Zawya Express presents the top story, topic or trend highlighted by our editorial team as recommended reading to start your working day
Zawya presents its top picks of the stories that were written by its in-house team of journalists in 2017
The introduction of value-added tax (VAT), the inauguration of President Donald Trump and the changing e-commerce landscape in the Gulf were among the most popular stories to appear on our website over the past 12 months.
Here, we present our pick of the most-read and most interesting stories written by Zawya.com’s in-house team of journalists in 2017.
1. VAT rolls out
The biggest story was undoubtedly the introduction of VAT, and many of the most-read stories written by Zawya’s in-house team of journalists were in some way related to this subject.
In March, a source exclusively told Zawya that a VAT law would be issued in the United Arab Emirates “within 2-4 months”. The law was eventually published in August, although the Executive Regulations providing greater details on the rules only followed in late November. (Read Zawya’s Special Coverage on the introduction of VAT to the Gulf).
2. President gets Police chief’s backing
Earlier in the year, President Donald Trump’s ascent from President-elect to the most powerful job in the world elicited a number of stories surrounding his ongoing interests in the Middle East. By far the most popular among readers was one from February when Dubai’s police chief Dhahi Khalfan Tamim praised the incoming president’s plan to ban people from seven Muslim-majority states from travelling to the United States. Towards the end of the year, however, Tamim was much more critical of the president’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
3. Trumps keep Middle East options open
Zawya also revealed that although Trump stated that the Trump Organization – the family business he placed into a trust run by his sons and his legal advisor after assuming office in January – would not enter into any new overseas deals during his presidency, it renewed website domains for a number of potential business ventures in the Middle East.
4. Battle lines drawn in fight for ecommerce customers
Technology also proved to be a popular topic during the year, and a wave of new investment poured into the sector following the announcement of the year’s most high-profile deal – the acquisition of Dubai-based Souq.com by U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com.
Amazon managed to complete the deal despite a last-minute counter-offer from Emaar Malls, which later went on to acquire online fashion retailer Namshi.
Meanwhile, Emaar Properties’ founder Mohamed Alabbar’s rival firm Noon, which is a combined investment with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and a series of wealthy Gulf-based families, acquired online marketplace Jado Pado, hiring its founder Omar Kassim as chief technology officer. But Zawya revealed that Kassim left the business shortly after.
5. Noon arrives late
Teething problems and personnel issues meant that the launch of Noon came later than expected, but Zawya broke the news of Noon’s eventual launch dates both in the UAE on September 30 and in Saudi Arabia on December 12.
6. JadoPado founder Kassim launches blockchain business
Following his departure from Noon, Zawya also revealed that Jado Pado’s Kassim was to launch a new start-up in the real estate industry based around the blockchain technology.
7. Emaar pulls out of Cityscape
Elsewhere in real estate, Zawya exclusively revealed in September that Emaar Properties would not take part in the 2017 edition of the Middle East’s flagship real estate exhibition, Cityscape Global.
8. Azizi pitches up on Dubai canal banks
During Cityscape, Zawya also revealed that Azizi Developments is planning to launch a one billion UAE dirham ($272 million), twin-towered scheme overlooking Dubai Canal.
9. Jumeirah Central stalls
In October, Zawya broke the news that the $20 billion Jumeirah Central mega-project launched by Dubai Holding at the 2016 Cityscape Global conference was already being reassessed, with many of the key team brought in to oversee the project, including chief operating officer Morgan Parker, deciding to leave the organisation.
10. Ex-Drake & Scull boss sells up
Finally, Zawya revealed in June that Drake & Scull International’s former executive vice-chairman and CEO Khaldoun Tabari had sold his stake in the company to Tabarak Investment, which later became the majority shareholder in the company after completing a 500 million UAE dirham investment in the company in October following a recapitalisation of the firm that saw three quarters of its shares written off to wipe out historic debts.