Dubai's largest holding companies are ensuring the viability of the Emirate's critical relevance in the global economy.

Mohammed Khammas Al Yammahi

CEO , Al Ahli Holding Group

Historically, Arabs, Middle Easterners, and Mediterranean people have always been content creators. This region was home to the most famous storytellers. That has not been the case for the past century, which does not mean that the talent does not exist, just that we have stopped documenting the stories using the available technology. We have taken on that responsibility of telling stories, and creating the 360-degree value chain, much like Disney did, developing a story based on how they can advertise it through merchandise, social media, exposure, downstream sales, licensing, and more.

Mohammed Al Kaabi

Managing Director, Al Serkal Group

The business was started in 1943, and we have always endeavored to be pioneers in serving the country. Our diversification has been driven by the needs of the various sectors of the economy. Once in those industries, you build expertise and networks, and continually invest in those industries to maintain your businesses footprint. We started in Dubai with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) before expanding into telecoms with Etisalat and the banking sector with NBD, for example. We have always looked for opportunities that would first help further serve the community. Currently, we are shareholders and board members primarily of majority state-owned enterprises such as Etisalat, DEWA, and PepsiCo, amongst others in the private sector. We have more than 40 different lines of businesses and are well diversified. Dubai is the driver of our business and development, and we have grown in parallel to Dubai and the UAE as a whole.

Adil Toubia

Group CEO, Al Ghurair Investments

In our business model our food production and our F&B outlets are disconnected. We have a F&B outlet called Smoothie King, and that is separate from the manufacturing side. We are the largest private manufacturer of flour in the UAE, and produce roughly 30% of the flour consumed in the UAE and export some as well. 2016 was a challenging year but we are well diversified and have had a mixed performance across those segments. Overall the group's result was strong and we did better than 2015. From the outset 2017 looks somewhat similar to 2016 and in some businesses slightly more challenging but overall we are relatively optimistic about the second half of 2017.

Mishal hamed Kanoo

Chairman, Kanoo Group

We will still develop and expand within the region; we will not look further afield per se. If an opportunity pops up then we will look at it but our main concentration is in the region, where we already have expertise. Despite general anxiety about these economic headwinds, there is still a great deal of opportunity within the market. We live and die in this region, and in terms of fiscal spending the Emirates would like to argue that they are decreasing focus on oil and gas, but that is not true. It remains a significant majority of our income in the region. The reason the government has decided not to spend cannot be because of the price of oil, but the biggest question is whether it is a real pinch or an artificial pinch. The Far East is picking up; Japan is in a good place, and Africa has also picked up; if all these countries are picking up economically, why does it still feel like 2010? For that reason, when people say they see a slowdown, I think it is just in their heads.