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Car Culture: The UAE’s Biggest Cultural Export?

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If you’re a true petrol-head (or gearhead if you’re American) and haven’t been living under a rock for the last decade, then you probably are all too familiar with the UAE’s biggest digital export.

Everyone knows that oil is the UAE’s biggest gross export, as it boasts some of the largest reserves in the world. However, only those in the car industry recognize the true size and power of the emirates most hyped digital or online exporting of automotive pictures, videos and reviews.

Most of the top viewed automotive videos on popular sharing site YouTube are from one of the UAE territories, however most come from uber luxury metropolises like Abu Dhabi and Dubai. These photos and videos of multi-million dollar cars, trucks and SUV’s capture the world’s attention and put the UAE in the spotlight when it comes to online automotive media.

A Massive Industry Presents Massive Opportunity

The automotive industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and that’s not just including vehicle sales.  The popular television show Top Gear, the BBC’s most successful production (in terms of revenue) has an estimated value of tens of millions of dollars alone.

Insanely valuable auto related assets don’t have to be print or televised to be considered multimillion-dollar assets. Social media accounts regularly sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and YouTube videos that go viral can pull in regular 5 figure earnings for their publishers.

The combination of exotic luxury vehicles shared on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat alone from the UAE could easily be appraised as a multi billion-dollar industry. That’s no small industry!

Extreme Everything Drives the UAE’s Magnetism

So the UAE’s automotive digital media assets probably total billions in value, but what makes the UAE so special, compared to other major international cities? Extreme everything. While New York may be full of millionaires and billionaires, they often choose to travel around in chauffeured luxury sedans. This is part preference and part necessity given how densely packed the NYC area is.

The top UAE cities on the other hand are a completely different story. Because they were built recently and are very young, they were planned out in more logical grid like patterns. They are also mostly located in the middle of deserts. This means that wealthy UAE residents can enjoy high end exotic automobiles to their fullest extent, regularly topping them out on long safe straight-aways that many American’s and Europeans simply don’t have access to.

The vast wealth and wide open geographic location of the emirates territories make them very uniquely suited to not only grow a thriving car culture but also regularly exercise that cultures preferences for extreme speeds and extreme driving, drawing in millions of viewers as it does so.

The Automobile in the UAE’s Future

Oil reserves are finite and one day the UAE will not be able to support itself with crude exports alone. The governments are working on diversifying their industries to help transition into a post-oil era. One place they might look is their car culture. Oil has helped foster this hardcore subculture but it’s not required to sustain it.

Car lovers around the world will always want to seek out videos and pictures of the latest and greatest, the lightest and fastest, loudest and shiniest vehicles and the UAE has always delivered and would benefit to do so into the future as well.

Through the continued development of digital asset, social media growth and online publications like blogs, the UAE can cement itself as a world leader in the premium car market as a top purveyor of the high end and the exhilarating.