When I was in Dubai last November I heard the kind of urban myth statistic that sounded extraordinary but also plausible. Now I find a trustworthy source, and it looks like it’s true.
Stephen Roach: “According to construction trade sources, somewhere between 15% to 25% of the 125,000 construction cranes currently operating in the world today are located in Dubai.” To put that in perspective, Dubai has about half the population of the Bay Area.
Roach teases out the meaning of the Dubai boom. There are undoubtedly bubble aspects of today’s Dubai, but there’s also something real. One of the executives at my client here suggested over lunch that Dubai was in many ways like a nation operating as a venture capital fund. As in most venture investing, some of the businesses will go bust, others will tick along and a handful will be spectacular successes. That’s a creditable viewpoint on what’s happening here.