Business Banking

Building a global business from the UAE

With its efficient transport links, world-class infrastructure, and leading position as a regional financial hub, Dubai is globally recognised as an ideal place to do business. That’s why Azad Virgi would choose the UAE if he had to start a company again. “I would start over again in Dubai anytime,” he says without hesitation.

Established in 1996, ADI International specialises in decorated apparel, exporting to 68 different countries globally. Over the years, the company has expanded its range of value-added products. Thanks to Dubai’s favourable business environment and partnerships with global players like HSBC, ADI International currently works for many multinationals around the world.

Quality, speed are critical success factors

Azad believes that quality and lead time are his company’s USPs. “Those are two things that we focus heavily on. Our competitors have a tough time matching our quality and they'll have a tough time matching our supply chain,” he says.

Having been in the market for 23 years, the company recognises the need to stay at the forefront of digital technologies and applications. “We're constantly using the latest technologies,” Azad explains. “We're also using sophisticated ink systems which are constantly evolving, so many components are used to stay ahead of the competition.”

Azad also cites delivery speed as a key factor, describing it as “critical for our business”. ADI International aims to be six times faster than competitors, he says. “Our target for our supply chain is always to make it as fast as possible. The way we do that is by optimising our supply chain. It's an integral part of our business and it's definitely a competitive advantage for us.”

UAE: A bright future for businesses

Azad describes the UAE’s ports and infrastructure as key contributors to his business success. “The infrastructure and the tax advantages, the speed, the port, the airports, they're really unmatched for our business.” Being based in Dubai means that ADI does not encounter the supply chain bottlenecks that its competitors face.

“The airport links every country, every city in the world, and the port connects everywhere we need to go. So that saves us time, not only for our customers, but also for our export as well,” Azad points out.

Despite today’s challenging business climate, Azad is firmly optimistic about the future, arguing that the UAE constantly outperforms other emerging markets due to consistent investment in infrastructure. “It absolutely never stops,” he observes.

A long partnership with HSBC

Working with multinationals requires global contacts and networks. For ADI International, this is where HSBC’s regular events have been essential. “It's very important to get the views of other people in the business community and HSBC provides a great network for that,” Azad says.

Azad recognises HSBC’s solid regional knowledge as a reason for his company’s long relationship with the bank, which has lasted almost 20 years. “They understand the business community.”

The bank’s established global presence is another strength that Azad appreciates. “We open LCs all over the world and it's such a well-recognised bank that for our suppliers, it just instils that extra level of confidence.”

Azad explains that HSBC plays a critical role within his company’s supply chain, helping at all levels of trade. “HSBC best practices on their digital platform has helped eliminate or alleviate the administrative burden.”

He credits his Relationship Manager as a pivotal part of the partnership, saying, “It's great to have somebody that you can just call and who answers on the first ring. There are always issues, there is always work to be done, and they're always ready and happy to help.”

Looking ahead, Azad sees growth in finding both the right project and banking partner. “What we do is we focus on positive net present value projects. In our opinion, that's the way to build a sustainable competitive advantage over a long period of time,” he says. “We know that HSBC is there to evaluate the opportunity and to fund it when the time is right.”

Advice to future leaders

Azad cites creative thinking, analytical reasoning, and intellectual honesty as critical qualities for would-be entrepreneurs. “Intellectual honesty is the most important,” he says. “You’ve got to know when you're wrong, and you’ve got to be willing to accept that. That's the only way you can learn, and to really take it to the next level.”

He also counsels patience, recalling his own start back in 1996. “If I'd come here and given up after two or three years, I wouldn't be where I am today. Patience is a very important part of not just investing in the UAE but investing anywhere. You really have to have a plan and be ready to fail.”

It's very important to get the views of other people in the business community and HSBC provides a great network for that.

Azad Virgi | CEO ADI International

Some parting words from Azad…

What do you want your legacy to be?

“...that on my journey, I help as many people as I possibly could”

What advice do you have for future leaders?

“...for business success, creative thinking, analytical reasoning, and intellectual honesty are absolutely critical ingredients”

What inspires you?

“People who take responsibility for themselves, and in doing so, help others to take responsibility for themselves”

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