10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mohamed Alabbar

In the high-stakes world of international business, a select few personalities manage to stand out. The Middle East is no exception, with charismatic entrepreneurs like Mohamed Alabbar being amongst those who have left an indelible impression. As the founder of Emaar Properties, one of the most successful real estate development companies in the world, he has helped shape the skyline of Dubai. However, as well-known as Alabbar may be in business circles, there are likely some facts about him that might surprise you. So, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Mohamed Alabbar.

1. He Started from Scratch

Mohamed Alabbar was not born into wealth. He was the eldest of twelve siblings, and as a child, it was his responsibility to earn money for the family by hunting birds and selling them in the market. His humble beginnings instilled strong values of hard work and perseverance in him, which he attributes to his success in later life.

In spite of the financial setbacks his family faced, Alabbar pursued his education with fervor. His academic excellence landed him a government scholarship to study in the USA, setting him on a path to success that would lead him to the pinnacle of international business.

2. His First Venture was in Singapore

Alabbar’s business instincts first came to the fore when he was far from home. He began his first venture in Singapore, trading in agricultural products. This showcased his astute business acumen and his ability to succeed in diverse environments.

This initial achievement was instrumental in establishing Alabbar as a reliable entrepreneur. Furthermore, it strengthened his resolve to start his own business, creating the basis for what would later become Emaar Properties.

3. He is a tireless Philanthropist

Alabbar is not just a successful businessman, he is also a staunch philanthropist. He has donated large amounts of his personal wealth to various charitable organizations around the world. His compassion and generosity are well-known and reflect his deep commitment to helping those less fortunate.

The businessman’s charitable projects span various domains, including education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation. By generously supporting these causes, he has made a significant positive impact on numerous lives.

4. He funds Entrepreneurial Projects

Not content to simply give money away, Alabbar is actively involved in fostering entrepreneurial talent. He is the founder of the e-commerce platform Noon, a site designed to support local businesses and give them a platform to sell their products.

His penchant for fostering emerging talent has led him to invest in several startups, helping young entrepreneurs realize their dreams. This not only stimulates innovative business ideas but also creates employment opportunities.

5. A Man of the Arts

Contrary to the image of a strict, numbers-driven businessman, Alabbar has a deep love for the arts. He is known as an ardent collector of Modern and Contemporary art, especially Arab and Iranian art. His collection is considered one of the finest private collections in the world.

Alabbar emphasizes on promoting local talent. His support has put many regional artists on the international stage, helping propagate their unique voices and the Middle Eastern aesthetic globally.

6. He is a Global Speaker

Mohamed Alabbar is regarded as a thought-leader, being invited to speak at prestigious international forums such as the World Economic Forum. His sights and experiences provide a unique perspective on the evolving global landscape.

His eloquence and charisma make him a sought-after speaker, able to captivate audiences with his deep knowledge and insightful analyses. This has cemented his reputation globally, spreading his influence beyond just the Middle East.

7. His Inspirational Mother

Alabbar’s biggest inspiration is his mother, whom he credits for his amazing work ethic and perseverance. She taught him valuable lessons about hard work and persistence, qualities that have shaped his career and made him one of the most successful businessmen in the Middle East.

Alabbar often speaks of his mother’s influence and has publically dedicated his success to the values she instilled in him from a young age.

8. He is an Eco-Advocate

Alabbar’s companies are major advocates for sustainable development. Under his leadership, Emaar Properties has undertaken several initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment. The company’s efforts have been recognized by several international environmental organizations.

Alabbar’s commitment to the environment demonstrates his belief that businesses must play a key role in creating a sustainable and ecologically balanced world.

9. He’s a Big Sports Fan

Despite his busy schedule, Alabbar makes time for sports, especially football. He is an avowed fan of the AC Milan club, often being seen at their games. He believes sports teach critical lessons about teamwork and perseverance, values that he translates into his business model.

Alabbar’s love for sports extends beyond football. He is known to enjoy a good game of golf and often participates in charity matches to raise funds for worthy causes.

10. His Favorite City is…

Given his global presence and experience, one might expect Alabbar to be partial to cities like New York, London, or even Dubai. However, his favorite city is actually Singapore. According to Alabbar, the city-state’s planning and execution are an example for the rest of the world to follow.

This admiration for Singapore exemplifies Alabbar’s belief in learning from successful models and integrating the best practices into his respective ventures.

To learn more about Mohamed Alabbar, you may find the following links useful:

Emaar Properties


World Economic Forum Profile