Dubai Prince set to return to Hong Kong to open family office

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CEO of Sheikh Ali Rashed Ali Saeed Al Maktoum

21st May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Eleanor Jane Mak, CEO of Sheikh Ali Rashed Ali Saeed Al Maktoum’s Hong Kong office, has announced the forthcoming inauguration of the Dubai Sheikh’s US$500 million family office in Hong Kong, expected by the end of May. This follows a previously delayed launch due to undisclosed urgent matters that had drawn significant public scrutiny.

The inauguration, originally scheduled for March, was postponed, stirring a wave of media interest partly due to the Sheikh’s recent shift from a career in music to sustainable investing. The delay and Sheikh Ali’s diverse interests have fueled discussions about his commitment to his new ventures.

Mak highlighted that the forthcoming event is poised to “clear the air” and strengthen business ties in the region. Despite a potential delay into June due to scheduling conflicts, preparations are moving forward, with the Sheikh planning to engage in charitable activities and explore partnerships during his visit.

In an effort to minimise the focus on the Sheikh’s royal background, a name change for the office is under consideration.

The media attention in Hong Kong has reportedly taken Sheikh Ali by surprise, contrasting sharply with the media norms regarding royal family members in the UAE. This has led to the engagement of public relations professionals to better manage the office’s public image.

Sheikh Ali’s office is currently under maintenance, with only limited information available online. Mak is also overseeing the setup of the shareholding structure and continuing business discussions, which include the introduction of Chinese technology innovations to the UAE.

Mak, who is also a director at China New Energy Skyrail International, revealed that Sheikh Ali expressed interest in her company’s monorail technology during their initial meeting. A memorandum of understanding was subsequently signed in January to explore the development of this system in the Gulf states.

Adding to the complexity of Sheikh Ali’s international business interests, recent reports emerged claiming that he had received an invitation from the Singaporean government to establish a family office there. However, these claims were promptly denied by Sheikh Ali’s office, which labeled them as “serious misinformation.” The denial was issued following speculations sparked by Aaron Shum Wan-lung, founding president of the Hong Kong – Middle East Business Chamber, who initially circulated the invitation story. This incident underscores the heightened scrutiny and often speculative coverage surrounding the Sheikh’s business maneuvers as he expands his footprint in Asia. Despite the confusion, the focus remains firmly on the upcoming launch of his Hong Kong office, which is pivotal to his strategic business interests in the region.