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Keeping it in the family

Not necessarily the largest or richest, but these are a few of the family-owned groups that dominate the Gulf.

Family business on the brink of change

Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum

Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has transformed Dubai from a backwater town into a global trade and tourism hub

Maktoum The Maktoums are the ruling family of Dubai, the most dynamic and media-savvy of the seven emirates of the UAE. The family is headed by the high-profile Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who in a remarkably short space of time has transformed Dubai from a backwater town into a global trade and tourism hub.

As elsewhere in the Gulf, it is difficult to pinpoint where government interests begin and family interests end. Analysts say that some public-sector companies in Dubai are more closely family-controlled than others. The line remains blurred in most cases but the country is often considered to be run along the lines of a private corporation – hence the tag "Dubai, Inc".

With oil generating only some 6% of Dubai’s GDP, other key assets include the Emirates airline, infrastructure, telecoms, land and several huge but loose-knit holding groups.

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