The Al-Futtaim Group, founded over 70 years ago, has long established itself as one of the leading business groups in the region. The early days saw the Group operating essentially as a trading enterprise, pearls, textiles, foodstuffs and timber forming the foundation of Al-Futtaim's initial business. The 1940s and 50s saw the company extend its capacity and scope of operations, the most obvious example of which was the introduction of Japanese automobiles into the United Arab Emirates in 1955. Today, a work-force numbering upwards of 10,000, forever on the increase, is drawn from over forty nations and engages in a myriad of activities which include Automotive, Electronics, Retail, Insurance, Civil Engineering, Computing, Furnishings, Hardware, Advertising, Construction, Light and Heavy Engineering, Ship Repair, Steel Fabrication, Real Estate and Property Development. The Al-Futtaim Group subscribes to the doctrine of decentralisation and delegation in the organisation of its corporate structure, a policy which is exemplified by the structure of five core divisions: Automotive, Electronics, Retail, Finance & Services, Real Estate These divisions collectively operate over forty companies bearing the Al-Futtaim banner. The latest development by Al-Futtaim is Dubai Festival City, "a city within a city" being developed on a 1,200-acre site which stretches along 4km of Dubai Creek from the base of the Al Garhoud Bridge. This waterfront development promises a unique destination for Dubai and the region with its eclectic, world-class mix of entertainment, dining, shopping to be completed by 2006.