What’s in a name?
A lot. And experts say that it is going to be a while before people around the world start calling Burj Dubai, “Burj Khalifa.”
January 5, 2010 12:10 by Aarti Nagraj
The world’s tallest building is finally open. In a bright and spectacular ceremony, Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum inaugurated the great tower on January 4. And, in a surprise move, he announced that it was to be renamed “Burj Khalifa.”
Sheikh Mohammed said that the tower, formerly Burj Dubai, was renamed after Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, and that it “reflected greatness.”
And it is a great achievement; the building – now revealed to be 828 meters tall – took five years to build and was worked on by around 12,000 people. According to developer Emaar Properties, it cost a hefty $1.5 billion.
The burj was originally intended to put Dubai on the world map, and more recently (in the aftermath of the city’s debt problems) many people have seen it as a symbol that Dubai can rise again. So it came as a surprise and a shock when it was renamed Burj Khalifa.
Some international media reports are speculating that Abu Dhabi’s financial support (bailing out Dubai after the emirate’s debt crisis) had something to do with the renaming. Officials have chosen to ignore this suggestion, however, saying instead that the new name will help integrate the unity of the UAE as a country.
Abed Bibi managing partner of branding agency Wolff Olins in Dubai, agrees. “I think this was a very good move to show the connection between the cities [in the UAE], which is great. It will only boost the UAE and not any particular city. So I think the strategy worked well,” he says.
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