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Saudi Round-Up: Accelerated International Synergies and Innovation

Weekly Roundups

5 Mar 2024

AstroLabs Team

Our Saudi Round-Up provides you with the Kingdom’s major business news across sectors. This week’s round-up covers general business and economy, aviation, manufacturing, real estate, sustainability, technology, and tourism.

From February 27th to March 4th, 2024

General Business and Economy

Saudi’s Non-Oil Exports to GCC Countries Surge to $5.55 Billion

According to Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Statistics, non-oil exports to Gulf Cooperation Council countries grew by 42%, reaching $5.55 billion in the last quarter of 2023.

This increase was likely influenced by the Kingdom’s growing significance as a logistics hub. In addition to expanding its logistics capabilities, the Kingdom plans to revolutionize its container shipping sector with the help of projects like NEOM, whose container port has a 9 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity.

India’s Enthusiasm for Saudi Arabian Economic Opportunities

Building on the growing ties between India and Saudi Arabia, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry will open a chamber of commerce office in Riyadh.

The Riyadh office will facilitate business and collaboration between India and the Kingdom. Top Indian CEOs and government officials were impressed by the opportunities associated with the NEOM project.

Saudi Minister Lauds Opportunities for Private Investors in Emerging Sectors

The Kingdom’s Minister of Development spoke at Riyadh’s Human Capability Initiative to highlight the extraordinary opportunities offered by the Kingdom’s economic diversification.

He commented that the economy’s targeted growth this decade would mean quadrupling the size and scale of the private sector. This would contribute over $3 trillion worth of investments across multiple sectors, including tourism, finance, healthcare, pharma, biotech, and the digital economy.


World’s Largest Airport Set to Support Ambitious Aviation Objectives

Riyadh’s King Salman International Airport (KSIA) is expected to be the world’s largest airport when it opens its gates in 2030. It will be 57 square kilometers with six parallel runways and should accommodate 120 million passengers during its first 12 months.

KSIA authorities aim for 185 million passengers per year, in alignment with Vision 2030 objectives to grow the tourism sector. To achieve its ambitious goals, the Kingdom intends to invest $100 billion in aviation and to launch air fare connections to over 250 global destinations.


Kingdom’s Position as a Global Manufacturing Hub Attracts Deal with Siemens

Siemens officially opened a new electrical equipment factory in Jeddah on February 29th. It will produce equipment to support manufacturing and infrastructure.

The Saudi Minister of Industry noted how major international companies establishing factories in the Kingdom support Saudi Arabia’s industries. The Kingdom has created a favorable economic ecosystem to attract foreign manufacturing companies and to increase investments, exports, collaboration, and innovation.

Real Estate

Demand for Saudi Office Space Soars Beyond Supply

According to a study by real estate consultancy firm CBRE, occupancy rates for Grade A office properties reached 100% in 2023. More affordable Grade B office properties stood at 99.4% occupancy.

This extraordinary demand is partly due to the Saudi government’s regional headquarters program, which led to more than 200 international firms setting up headquarters in the Kingdom. While workplace real estate supply is increasing, it’s still expected to lag behind strong demand in 2024.


Saudi Carbon Credit Program to Accelerate Green Revolution

Saudi Arabia is going beyond reducing emissions. It is also offsetting them with a carbon credit program.

Giving carbon credits a monetary value is a major, innovative development that incentivizes sustainability for businesses. The credits are an important component of Vision 2030 and the Kingdom’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060.


LEAP Attracts World’s Business Leaders

Leap, the world’s largest tech event, will take place at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Center from March 4th to March 7th. Last year’s event saw 172,000 attendees and the signing of more than $11 billion worth of deals and agreements.

This year’s venue is 170% larger than last year. The event has received 70,000 registrations from abroad, demonstrating Saudi’s position as a global leader in technology and innovation investments.


Dan Company and Tourism Development Fund Sign Saudi Agritourism Deal

The Tourism Development Fund has signed a memorandum of understanding with public investment fund (PIF) subsidiary Dan Company to support agritourism investment.

The fund is committed to developing and enabling tourism investment. It also aims to stimulate the private sector in line with the Kingdom’s objectives for Vision 2030. Investing in agritourism also benefits local communities, contributing to agriculture and a sustainable economy.

Hilton to Open More than 60 Hotels in the Kingdom

Luxury hotel group Hilton plans to open more than 60 hotels across the Kingdom in the coming years. This would mean increasing its presence in the country by four times.

CEP Christopher J Nassetta praised Saudi’s tourism infrastructure. He emphasized that Hilton aims to make a significant contribution to Saudi Vision 2030’s objectives to host 150 million tourists and contribute an additional 10% to GDP by the end of the decade.

Saudi Tourism Fund Signs Deal with New Murabba Development Company

The Tourism Development Fund has signed a memorandum of understanding with New Murabba Development Company. The agreement is expected to increase cooperation and economic growth through the development of New Murabba, which is northwest of Riyadh.

The collaboration is set to redefine the landscape to attract tourism and investment, while prioritizing sustainability, in line with the Kingdom’s goals for Vision 2030.

If you’re thinking of participating in the Saudi story, now would be the perfect time. This week’s Saudi Round-Up demonstrates the widespread innovation, drive, and evolution of the Kingdom when key global decision-makers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders join in the country’s ambitious objectives for Saudi Vision 2030.

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