Success story of Yusuff Ali: $4.5 Billion Wealthy Retail King

Yusuff Ali Success Story: Dubai Retail King’s Extraordinary Journey

By Ella Williams Apr 28 2021 2:32PM 14524 Read
Yusuff Ali Success Story: Dubai Retail King’s Extraordinary Journey

M.A.Yusuff Ali is an Indian-born businessman who made a retail revolution in the country in recent times. Starting from Abu Dhabi, Yusuff Ali has expanded his empire to almost 37 countries as of now with employing approximately 50,000+ people. But Yusuff Ali identifies himself as a retail industrialist. He is said to be so patriotic that most proportion of his employees are Indians. He tries to help and solve the problem of unemployment of the non-residents of India. He also owns the title of providing maximum employments to Indians outside India. His current net worth is estimated to be Rs.32,900 Crores. He doesn’t stick only to a single field or department instead plans to expand to every area of business and diversify his service and products.

Yusuf Ali Success Story: Early Life

M.A. Yusuff Ali was born in 1955 in Nattika, Thrissur, Kerala. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon; he was also a usual Indian middle-class kid. His father’s elder brother bought him up as he was doing his schooling in Kerala while his father was running a grocery store in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Initially, he aspired to become a lawyer, but as his whole family was indulged in the business field, ultimately, he also entered the business field. At the age of 15-16, he moved to Ahmedabad and started to help and learn business with his father. Simultaneously he completed his diploma in business administration at the age of 18. It was when people from Kerala used to travel to middle eastern countries as they thought there were good employment opportunities. With the help of foreign exchange, they could earn an ample amount of money. As expected, Yusuff Ali was not among such men who would let go of such an opportunity. While he was doing his diploma, he got his passport and essential documents ready to move to Dubai. It was not that he went there all of a sudden rather, he had a relative who was running a grocery store there as well. So, on 26 December 1973, he left for Dubai when he was 18. He traveled in a ship that took him five days to reach there, and he mentions that it wasn’t an easy journey for him. On 31 December 1973, he reaches Port Rashid in Dubai, and his relative was already present there to welcome him. From the port, it was a 6-6.5 hours travel to Abu Dhabi. UAE wasn’t the same as it is now, before there we not many developments and the temperature was also very high while there was not much air conditioning available there.

Yusuff Ali Success Rules Learn And Execute

He wasn’t a usual person who just does the job assigned; instead, he was very attentive and good at learning and noticed the market there deeply while doing his job. In that observation, he saw a considerable amount of goods being imported like mostly the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods. Looking at the market potential of importing and exporting, Yusuff Ali started to trade simultaneously, doing his job in his relative’s grocery store. Slowly he got the pace and started to grow financially. In his late 20s, he moves to Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore to learn how these chains of supermarkets and hypermarkets work. With such stores, he has a spark incited in him and plans and opens his supermarket in Abu Dhabi at the age of 34. It was a great success than his expectations. That was when he decided to open the biggest supermarket in Abu Dhabi. In the 1990s, the war was going on in the country, and many people returned to Kerala, considering their safety. But as we all know, Yusuff Ali was quite different. Amidst the war, he opened the biggest supermarket in Abu Dhabi in 1995. He did it with quite a considerable investment and commercials having a tagline that meant the people we trust. It shook the entire country, and that is when the king of that time invited him. The king asked what the reason for taking such a decision is and Yusuff Ali explained his vision and the trust that he had in that country. The king understood the potential of the entrepreneur. It gained him the confidence of the UAE officials and government.


Ali has been focusing on fields like retail, manufacturing, and exports, import and distribution, and hospitality. Under retail, he focuses on hypermarkets, supermarkets, and department stores & in manufacturing and exports. He covers food processing, commodities trading, and private label. While in import and distribution, he focuses on fresh and frozen foodstuffs then on retail and wholesale distributions of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Lastly, in hospitality, he covers International Convention Centers, Luxury Hotels, and Travel and Tourism. Recently the Great Scotland Yard was bought by him for a whopping 110m Euros. Not only these, but the man mentioned above is an excellent investor too. His company LuLu Group holds the majority of stake in the company which shook India, none other than the East India Company. He also has 4.5% ownership in the Federal Bank, 5.5% in Catholic Syrian Bank, and 10% in Cochin International Airport. These are the excellent diversification he has made in his portfolio and business strategy by which growth has become an absolute fact in his career.

Yusuff Ali - Notable Appreciations

If we take a look at the awards won by Yusuff Ali, then he would require a separate house to showcase all those. He has won Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award by the then Honorable President of India, Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam, in 2005 & a Padma Shri Award by the then Honorable President of India H.E. Smt.Pratibha Devi Singh Patil in 2008. Not only awards, but Yusuff Ali holds some important positions other than being a chairman of the company. He is the vice-chairman of Norka Roots which is an undertaking of the Kerala Government, the director board member of Cochin and Kannur International Airport Limited. As such, he has many such designations to hold while managing his company as well.

Final Words

So, this was the inspirational Yusuff Ali success story. Though we think he might be such a busy scheduled person, when there is a time of emergency or natural calamity, this man ensures the safety of his employees. He never fails to do service to society, which he thinks it as his duty.

Ella Williams
Ella Williams View More Posts

I am currently the PR and Branding Director of a Chinese finance club and the Assistant Coordinator of Our Own College, Dubai, and Students’ Committee. I am currently a final year student, pursuing a degree in marketing.

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