Author Archives: Anthony Mills

Stiff Competition

Stiff Competition

Women aren’t allowed to drive there. When they leave the house, they must be accompanied by a male relative. And in public they must wear the all-enveloping abaya at all times. But beneath Saudi Arabia’s socially conservative exterior flourishes one of the hottest lingerie markets in the Arab world – at least according to sales

Lebanon’s key industries splutter along

Before the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s industrialists were a fairly disgruntled lot. Okay, exports were 25% up on the previous year, but energy and communications costs remained astronomically high because of spiraling oil prices and government unresponsiveness or disinterestedness; state bureaucracy was suffocating; the economy was stagnant; and corruption was rampant.

Ready For Take-Off

In the United States today more than a third of all plane tickets are bought on the web, thanks in great part to the fact that 68% of the country’s 328 million inhabitants use the internet – according to – and that the credit card has become almost as ubiquitous as the wristwatch. In

New trade in magazines

The Middle East is witnessing a rise in the number of Arab-published English-language trade magazines, geared specifically towards professionals operating in the region. The surge is being propelled by healthy annual growth in the Middle East’s $2.3 billion advertising sector but the lack of maturity in the market suggests that specialist titles may have to

Building a fashion empire

Wassim Daher would have never imagined when he opened a small multi-brand clothing retail outlet in Hamra in 1978 that over the next 27 years it would grow into a holding group, controlling more than 60 companies spanning the retail, leisure and food and beverage sectors, active in seven different countries on two continents, employing

Menajet ready for takeoff

Menajet, the new, low-cost Lebanese charter airline, is billing itself as the vanguard of no-frills charter business in Lebanon, a challenge that menajet’s chairman and general manager, Riad Mikaoui is confident the airline will meet, but, he admits, his line of work is not the easiest, given current regulatory restrictions. However the company has solid

Small is beautiful: Boutique hotels are in

The buzzword among real estate developers is boutique. As the hotel sector continues to expand with new, bigger hotels – a Hyatt, Four Seasons, and Hilton are all under construction – developers have also hit on the notion that not only is small beautiful, it is also lucrative. It has taken a while for the

Battle of the Titans ends in merger

This year, more than four million cinema tickets will be sold in Lebanon, despite the offer of a cheaper alternative by hundreds of cable TV and DVD pirates. The ABC mall cinema in Achrafieh has finally thrown open its doors – after months of delay. A 12-screen multiplex north of Beirut, reportedly the Middle East’s

Just like mama used to make

Naji Khairallah, owner of Fattoria del Sole (Factory of the Sun), Lebanon’s only producer of Italian cheese, prefers to preface the good news by recounting the bad. The story begins in 1997, when Khairallah, who had spent 30 years in Italy as an interior designer, and an Italian business associate were having dinner in a

Sex and the city, Beirut style

This year, record numbers of Gulf Arabs came to Lebanon. They came for our cooler temperatures, terraced cafés, chic shopping, beaches, and late nights. They came to turn heads with flashy cars with tinted windows, shiny credit cards and designer clothes. They came to drink openly (or discreetly) in bars, clubs, restaurants, and cabarets. And