1. Mohamed Ali Alabaar, chairman and CEO, Emaar

Origin: UAE Residence: UAE The chairman, who has been instrumental in shaping the region’s real estate landscape, is also a trusted advisor to Dubai’s Ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammed. In a sign that Emaar has balanced its books after Dubai’s real estate crisis, the company's shares have nearly doubled in the last year. Charismatic Alabbar runs 60 global companies beneath the Emaar banner.

3. Bakr Bin Laden, chairman, Bin Laden Group

Origin: Saudi Arabia Residence: Saudi Arabia Bakr bin Laden is the chairman of a colossal construction conglomerate, the Saudi Binladin Group. The group has been involved with several major projects in the country, including the King Abdullah Economic City, the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, and the King Saud University. The property giant has also signed a $1 billion deal to build the world’s tallest building, the Kingdom Tower, in Jeddah.

4. Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman, Al Habtoor

Origin: UAE Residence: UAE Over the last year, the 63-year-old chairman has done more than run his founding company Al Habtoor, the Dubai-based conglomerate valued at more than $6 billion. He’s also set up a trust scheme for a suitable successor, launched an autobiography, donated heaters to Syria and postponed his company’s $1.6 billion IPO.

5. Mohammed Bin Ali Al Hedfa, group CEO, Qatari Diar

Origin: Qatar Residence: Qatar Qatari Diar is the property arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. The property firm, whose worldwide portfolio includes 49 projects valued at over $39 billion, has been on a buying spree in Europe, most recently buying the athletes’ village in London’s Olympic park for $906 million along with UK developer Delancey Estates.

7. Yousef Al-Shelash, chairman, Dar Al-Arkan

Origin: Saudi Arabia Residence: Saudi Arabia A pioneer of Saudi Arabia’s property industry, Al-Shelash is the chairman of Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company, the largest developer in the Kingdom. He is currently leading the firm’s plans to buy assets in Asia. A lawyer by profession, Al-Shelash also serves as the chairman and non-executive director of Bahrain based Bank AlKhair.

2. Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, chairman and CEO, MBI International

Origin: Saudi Arabia Residence: Saudi Arabia Saudi billionaire Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber’s conglomerate MBI International has wide reach across many sectors. Its portfolio extends to hotels, real estate, oil and gas and agro- industries in Europe, the Middle East and the US. MBI currently has a net asset value in excess of $9 billion. Al Jaber himself is valued at more than $12 billion, according to recent estimates.

6. Zaha Hadid, director, Zaha Hadid Architects

Origin: Iraq Residence: UK The Iraqi-born architect, who recently won the bid to build the Japan National Stadium (80,000-seats), has designed the London 2012 Olympic Aquatics Centre and opera houses in Dubai and Guangzhou, among many iconic buildings. Known for her contemporary design, she holds the honour of being the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 2004.