Company: Jacky’s Group
Wealth: 500 Million
Jacky Panjabi did not enter the UAE market quietly. His electronics showroom, launched in Deira in 1988, was at the time the only multi-brand retail outlet that offered wholesale, distribution and everything in between. It was the start of the Jacky’s Electronics empire that is perhaps the most well-known subsidiary of the Jacky’s Group of Companies, of which Panjabi is founder and managing director.
In recent years, Panjabi has opened multiple Samsung branded stores across the UAE, under the subsidiary Jacky’s Retail. The Mall of the Emirates branch is one of the most successful globally according to sales per square foot.
He was still a teenager — aged 16 or 17 — when he was first thrown into business, sent by his brother Ishwardas to Hong Kong to establish a mail order business in the trading hub, under the name Jacky’s International. Panjabi later used the contacts he established there to launch operations in Africa in 1994. The firm now has exclusive distribution rights in several countries for brands including Sony, Canon, Sharp and Black & Decker. Jacky’s also imports well-known food brands from the UK, the US, and Europe, such as Heinz, Kellogg’s and Kraft, supplying local supermarkets.
About half the company’s revenue is derived from the UAE, while about $200m is made in the Far East and $100m in Africa.
Panjabi told Arabian Business last year that he would now take stock of the business, rather than expand into unknown areas.