Saudi Round Up: Big Stakes in Sports, Tourism, and Automobile 

From the 23rd of October to the 5th of November

Our Saudi Round-Up series keeps you up to date with the latest industry developments and key business news across the Kingdom. In this edition, we bring you a comprehensive overview of significant developments spanning the realms of sports, tourism, automotive innovation, economic growth, industrial expansion, energy, FinTech advancements, and transformative construction projects.


Saudi Arabia set to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup 

A Saudi World Cup is merely the pinnacle of Saudi Vision 2030, a natural next chapter in Saudi’s milestones of growth and global integration. Fueled by determination and passion, characteristic of the country and its people, this milestone is expected to be Saudi’s grand canvas unfolding on a global stage.

The global event opens the track for a plethora of opportunities for the construction and tourism industries – presenting an economic cornerstone for the Kingdom. Read more here.

Saudi eyes a $30 billion stake in IPL, the world’s richest cricket league

As Saudi and India strengthen their economic ties, the Kingdom has expressed its interest in the Indian Premier League, a cricket tournament ecosystem where the average team is worth more than a billion dollars. According to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s advisers have spoken to Indian government officials about moving the IPL into a holding company valued at as much as $30 billion.

This is one of the many moves Saudi Arabia has made to harness the immense potential of the sports industry as a catalyst for economic growth — the $700 billion Public Investment Fund has also invested in Formula 1, WWE,  European soccer, and the new African Football League. 

Automotive and Mobility

Saudi’s NEOM Investment Fund Invests in Automotive and Mobility Technology

The USD $100 million investment in Pony.AI coincides with a joint venture to propel the development, manufacture, and delivery of autonomous vehicles, an autonomous driving service, and the infrastructure for smart vehicles. NEOM also partnered with Regent to develop water mobility in the region via electric seaglider technology. Regent is to establish a regional training and R&D hub.

These investments not only foster innovation but also pave the way for the development of autonomous vehicles and sustainable mobility solutions, aligning with the broader goals of Saudi Vision 2030

Economy and Planning Minister Focuses on Electric Vehicles and Global Exports

Faisal Al-Ibrahim, Saudi Minister for Economy and Planning, said that Saudi is focusing on electric vehicles and internal combustion engines, which will have a positive impact on industry and manufacturing, citing the importance of Saudi human resources and noting that Saudi outpaced all G20 nations’ growth last year. 


The Kingdom Revises Targets to 150 Million Visitors by 2030

On track to achieve its goal of receiving 100 million visitors to the Kingdom (and 6% of contribution to GDP) by 2030, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has revised its targets to 150 million visitors

About half of these visitors are expected to be international travelers, fueled by an expanding middle class in China and India. The ministry will invest more than $800 billion to serve the tourism sector over the next decade.

Kingdom to Invest $426.72 Billion Through Partnerships

The Minister of Transport and Logistics, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser said that the Kingdom will invest $426.72 billion through private sector and international partnerships over the next 10 years to increase tourism to more than 100 million visitors per year and pilgrims and Umrah visitors to more than 30 million.

According to Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih, “the Kingdom offers unmatched political and economic stability.” 


Saudi Records a 53% Growth in Non-oil Revenues 

With the Kingdom accelerating its journey to diversify its economy from being solely oil-driven, the performance of the non-oil sector is rising tremendously. Non-oil revenues accounted for 43% of Saudi’s total revenues in September, jumping from 24% recorded in last year’s September. 

The sector’s revenue amounted to SAR 111.53 billion signifying a strong push towards economic stability in the Kingdom. As the Saudi economy expands, it invites international and regional companies to set up and fast-track their growth in the Gulf, learn more about expanding to Saudi here:

“Incentives and Benefits and Support” for Multinationals Headquartering in the Kingdom by 2024

Faisal Al Ibrahim, Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning, said: “There’s a slew of incentives and benefits and support.” With several thousand foreign investors at the FII conference in Riyadh, he added: “[Operations] can leverage the young talent that’s available in Saudi, Saudi talent, and leverage the rest of the platform for them to even grow more competitively to other regions.”

Earlier last week, our Director of Expansion appeared on Dubai Eye’s Bitesize Business Breakfast to shed light on the benefits of gaining an RHQ license and why international companies are now on move to avail this opportunity. Read more about it here.


Augustus Media has joined forces with Saudi’s Ministry of Investment and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s Ignite programme. The publisher of Lovin Saudi, originally began its journey at AstroLabs in Dubai in 2017, and was among the first companies we expanded to Saudi Arabia in 2019.

Richard Fitzgerald, founder, and CEO of Augustus Media, sheds light on the purpose and potential impact of this collaboration in an exclusive conversation with AstroLabs: “The Ignite Programme aims for digital content creation and media production to triple the Kingdom’s digital content market size in gaming, audio, video, and advertising“. Read more here.


Saudi Industrial Sector Surges with 174 New Licenses in September

Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector continues to thrive, with the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources granting 174 industrial licenses in September, a substantial increase from the 136 licenses issued in August. This substantial growth brings the total number of permits issued in the first nine months of the year to 969, demonstrating the nation’s commitment to bolstering the industrial and mining sectors while making strides toward sustainable development.

Alongside this impressive milestone, the statement also disclosed that these licenses were tied to a substantial volume of investments, amounting to SR5.3 billion ($1.41 billion) for the month of September.


Saudi and South Korea Sign 46 Partnership Deals Worth $30 Billion

Among 46 Saudi-South Korean agreements and corporate deals worth $30 billion across economic, technology, and energy sectors, Saudi Aramco and Korea National Oil have agreed to a joint oil storage business; Aramco will also work with Korea electric Power, Posco Holdings, and others on ammonia production; and the Hydrogen Oasis Initiative will foster the growth of sustainable, clean energy. 

Read more on what this means for Saudi’s economy here.


Tribal Credit, Cashin, and Takadao Lead Saudi FinTech Transformation

US-based financial solutions firm Tribal Credit recently renewed its $150 million debt facility to power its expansion into the Kingdom. 

Cashin has acquired Cardless, a strategic move that should help Cashin cater to the retail sector’s evolving needs with as many as 20,000 merchants issuing virtual cards and earning commissions.

Saudi fintech startup Takadao raised $1.6 million during a pre-seed funding round led by transformative investor Tim Draper.


Rapid Growth for Saudi’s Construction Sector

According to Jerry Todd, head of the Public Investment Fund’s National Development Division, Saudi’s well-established construction and building material sector is looking at rapid growth, with $2.1 trillion in the pipeline at the country level over the next eight years. 

As we wrap up this edition of our Saudi Round-Up series, surely we can see the remarkable progressive strides of Saudi’s economy and how the Kingdom is in the midst of an exciting transformation. Stay tuned to learn more about this transformative journey every week on Tuesdays.