Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has revealed its launch plans of the world’s largest indoor theme park with an opening celebration a day earlier than anticipated.Ferrari World Abu Dhabi will open to the public for the first time, starting at seven o’clock in the evening on Wednesday 27th October 2010. Courtesy photo
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has revealed its launch plans of the world’s largest indoor theme park with an opening celebration a day earlier than anticipated.Ferrari WorldShow more

Ferrari World is now go, go, go!

The opening of the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park marks a significant turning point in the emirate's plans to transform itself into a leisure destination.
The attraction, which opens on Wednesday, has more than 20 rides including the world's fastest roller coaster and a G-force ride that shoots thrill-seekers to heights of 62 metres. It has the capacity of 10,000 visitors a day.
Ferrari World has been more than three years in the making. More than 6,000 labourers worked on the site at any one time and it has gobbled up 185,000 cubic metres of concrete and more than 12,370 tonnes of steel.
Located on the US$40 billion (Dh146.92bn) Yas Island development next to the Yas Marina Circuit, the park was not ready for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year. But organisers were determined it would open in time for this year's Formula One race next month.
"It is one of the signature attractions of Yas Island and a major tourist attraction for Abu Dhabi," says Claus Frimand, the general manager of Ferrari World. "Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is a brand-new leisure concept in the UAE that will have a great impact on the way visitors and families spend their leisure time in the region."
Tickets cost Dh225 for guests above 1.5 metres, and Dh165 for those below that height. A pricier premium ticket gives guests priority access to the attractions and access to an exclusive lounge with refreshments. Premium tickets will be Dh375 for guests above 1.5m and Dh270 for those below.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) expects the attraction to primarily draw visitors from the UAE and the wider GCC region but it also anticipates attracting guests from further afield.
"Judging by the huge number of media enquiries the authority has received about the park, worldwide interest is intense," says Lawrence Franklin, the director of strategy and policy at the ADTA.
It is working with stakeholders including Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and Ukrainian International Airlines and hotels on Yas Island to host some 86 media representatives from 21 countries for the official opening of the theme park.
Most of Ferarri World's attractions are indoors, housed within a sprawling air-conditioned structure that features a bright red roof inspired by the double-curve side profile of a Ferrari GT sports car and spans 200,000 square metres. Other attractions include a flume ride through a giant structure based on a 12-cylinder Ferrari engine. The park also has several Italian restaurants and the world's largest Ferrari store.
The theme park was developed and funded by Aldar Properties and is managed by Farah Leisure Parks Management, a joint venture between Aldar and ProFun Management Group, an international leisure facilities management and operating company.
Ferrari already has a strong connection with Abu Dhabi. Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, has a 5 per cent stake in the luxury car maker while Etihad Airways is a major sponsor of the Ferrari F1 team.
"The Ferrari brand enjoys a mass following all over the world," says Mr Frimand. "As the first attraction of this nature in the Middle East, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi fills a gap in the market for family-friendly tourist attractions which can be enjoyed all year round."
The ADTA says the theme park will help Abu Dhabi achieve its target of attracting 1.65 million hotel guests this year, up from 1.54 million last year. The capital aims to raise that number to 2.3 million annually by 2012 and is turning its attention to bringing leisure tourists to the emirate rather than remain primarily dependent on business travellers.
Other visitor attractions in the emirate are starting to take shape with the development of Saadiyat Island, which will eventually house the Guggenheim and Louvre museums.
Two new golf courses are due to be launched this year and, along with the opening of the luxurious Qasr Al Sarab desert resort a year ago, these projects further signal Abu Dhabi's intentions. The managers of the seven hotels on Yas Island anticipate Ferrari World will bring an increase in guests staying on the island. The hotels opened last year ahead of the Grand Prix but since then business has been relatively subdued.
"I'm sure we will see a lot of people coming from the UAE and other GCC countries and perhaps from beyond as well," says Torbjorn Bodin, the general manager of the Radisson Blu hotel on Yas Island. "I think it will be very positive for Abu Dhabi."
But he says with the increasing number of hotels across Abu Dhabi, competition for new tourists will be keen. "We have started to look at packages but it's not finalised yet," he said. "We haven't seen any big marketing campaign yet but I'm sure that will happen."
He says other Yas attractions starting to come together, such as the new links golf course, the marina and the race track, will also boost tourism. There are also plans to build a huge water park, more marinas and a vast shopping mall on the 2,500-hectare island.
"The opening of Ferrari World next to the Yas Marina Circuit . will help the Yas destination emerge and will have a positive impact on the performance of neighbouring hotels, provided that the marketing of the destination is conducted by the attraction points, namely Ferrari World, the Yas Marina Circuit and the marina," says Chiheb ben Mahmoud, the senior vice-president at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in the MENA region.
Ferrari also expects to benefit from the theme park. The car maker has not directly invested in it but says it has worked alongside Aldar to make sure its strict brand standards are adhered to. Ferarri says the theme park will help promote the company both in the region and all over the world.
"It's something that we believe will give a strong boost to the knowledge and awareness of the Ferrari brand, not only in the Middle East," says Enrico Galliera, the company's commercial and marketing director. He says the attraction will also help give the brand more family appeal.
Ferrari has said it might consider opportunities for further theme parks elsewhere but wants to see how successful the Abu Dhabi venture is before committing to another similar project.
"If things go well, it might be the first of others," says Stefano Lai, Ferarri's communications director.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed


