Jul. 7, 2015

 Ahmed Bin Sulayem

UAE, Dubai

Ahmed Bin Sulayem

Executive Chairrman, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

TBY talks to Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), on the diamond and gold trade, the Burj 2020 Project, and new office space.


As the Executive Chairman of DMCC, Ahmed Bin Sulayem has and continues to play a key role in establishing and positioning DMCC as a major international commodities hub for trade. He joined DMCC in 2001 as a Director, and his responsibilities included overseeing the organization’s operations. Today, he is the Executive Chairman of DMCC, as well as the Director of Human Resources, Director of Dubai Shariah Asset Management (DSAM) and Dubai Commodity Asset Management (DCAM). He has played a leading role in reviving Dubai’s traditional pearling industry by launching the Dubai Pearl Exchange in 2007 and conceptualized the idea behind Almas Tower, the tallest commercial building in the Middle East. In July 2013, Bin Sulayem announced DMCC's plans to construct the tallest commercial tower in the world as part of its expansion plans for its the Burj 2020 District.

How would you describe the top achievements for DMCC during 2014?

One of the greatest achievements for the DMCC was maintaining a fast-paced momentum. We have stayed hungry, and open to attracting new businesses. We have become a strong magnet for SMEs and now business incubators with the recently announced AstroLabs tech incubator. As far as diamonds and gold go, it is business as usual. The DMCC, with more than 1,000 diamond companies in our Almas Tower alone, has propelled Dubai into position among the top three diamond centers in the world. The same is true for gold. DMCC has helped Dubai become one of the leading gold trading hubs in the world. Something of equal importance to all this is our information technology transformation project that is at the forefront of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai's e-government initiative. Two years ago, we provided a fully online portal for our members where they can do all of their services online, whether registering a businesses, applying for visas, and pretty much all matters.

One of the large projects for DMCC is the Burj 2020 project. What impact do you think that will have on the overall operations of DMCC and Dubai furthering themselves as international trading hubs?

How people view DMCC is different today than it was five years ago. The contrast is even starker when you look back 13 years to our inception in 2002. It is an influential community. I understand there is much conservatism in the market from other areas; however, entities that come to DMCC will never go to another area. The client that comes here is completely different. The fact that we registered between 6,000 and 7,000 companies in the last four years, which was when the world was still reeling from the global recession, is key. I do not get why we need to slow down. We are doing our best to provide a custom-made facility for our members. We asked members what we could provide that was not available. They want their top clients to be here. In that respect, I still feel that the multinational entities have not been serviced 100%. We have not pushed enough to attract them.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

We will be opening One JLT. It is a building with over 27,000 sqm of leasable area. Some may feel there is too much office space coming, but for me, the more offices, the better. The more companies we service, the better it is for DMCC. The unveiling of the Burj 2020 District is exciting. Putting in a nice target for the next decade would be interesting for me. Conservatively speaking, people expect us to reach 16,000 businesses. I would like to push that to 20,000. We are at more than 10,000 today. I would like the focus to be on doubling it. If we cannot get to it, at least I would have the satisfaction that we tried our best. I do not think it is completely unreasonable. The office space is available, and the appetite is there.