Real estate, e-commerce, retail, hospitality, logistics – you name it, Mohamed Alabbar has a hand in it. The prominent Emirati businessman is the founding chairman of Emaar Properties and private investment and real estate development company Eagle Hills, as well as Kuwait-based food giant Americana Group. If that wasn’t enough, he launched $1bn e-commerce platform Noon in 2017.
In June this year, the digital marketplace signed a new partnership with eBay to give customers in the region the opportunity to buy products from the US and other parts of the globe. Noon, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and a group of Gulf investors, will fulfil all eBay orders made on the platform and deliver the products directly to the customer’s doorstep.
Alabbar manages his businesses by adopting a 24/7 work ethic. Giving a presentation at the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) International Conference, the chairman said the days of nine-to-five working hours are over as the business world adapts to a new always-on environment.
“Digital companies grow 30 percent a month, my businesses grow 20 percent a year. Digital customers are on 24/7, there is no time to close the shop. Time is so valuable for all of us. In the UAE, we are only 46 years-old, we are young, we need to catch up. So how efficient are you? How fast can you think and learn and assess risk? That’s a big challenge for all of us. This 24/7 style is going to be the way we do business.
“There’s no nine-to-five now”, he added. “If you do that you will become irrelevant, you won’t belong.”
It is thanks to this ceaseless work ethic that Alabbar’s Emaar Properties recorded revenue growth of AED5.586bn ($1.52bn) in the first quarter of 2018, a staggering 37 percent increase over Q1 2017. According to the company’s Q1 financial results, Emaar’s net profit rose 20 percent to AED1.66bn ($453m) – prior to considering the effect of Emaar Development’s IPO – compared to AED1.38bn ($377m) in the same period of 2017.