Saturday, May 16 (kick-offs UAE time)

Borussia Dortmund v Schalke (4.30pm) 
RB Leipzig v Freiburg (4.30pm) 
Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin (4.30pm) 
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Paderborn  (4.30pm) 
Augsburg v Wolfsburg (4.30pm) 
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Monchengladbach (7.30pm)

Sunday, May 17

Cologne v Mainz (4.30pm),
Union Berlin v Bayern Munich (7pm)

Monday, May 18

Werder Bremen v Bayer Leverkusen (9.30pm)

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbo

Transmission: seven-speed dual clutch automatic

Power: 169bhp

Torque: 250Nm

Price: Dh54,500

On sale: now


Abu Dhabi Harlequins 17

Jebel Ali Dragons 20

Harlequins Tries: Kinivilliame, Stevenson; Cons: Stevenson 2; Pen: Stevenson

Dragons Tries: Naisau, Fourie; Cons: Love 2; Pens: Love 2

Awar Qalb

Director: Jamal Salem

Starring: Abdulla Zaid, Joma Ali, Neven Madi and Khadija Sleiman

Two stars

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 666hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 850Nm at 2,300-4,500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
On sale: Q1 2023
Price: from Dh1.15 million (estimate)


Director: Chris Winterbauer

Stars: Lana Condor and Cole Sprouse

Rating: 3/5

Virtual banks explained

What is a virtual bank?

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority defines it as a bank that delivers services through the internet or other electronic channels instead of physical branches. That means not only facilitating payments but accepting deposits and making loans, just like traditional ones. Other terms used interchangeably include digital or digital-only banks or neobanks. By contrast, so-called digital wallets or e-wallets such as Apple Pay, PayPal or Google Pay usually serve as intermediaries between a consumer’s traditional account or credit card and a merchant, usually via a smartphone or computer.

What’s the draw in Asia?

Hundreds of millions of people under-served by traditional institutions, for one thing. In China, India and elsewhere, digital wallets such as Alipay, WeChat Pay and Paytm have already become ubiquitous, offering millions of people an easy way to store and spend their money via mobile phone. Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines are also among the world’s biggest under-banked countries; together they have almost half a billion people.

Is Hong Kong short of banks?

No, but the city is among the most cash-reliant major economies, leaving room for newcomers to disrupt the entrenched industry. Ant Financial, an Alibaba Group Holding affiliate that runs Alipay and MYBank, and Tencent Holdings, the company behind WeBank and WeChat Pay, are among the owners of the eight ventures licensed to create virtual banks in Hong Kong, with operations expected to start as early as the end of the year. 

Breast cancer in men: the facts

1) Breast cancer is men is rare but can develop rapidly. It usually occurs in those over the ages of 60, but can occasionally affect younger men.

2) Symptoms can include a lump, discharge, swollen glands or a rash. 

3) People with a history of cancer in the family can be more susceptible. 

4) Treatments include surgery and chemotherapy but early diagnosis is the key. 

5) Anyone concerned is urged to contact their doctor


In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement
John Heminway, Knopff

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”



Company name: Letstango.com

Started: June 2013

Founder: Alex Tchablakian

Based: Dubai

Industry: e-commerce

Initial investment: Dh10 million

Investors: Self-funded

Total customers: 300,000 unique customers every month


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

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