Thursday, May 26, 2005

Apprentice TV Show Dubai style

New York's top property magnate is coming to the world's biggest construction site. Speaking by video link Donald Trump told 'Entrepreneurs in Dubai' that he was going to visit in two or three weeks time. But does the most famous man in America really have enough energy for Dubai?
United Arab Emirates:
Donald Trump is 58. In the late 1980s he made his first fortune. In the early 1990s he lost it, and was worth minus $900 million. Since then 'The Donald' has regained his lost empire, and then some, and become a US national icon and TV star in the process. 'I have heard Dubai is a fantastic place with fantastic things happening,' he announced to an audience of over a thousand attending 'Entrepreneurs in Dubai' this week. 'I intend to visit in two to three weeks time and can't wait to see it for myself.' He described Dubai as a 'great miracle', and not a man noted for false modesty, added that he and the Trump organization were also miracles. Certainly in terms of returning from the land of the financial dead, Mr. Trump has more reason than most for such a boast. But even he has the odd moment of humility. In the same presentation he admitted that his own fortunes were now at their zenith, and an almost philosophical Donald Trump mused that 'it might not be the same in two or three years' time.' One questioner dared to ask how Mr. Trump had arranged his affairs so that he did not repeat his errors of the early 1990s. This was a question he dodged like an old pro - but it would be surprising if he allowed this particular episode of his personal history to be repeated. In Dubai Mr. Trump will find a welcome like no other city can give. He also will not be disappointed with the range and quality of real estate opportunities. This is the ultimate first-time visit by a potential investor. The star of 'The Apprentice' blockbuster TV show is very keen to meet 'the man who will be playing me' in the upcoming Arab version of this reality TV production. He is also keen to cut some deals. So what could he do in Dubai? Well, the clue is surely self-publicity and the attention that Donald Trump attracts to anywhere he goes or anything he does. He is the ultimate real estate salesman. Now with around $50 billion of real estate projects under construction and another $50 billion or more in the development process, Dubai is surely the place that needs the services of 'The Donald' as he is affectionately known in America where his name is better recognized in opinion polls than the US President. If anyone could sell Dubai to America then Donald Trump is the right man. Emirates Airline has done a fine job too with its award-winning campaign to launch its direct flights to New York. But Donald Trump can do more. Thus cutting Mr. Trump in on some of the better deals in town, and listening to what he has to say about how the local real estate market should develop, is likely to prove an excellent long-term investment for the city. One just has to hope he is up for this reality challenge! For his part, Mr. Trump might find a useful contra-cyclical balance in Dubai to his operations in New York, which are not only eight hours away in time-difference but moving on an inversely correlated business cycle. As a Wharton finance graduate he will know what that means.


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