I’m just back from a most amazing visit to Dubai, where I learned a thing or two about how strategic a government can be. Dubai’s leaders have figured out how to make the place attractive for business, despite the fact that it’s historical major industry was — guess this — pearl diving!
Among the things they got right were plans for their National airline, Emirates. I took Emirates to Dubai and it was fascinating. Emirates has figured out that it’s about 8 hours from many major markets, and is making great progress connecting them – for instance, connecting Europe and parts of China.Moreover, Dubai’s brand new airport features 24/7 service, which among other things allows it to run its planes for 3 hours more per day than competing airlines, a huge advantage in a capital-intensive market. Beyond the airline, Dubai is studded with awe-inspiring office buildings and hotels, and I’m told that they are setting up their own stock exchange. Not bad for a place that not too long ago was in the middle of nowhere.