooth.

Natural gas, petroleum, and similar energy resources are available in Dubai at economical prices.

You can also access an abundance of skilled human resources from the millions of expats in the city.

Dubai has business centers with top-quality facilities to host conferences, meetings, business functions, or set up a company office.

These resources encourage investors to create holding companies, contributing to Dubai’s wealth. Benefits of establishing a UAE-based holding company include:

· Reduces the risks of having individual shareholders

· Holding companies are not accountable for their subsidiaries’ obligations and debts

· Holding companies do not require sharing financial information reports with the government

Does Dubai’s Wealth Influence Tourism?

 Dubai tourist destination

Dubai is among the most popular tourist destinations globally. The cosmopolitan metropolis focuses on hospitality and tourism, offering a mix of local culture and cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Its richness does not limit access to visitors, offering something for tourists of all ages and social statuses.

Below are some famous attractions to consider when touring the city:

1. World-Class Shopping

You can find the largest mall globally based on total area, the Dubai Mall, in this UAE city. It is a component of the Burj Khalifa complex.

Besides, the complex is an attraction as the tallest man-made structure.

The Dubai Mall comprises over 1,200 shops, including the largest candy store worldwide. You can find a 5-star luxury hotel, 120 restaurants and cafés, and 22 cinema screens.

Furthermore, it has a SEGA game center with a 3D bowling game and an ice rink.

The mall features one of the biggest aquariums in the world, offering an ideal touring spot when visiting with kids.

2. Local Culture Mixed with Cosmopolitan Lifestyle

Dubai features a balance of a cosmopolitan place with traditional elements of the local culture.


The city delivers an energetic atmosphere regardless of where you go. You can meet engaging locals in high spirits, whether heading to the local markets or viewing fireworks displays.

Dubai incorporates versatile dining options, ranging from western menus to traditional eateries with local dishes.

The city is also home to multiple entertainment spots where you can unwind with colleagues or loved ones.

For instance, you can tour amusement and theme parks such as the MOTIONGATE Dubai and IMG Worlds of Adventure.

3. Hotels

The UAE city has some of the most luxurious and grandest hotels globally. Its wealth enables it to invest in the hospitality industry, offering unique five-star experiences.

Different hotels incorporate varying features. Hence, you can discover something new even when visiting Dubai multiple times.

For example, you can view impressive vistas of rugged mountains when staying in Ras Al Khaimah.

Ras Al Khaimah

You can get a hotel along the waterfront if you desire to see the golden sands.

4. Activities

Dubai has galleries and museums that let you marvel and learn about the culture and history of the Emirate.

You can also look at beautiful and contemporary Arabic architecture around the city.

This vibrant hub offers access to outdoor activities such as riding a camel in the desert or swimming with dolphins.

You can also go on a hot air balloon adventure.

Dubai has plenty of tourist activities available that you generally cannot experience in a single trip.