China drives my interest, says Damac chief Hussain Sajwani

Damac chairman Hussain Sajwani, the world's tenth richest Arab, is looking to extend the developer's presence in Asia

Hussain Sajwani
China drives my interest, says Damac chief Hussain Sajwani

Is there a moonshot idea that you are currently intrigued by? Are there any you are pursuing in your business?

Asia’s continued economic growth, and specifically China’s, drives my interest. Damac has been active in the Chinese market for several years, but I am now looking at extending our presence there.

The value of China’s emerging middle class continues to grow and I see great opportunity to capture additional investors thanks to increased bilateral relations between the UAE and China.

What does diversity mean to you? How are you pursuing this in your organisation? Are there any tangible results you can share?

Diversity is an essential ingredient at Damac. It means we have a wealth of varying views, ideas and perspectives to tap into when developing strategic plans or when making critical business decisions. Diversity gives us range, and that is a clear advantage in business. At Damac, we currently have 77 nationalities working for us, from every continent.

With talk of trade wars, tariffs, exchange rates in constant flux, oil price uncertainty, geopolitical turbulence, and a new emerging demographic (maybe even more than one) entering the workplace, how are you keeping up with the rapid pace of change?

I have never been one to read too much into politics, so all this talk is just that, talk. I am only concerned with policies and changes that affect my organisation. This allows me to make small but important adjustments to how we grow as a company.

If global politics change the dynamics of the industry and markets we operate in, then we adapt and revise our approach to make best of the opportunities that we have, while reducing our exposure to negative policies and such.

How would you describe the story behind your business?

The story of Damac and its success pre-dates to the forward vision of the UAE’s founding fathers, who understood the value of building a strong, unified nation that would serve as a gateway between the east and west. The spirit of this vision and our understanding that we are united in prosperity propelled me to work hard at supporting the UAE’s development of a sustainable business and social infrastructure.

Entrepreneurship came naturally to me and I understood from a young age the importance of home-grown businesses. So fast-forward to the early 2000s, when the UAE’s leadership ambitiously opened up the real estate market, I jumped on the opportunity and created Damac Properties. The rest is history.

If all goes well, where do you see your organisation going in the next five years? The next decade?

Damac has reached a size and a level of maturity that enables it to start looking beyond the region. We have delivered over 20,000 homes, which only a handful of developers in the Middle East have done, and I know that we can leverage this expertise to expand our presence and offering to other markets around the world. More

By Shayan Shakeel