In business, there are few men as crucial as Jameel. The Sultan of Brunei is one of the world’s most influential leaders and businessmen. As the ruler of one of the wealthiest monarchies globally, he has the power to shape policy in his own country and beyond. A leader who can set the agenda for a generation, Jameel has an unparalleled understanding of global markets, culture, and trends.
The Making of a Brunei Businessman
Brunei’s economy is driven by a small group of industries, including tourism, finance, construction, and manufacturing. Its biggest employer is the government, with large numbers of government employees, public servants, and contractors. Its primary source of income comes from oil, gas, and mining, with the remainder coming from government revenue and foreign investment. The country is relatively self-sufficient in food, transportation, and power.
Jameel’s Car Dealer
In his youth, he drove a delivery truck for a car dealership in his hometown of Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Brunei. In 1974, he quit his job to start his car dealership, named Hassan Motors. It quickly became one of the most successful car dealers in the country, with branches across the country and a network of sales and service facilities throughout Asia. By the end of the decade, his Motors had expanded to become one of the world’s largest privately-owned car dealerships.
Jameel’s Early Investments
Jameel’s first significant investment was in a grocery store chain in Malaysia in the 1980s. The company was renamed Sime Darby after a Darussalam Bank in Singapore that he had bankrolled. The bank had a cash surplus and wanted to invest it in the stock market, but Hassan Jameel could not invest in the stock market due to his poor financial condition. Instead, he lent the bank cash, and in return, the bank lent him shares in Sime Darby.
In the 1990s, Hassan Jameel made a series of investments that would dramatically expand his business empire. He invested in casinos in both Macau and Las Vegas in the first phase. The casinos were poorly designed and managed, but they offered an excellent opportunity for investors to gain access to a lucrative industry and lucrative demographics.