Sunday, September 07, 2008

Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai - The Rivalry

This article in the Telegraph is one of the only articles I've read that touches upon the unspoken rivalry between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

It comes after the recent announcement that the Abu Dhabi government has bought the Manchester City football club AND invested 500 million pounds into Warner Brothers.

But all of Abu Dhabi's recent investments into art, culture, sports and movies are not an attempt to mimic Dubai's growth formula, because Abu Dhabi doesn't need the cash as badly as Dubai does apparently:

On the surface, what’s happening in Abu Dhabi mirrors Dubai. But what’s driving its growth is different. Dubai is a story of survival, of how one small city that is running out of oil – it has less than one per cent of Abu Dhabi’s reserves – is saving itself with a mixture of tourism and commercialism, hookahs and hookers. Thanks to oil, Abu Dhabi is not in a rush. It wants to build itself into a global city-state, but is determined to do it with none of the crassness (think prostitution, drunkenness and financial scandal) that is now beginning to tarnish Dubai’s image.


The article also touches upon the personal feud that fuels the rivalry between the 2 cities, which I was also unaware of:


The Nahyans and the ruling Maktoums of Dubai are cousins. They are cordial in public, but compete furiously behind each others’ dishdashas. The Nayhans are irked that poorer Dubai has so far attracted most of the foreign investment, five-star resorts and high-spending tourists in the UAE. They are running fast to catch up.


An interesting read that made me wonder what's in store for Abu Dhabi in the coming years. Will it really be able to differentiate itself from Dubai? Will it really do things differently? Will it be better?

Only time will tell I guess...

30 comments:

BuJassem said...

Welcome back!

very interesting article.. as usual should be blocked in the UAE!

btw, the al-nahyans + al-maktoums are both from the bani yas tribe, no? and it's well known that there are loads of marriages between AD and DXB sheikhs..etc..

I don't think the article is saying anything new. it's just refreshing to have it from a 3rd party.

also you might remember that AD was the uae's temporary capital for more than 20 or 30 yrs and the federal government was committed to establishing a capital halfway between dxb and ad.. mainly to be fair to them and to the smaller emiratis.. this never happened and in late 90s to early 2000s, the constitution was modified to show AD as the permenant capital.

many little things like that have been going since 1971 and before.. nothing new.. but still the union survives and so does common sense and the good people of the uae from all races :)

nzm said...

The last I read was that the new capital will now be in Khalifa City which is much closer to AUD than DXB.

Jayne said...

I thought the new capital city was gonna be out on AL Reem Island, as they're building a new city there! Who knows? (the way I'm feeling right now, it's more a case of who bloody cares!)
From what I gather, Sheikh Mo didn't do an awful lot of planning for DXB - if he saw something elsewhere in the world, it was a case of "I want that!" (in DXB) whereas apparently in AUH there has been a whole heap of planning for several years, which is now (sadly) taking off. The traffic has doubled, accommodations is scarce & it's just going to get worse.

secretdubai said...

The Nahyans kicked the Maktoums out of Al Ain a century or so ago. No wonder they are such rivals.

William King said...

This article is really based on the actual facts due to Dubai had a bad dream. It sounds amazing that Abu Dhabi has bought one of the leading football club in the world and investing in other countries.

Muhammad Amjad said...

Very interesting article. It sounds amazing that Abu Dhabi has bought one of the leading football club in the world and investing in other countries.Thanks for info.
Abu dhabi tourism

James Addison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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