Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2010 (Revised May 2011)

Dubai in Crisis

by Noel Maurer

Abstract

On November 25, 2009, the small city-state of Dubai shook financial markets across the world when the Dubai World holding companies announced that it would ask its creditors to standstill its debts. After three decades of phenomenal growth, something had gone off the rails with Dubai's development model. What caused the trouble? Was it simply a temporary setback or a sign that the city-state needed to change its business model? Could Dubai maintain its independence from Abu Dhabi in the wake of the bailout? And if the emirate's current model was not sustainable, then how exactly should it change? This case explores all these issues, in light of the Great Recession, the geopolitical context, and Dubai's history.

Keywords: Business Model; Development Economics; Financial Crisis; Borrowing and Debt; Business History; Business and Government Relations; Dubai;

Citation:

Maurer, Noel. "Dubai in Crisis." Harvard Business School Case 710-061, March 2010. (Revised May 2011.)