Dubai Stands Out as Middle East’s Leading City in Millionaire Growth

Dubai has emerged as the Middle East’s top city for millionaire growth, solidifying its allure to the globally affluent.

According to the 2024 World’s Wealthiest Cities Report by Henley & Partners, the emirate saw an extraordinary 78% rise in its millionaire population over the past decade.

Dubai is reinforcing its status as the leading financial hub in the Middle East and is now positioned as the 21st wealthiest city worldwide.

Currently home to over 72,500 millionaires, the city’s growth is attributed to its pro-business policies and welcoming environment for international capital, according to Philippe Amarante, Head of Middle East at Henley & Partners. He emphasised that these factors are likely to further raise Dubai’s global wealth rankings.

While Dubai leads in regional growth, Saudi Arabia is also emerging as a significant player among the super-wealthy. The kingdom’s efforts to diversify its oil-dependent economy and attract foreign investment could position cities like Riyadh as key contenders in future wealth rankings.

At present, Dubai continues to thrive, benefiting from its economic strategies and its swift response to the pandemic, which positioned it as a hotspot for global tourism and business when other regions were locked down.

Amarante said that Dubai effectively communicated its readiness for business while maintaining caution and control. The city’s stability and business-friendly environment attracted wealthy individuals and firms seeking refuge from global economic uncertainties.

Impact of the Pandemic on Dubai’s Millionaire Growth

The pandemic has reshaped global wealth dynamics over the past two years. While cities like Moscow experienced a decline in millionaire numbers due to geopolitical instability, others capitalised on new opportunities.

Dubai notably leveraged the pandemic to boost its standing as an international business hub catering to the wealthy. The government’s calculated measures during the pandemic, such as vaccinations and social distancing, resonated well with affluent tourists and businesspeople, Amarante explained.

The UAE’s expansion of the green and golden visa categories has also contributed to an influx of wealthy residents. From any perspective, Dubai is an efficient place to be.

The announcement of the Al Maktoum Airport expansion emphasised the city’s growth trajectory. The development of this mega airport is a forward-looking move that will be essential in the coming decade, focusing on Dubai’s ambitious plans, Amarante noted.

Global Wealth Migration Trends

Beyond the Middle East, China’s wealth surge is evident, with five mainland cities making the top 50 list. Beijing ranks 10th after a 90 percent increase in millionaires over the past decade, while Shenzhen saw a remarkable 140 percent rise.

Conversely, some established wealthy locations have seen declines. Tokyo, once the top city, has slipped to third place. London, previously the world’s wealthiest city, is now fifth with 227,000 millionaires. Brexit-related complications and political instability are major factors in its decline.

Amarante stressed the difficulties for wealthy Londoners post-Brexit, such as restricted movement within the Schengen zone and increased fiscal pressures. This has prompted many to relocate to more stable and business-friendly cities like Dubai.

Emerging Wealth Hubs

While traditional powerhouses like New York lead the rankings, new cities are rising. Nairobi’s millionaire population has grown by 25% to over 4,400, and Cape Town’s by 20 percent to 7,400 over the past decade.

Looking ahead, cities like Bengaluru in India, Scottsdale in Arizona, and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam are experiencing significant wealth growth, marking them as cities to watch in the next decade.

Original article reference: Arabian Business.


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