Our History


The origins of the SIIL family of businesses run as deep and wide as the shifting sands of the Arabian desert. The company was founded as ‘Salam Studios’ by Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa, a photographer and aspiring businessman who at a very early age left his birthplace in Palestine to seek better opportunities in the Arabian Gulf.

Arriving to work on the oilfields outside Doha, Qatar in 1947, Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa brought with him one of the first cameras ever seen in the country. More importantly, he also carried with him an ingrained talent for capturing the essence of the land and the personality of its people on film in a unique and innovative way.

At the time photography was an entirely new concept in Qatar and his photographs attracted the imagination of Qataris to the highest levels. Legend has it this interested extended the then-Emir himself, HH Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani, who commissioned Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa take a series of portraits of the royal family and allowed him free reign to photograph much of the country.

The commercial history of Salam as an organization dates back to 1952 when Abdul Salam Abu Issa opened ‘Salam Studio’, the first photographic studio and film processing laboratory in Doha. In 1954, he then converted the adjoining restaurant into a gift shop, renaming the combined establishment, ‘Salam Studio & Stores’.

From there the business flourished, expanding and evolving into the successful company we see today – Salam International Investment Limited (SIIL). While a thriving and progressive multinational corporation, the company has never forgotten its humble origins, forged as a family business, one built on the passion, integrity and old-fashioned hard work of Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa and the generations to follow.


1952 – 1982

Department store establishment and regional expansion

1983 – 2002

Diversification into conglomerate businesses

2002 – 2008

Initial Public Offering (IPO) and vertical and horizontal expansion of organisation

2005 – 2017

Focus on real estate, digitization and the creation of critical mass in other businesses

2015 – 2018

Consolidation of businesses, redefinition of company direction and streamlining of operations and investments.




Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa arrives in Qatar from Haifa, Palestine to work as a welder on the Dukhan to Mesaieed pipeline for the country’s first oil exports.


Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa buys his first camera and showcases his talent for capturing the countryside and people of Qatar on film, including then Emir HH Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani, who commissions him to take portraits of the royal family.


Now Qatar’s only professional photographer, Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa also opens ‘Salam Studios’, a small retail outlet selling and processing film and retailing a small selection of imported camera equipment.


Salam Studios’ becomes ‘Salam Studio & Stores’ and Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa extends the size of his first photographic shop, by turning a neighbouring restaurant into a gift shop, beginning a pattern of expansion and extension for the company that endures to this day.

Early 1960s - Salam secures business relationships and sales and distribution agreements with prominent international brands, such as Canon and Estee Lauder.


The original showroom becomes to small and Salam expands again into larger premises.


Salam becomes the first Qatari company among its ilk of all the large Doha-based local family businesses to begin trading in another country: in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 1966. In 1967 another store followed in Dubai and then Oman in the 1980s, with many more across the region to follow in subsequent years


Another store follows in Dubai and then Oman in the 1980s, with many more across the region to follow in subsequent years.


Salam enters the interiors and fit-outs sector, with a projects portfolio that now includes commercial projects such as corporate offices, shops, shopping malls, hotels and banks, as well as residential projects, ranging from villas and apartment buildings to palaces.


Third Salam Store opens in Al Sadd, Qatar.


Salam opens a store in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.


After studying internationally, Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa’s sons Issa Abdul Salam Abu Issa and Hussam Abdul Salam Abu Issa join the company in leadership positions, ensuring the business remains within the immediate family.


Salam Plaza, the first multi-story mixed use commercial building is opened in Doha’s West Bay.

– 35 YEARS


The next generation of the business starts.


Salam establishes a ‘Grade A’ General Contracting Division dealing with project management and construction of sizeable commercial, industrial and residential projects, one that now offers offering turnkey contracting solutions across the Middle East region.


Salam lists on what was then the Doha Securities Market.

Late 1980s - Salam expands into the Oil and Gas sector, with business units in this industry now covering a wide range of products, equipment and services for the energy industry in both upstream and downstream services.


Salam establishes Qatar Gardens, which quickly becomes one of the leading landscaping and irrigation contractors in the country, as well as Alu Nasa in aluminium and glazing.


Salam begins contracting works in the Middle East region.


Salam Enterprises Qatar begins trading in the corporate fit-outs and related markets.

Mid- to late-1990s - Salam expands further into the Middle East, opening additional business entities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE.


Salam lists on what was then the Doha Securities Market.


Salam Holdings merges into Salam International. Now encompassing studios, stores and divisions for wholesale, retail merchandise and services serving the entire Gulf, under the company umbrella, Salam Holdings then goes public.


SIIL embarks on a process of implementation of ERP systems, Corporate Strategy, Processes Enhancement and Corporate IT structures.


Salam Group merges into Salam International Investment Limited (SIIL), completes all M&A activity, and also enters the steel and engineering sectors.


Salam Bounian, a specialized Real Estate Development and Investment company is formed.


Salam Studio & Stores – now a leading up-market retailer offering over 600 designer labels of the world’s best in fashion and accessories; beauty and fragrances; jewellery and watches; gifts; home and photography and technology – launches its new brand identity.


Salam Studio & Stores opens its new flagship store in Wafi Mall, Doha, which wins Retail ME’s Best Store Design award the same year.


The Third Generation, Mr. Abdul Salam Abu Issa grandson of the founder, joins SIIL.



The Third Generation, Mr. Abdul Salam Abu Issa grandson of the founder, joins SIIL.


The Gate, a mixed-used development in the heart of Doha’s West Bay, is completed.


SIIL elects a Board of Directors, naming then-CEO Issa Abdul Salam Abu Issa SIIL Chairman and Hussam Abdul Salam Abu Issa as Vice-Chairman.


SIIL identifies businesses that can go abroad such as Interiors and Technology.


Issa Abdul Salam Abu Issa’s son, AbdulSalam Abu Issa, assumes the reigns of Salam International as new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) after six years as the company’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer (COO). Issa Abdul Salam Abu Issa remains SIIL Chairman and Hussam Abdul Salam Abu Issa as Vice-Chairman.