Christina/ June 18, 2010/ Culture

The good news is: Dubai has made it into an international study comparing 21 global cities with each other. Given the ambitious goals the city-state has set itself will they be happy with rank 15th out of 21 cities? Since late September 2009 things seem not to turn out as they were meant to be for Dubai. What happened and what is Dubai Inc. going to do about it?

Press releases of June last year informed us about the setting up of Brand Dubai Office, officially announced as Dubai Media Affairs Office (DMAO) to be headed by manifold praised young talent Mona al-Marri. Since then not much seem to have happened. The URL: http://www.branddubai.ae seems not to work or has just vanished.

A news article from Dubai Chronicle of January 10th, 2010 informs us, that: “The new media office will monitor and analyse what is published by local, Arab and international media organisations about Dubai and latest public opinion trends dealing with events in Dubai. It will also monitor news and analyses on activities of the government and its officials and compile brief reports based on accurate scientific methods and raise them to the Ruler’s Court”. Well, one may wonder whether monitoring and analysis will be enough in times of Social Media, where news finds its way through the internet to everybody in seconds.

There is already talk about a possible necessity for re-branding Dubai. Other statements point out that the image of brand dubai is dented or ask: “What now for brand dubai?” Doesn’t that call for action?

Back to the PWCs study findings. The interplay of business, finance and culture worldwide have been examined. Central thesis of the PWC-study is that the more well-balanced a city is for both business and residents, the better it will fare.

“The financial difficulties of Dubai, a fast-growing, regional financial capital, are notable. The city had not yet had the time to build a resilient, broad base and it neared bankcruptcy in the crisis”, the study points out.
The study is based on publicly available data and research. 58 variables have been tested in course of the study. The 21 cities were sorted form the best performing to the worst, whereby 21 means the “best” and 1 the “worst”.

Let’s see some of the figures for Dubai:

  • Intellectual capital: Dubai gets 4 points (out of 21)
  • Transportation and infrastructure: Dubai gets 15 points (out of 21)
  • Ease of doing business: Dubai receives 9 points (out of 21)
  • Sustainability: Dubai gets 1 point (out of 21)!
  • Cost: Dubai is granted 13 points (out of 21)
  • Lifestyle assets: Dubai gets 10 points (out of 21)

Page 15 shows us the overview then: Dubai occupies rank 15 with a total of 159 points (in comparison: number one city “New York” gets 295 points whereas the bottom of the league, Jo’burg, gets 68 points only. What is astonishing to me, however, is rank 14 for the Indian metropolis “Mumbai”, which might be a city on the rise. Even though, everybody who has been there and that also applies to the loacals, quickly realizes that the financial capital of India has a LOT of work to ahead to catch up with modern, lively Dubai.

Still, Dubai has work to do, that’s for sure. And they should talk about it openely to the public. Something that is called damage limitation. And if it’s done properly, everybody will understand.

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