Al Yousuf is a glowing symbol of what can be achieved when the private sector and national leadership share a single vision in partnership to realize their joint aims.

Led by its founder and chairman, Yousuf Habib Al Yousuf, Al Yousuf has played - and continues to play – a major role in the emergence of the UAE, and Dubai in particular, as the economic model for the region. But the success of this multi-faceted enterprise could not have been achieved without successive generations of the Dubai ruling family creating the environment and infrastructure in which business could flourish.

Founded on the back of the sale of shipment of rice husks from the Sub Continent, the company has grown into a multi-million dirham conglomerate with operations ranging from motor vehicles, auto rental and real estate development to home electrical appliances, state-of-the-art electronics and computer operating systems. Its manufacturing base includes the production of wide range of fiberglass (FRP) boats as well as bitumen-based membranes for use in construction.

From its new head office on Sheikh Zayed Road, along Dubai’s rapidly expanding southern corridor, Yousuf Habib Al Yousuf and his sons run a network of offices and showrooms that currently stretches across the UAE, the Gulf and the region. Its markets, however, reach far beyond the Middle East, into the Indian Sub-Continent, Asia, Europe and the US.

Al Yousuf Motors’ portfolio, for example, includes General Motors and Daihatsu vehicles; Daewoo buses; Yamaha motorcycles, outboard and marine engines, water vehicles, generators and boats; and Suzuki motorcycles and outboard engines. The Information Technology division handles brands such as Avaya, Western Digital, NEC and Epson. Al Yousuf Electronics has the agency for LG Electronics.

The company has grown remarkably through aggressive marketing and the continuous addition of new agencies and businesses. Since 1986, turnover has grown 5-fold, a mark of the confidence the financial community has in the future of the Al Yousuf. It has a network of subsidiaries and associate companies in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and its staff today total more than 1,000.

Al Yousuf is constantly seeking new opportunities to partner with regional and world brands that are themselves looking to expand to new markets. Increasingly, these companies are recognizing the advantages of partnering with Al Yousuf – an organization that has strengthened immeasurably over more than 50 years.

2003 marked the official 50th anniversary of the company that has become one of the most significant commercial groups in the Middle East.

It was in 1953 that Yousuf Habib Al Yousuf registered his enterprise with the then fledgling Dubai Municipality. But the roots of Al Yousuf LLC lay generations back when the family began small-scale trading around the Gulf and the Arabian Sea.

The first hints of Yousuf Habib Al Yousuf’s entrepreneurial talents emerged when, at the age of 15, his father sent him to the Indian subcontinent to buy rice to sell in Sharjah, the commercial focal point of what was then the Trucial State. No rice was available. Instead he bought rice husks, for use as an agricultural fertilizer, and shipped them to the emirate.

Following the successful sale of the husks, the young man decided to stay in Sharjah and began trading in foodstuffs,

textiles and gold from India and Pakistan and Gulf pearls. But with no banks inSharjah, he had to take his receipts to a bank in Dubai, a half-day trip on the back of a donkey along the beach since no roads, existed at that time.

Gold trading now became Yousuf Habib Al Yousuf’s most important activity. With Dubai emerging as the local financial center and, at the invitation of the ruler, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, he moved his headquarters to the fledgling city, counding one of Dubai’s first bullion exchange houses.

The young Al Yousuf joined the informal Majlis of key entrepreneurs hosted daily by Sheikh Rashid who, upon recognizing the young man’s entrepreneurial spark, helped him find direction for his enterprises. Sheikh Rashid let Yousuf Habib Al Yousuf and other in establishing Dubai Electricity in the 1950s and encouraged him to become a founding director of the National Bank of Dubai in 1961.

The enterprising young man was also the prime mover in setting up Dubai’s telephone service with Cable & Wireless, which initially provided a total of 500 lines to the city.

Trading, however, remained the core business – the company was Dubai’s largest importer of sugar and rice. Its former logo reflected these roots – a palm tree, as a symbol of the region, together with a camel and sailing dhow, signifying the two traditional prime means of transporting goods.

In 1963, Al Yousuf began to take the shape that it has today when Yousuf Habib Al Yousuf secured the agency for Yamaha motorcycles, a franchise the Company still represents. It was a leap of faith, for Dubai still had no paved roads. Yamaha commercial outboard engines, which followed, rapidly became – and still remain – the first choice for the Emirate’s fishing fleet.

The company moved into motor vehicles in 1969 when, with the franchise of Daihatsu Motors, Japan, the Automotive division was set up as an autonomous business within the Group. The first showroom, covering only 400 sq ft was situated in the downtown area of Deira with just three staff. Other agencies followed, most significantly Suzuki motorcycles and outboard engines in 1976, General Motors Chevrolet vehicles and Buick cars in 1977 and Daewoo Motors in 1985. Today, Al Yousuf Motors operates from a 160,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art headquarters on Sheikh Zayed road, has a branch network across the UAE and employs well over 600 people.

In 1965, the company’s Electronics arm was founded with several franchises from East Asia. The agency for Gold Star air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines was secured in 1977. In 1998, when the brand became LG, growth was explosive and the range of products extended to projection TVs, audio systems, microwave ovens and other electrical appliances.

It was a natural expansion from electronics into computer technology in 1983. Al Yousuf IT, through its Distribution company partnering with many of the top world class brands, is now one of the leading suppliers of IT equipment and software in the region with a healthy export market as well as strong domestic customer list. Its Future Technology division designed and implemented the systems that have helped make the customer contact centers of Etisalat, the UAE telephone company, and Q-Tel, the Qatar telephone service, among the most efficient in the world.

By 1979, the company began importing Yamaha boats for both pleasure craft and commercial use. In 1993, the Al Yousuf Industrial division opened a factory to manufacture boats under licence from Yamaha. To date, more than 1700 boats have been produced including many pleasure cruisers, a number to the company’s own design.

The Real Estate operation has thrived throughout the company’s history in Dubai. Its development of Dubai’s first “smart building” on the Dubai Creek sets a new standard for high-end luxury living and technological connectivity in the UAE. It has also been instrumental in providing the Al Yousuf’s showrooms and industrial premises and it was responsible for developing the group’s landmark – the new headquarters on Sheikh Zayed Road.

A far cry from the tiny rented space where the young Yousuf Habib Al Yousuf founded the multi-million dirham business that carries his name.