Not only is Abu Dhabi competing with the rest of the world, they're competing with Dubai. Nothing helps to promote a place like breaking a world record and Abu Dhabi has been working hard to ensure that it gets it's name on the map. Some of the ways in which Abu Dhabi is number one include:
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has the largest hand-stitched rug, the the largest dome of its type and, I believe, the world's most expensive and gaudy chandelier. The Emirites Palace Hotel is the world's most expensive hotel and was home to the world's most expensive Christmas tree. In addition, the Emirates Palace Hotel was the host of the sale of the world's most expensive license plate. Let's not forget the world's fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World that opened up in November 2010. Nearby there are two buildings being built that are connected by the world's highest bridge connecting two buildings, higher than the bridge connecting the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The Capital Gate is the world's furthest leaning man made tower. Visible from most of the Corniche is the former world's tallest flagpole, second only to a flagpole in North Korea. Both flagpoles are soon to be beat out by a third under construction. The company that produces these record-breaking flagpoles in located in Dubai and will only break records a meter at a time. About an hour drive from Abu Dhabi is the world's largest mobile home parked in the middle of the desert near a number of oversized novelty vehicles.
I'm sure that I'm missing a few, but those are some of the main ones I came up with. I would of course be remiss if I didn't mention a few of the world records achieved by Abu Dhabi's irresponsible little brother, Dubai.
The most obvious is the award for the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. To give the organizers credit, they didn't just break the record by a few meters or by adding a qualifier by putting up a tall antenna, they smashed the record by over a hundred meters. The world's tallest building is next to the world's largest shopping mall. The qualifier of this one is that it is the world's largest mall by total space (as opposed to leasable space of which the Dubai Mall is sixth). I'm not sure, but I'm assuming that the Burj Khalifa isn't included in that. We wouldn't want to forget about the world's largest dancing fountain on the plaza outside the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. Something else that Dubai gets a lot of press for the the world's longest indoor ski slope, located in the Mall of the Emirites. Dubai also has the world's most expensive racetrack containing the world's largest video screen (and in my opinion the world's worst five-star hotel).
Clearly, both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have shown their prowess in world record breaking. It remains to be seen if can continue with this furious pace of impressing the world.