Saudi Roundup: Innovation Leaps Across Sectors

From the 13th of November to the 19th of November

This week’s Saudi Roundup helps you stay abreast of the latest, most significant business deals across the Kingdom. In addition to covering international trade and economy, this edition spans automotive, aviation, construction and manufacturing, sustainability, technology, tourism, and gaming.

Roundup Spotlight: A $6.9B Currency Swap Agreement between Saudi and China

As the economic ties between China and Saudi deepen and extend beyond hydrocarbon collaborations, the two countries have signed a local currency swap agreement worth SR26 billion ($6.93 billion). The agreement will last for 3 years and can be extended further, is set to strengthen financial cooperation, expand the use of local currencies, and promote trade and investment between Riyadh and Beijing.

China is Saudi’s largest crude oil consumer, importing around $65 billion worth last year, according to Reuters. However, we are now seeing a shift in this relationship as the countries continue to explore opportunities across tourism, security and tech. In the past 3 months alone, the Kingdom and China have signed agreements for modern transport systems, and Saudi Arabia was officially granted Approved Destination Status by China, allowing Chinese citizens to travel to the Kingdom on group tours.

International Trade and Economy

$3.7bn in Foreign Net Inflows for the Saudi Exchange

Tadawul reported that 111 listed companies increased foreign ownership in the first two weeks of November to the amount of $3.7 billion, with the insurance sector leading the increase. 

Earlier in November, The Kingdom’s Investment Ministry revealed foreign direct investments totaling $32.5 billion in 2022. This figure made Saudi Arabia 10th among G20 economies last year.

Google Cloud to Boost Saudi Business

Google has launched a new Google Cloud region in Dammam, which should support startups and small and medium-sized Saudi businesses with advanced and efficient cloud services. 

According to Vision 2030, SMEs, which account for 9 out of 10 businesses and 60% of the Kingdom’s employment, should contribute 35% to the GDP by 2030. 

The Google Cloud project is estimated to contribute $109 billion to Saudi’s GDP between 2024 and 2030, as well as generate 148,600 jobs by 2030. The project should help the Kingdom achieve its ambitions to be a regional computing hub, as well as enhance digital entrepreneurship and AI-based innovation. 

Manga Productions Highlights Gaming Sector Growth at Misk Global Forum

A Misk Global Forum session has highlighted the massive growth of gaming and anime in Saudi Arabia. At the “XP” Misk event last week, Manga Production announced the release of its latest game in partnership with French video game company Microids targeting a growing community of anime and esports fans in the MENA region. 

The esports and gaming market is a multi-billion dollar market expected to reach $13.3 billion by 2030. A future collaboration between the gaming system and Misk Academy is possible to harness the potential of Saudi gaming through talent development, distribution, and marketing.  

Saudi Private Sector Expands in Q3, Including 123,000+ Saudis with 20+ Years of Experience

Corporate stability has seen Saudi’s private sector expand in the third quarter of 2023, demonstrating its economic growth and promising positive prospects for employment. 

An average quarterly growth of 42,000 citizens in the private sector is among the positive employment trends. Out of 10.7 million workers in the Kingdom’s private sector, 2.3 million are Saudi. 

Furthermore, over 123,000 of these Saudi nationals offer more than 20 years of experience. These figures help to demonstrate the continued fulfillment of the Kingdom’s ambition to grow new industries, led by business leads throughout the private sector. 


Petromin Corp. Launches Kingdom’s First EV Maintenance Center

On the heels of Lucid Group opening its first international car manufacturing plant in the Kingdom, Petromin Corporation’s hybrid and electric vehicle maintenance center will support certified technicians with cutting-edge technology, tools, and solutions for modern vehicle owners. 

Global automotive sector is experiencing a 65% rise in electric vehicle sales year on year. While the Kingdom continues to lead environmental preservation and sustainable development, the maintenance center will support diversification away from fossil fuels in favor of sustainable transportation for a safer and healthier future.

Construction and Manufacturing

Saudi-Australian $27m Building and Construction Deal

Abdel Hadi Al-Qahtani and Sons Co. has boosted the Saudi construction, mining, and resources sectors, while strengthening the Kingdom’s existing ties with Australia through a $27 million deal with Australia’s SSS Group. They will collaborate on producing scaffolding systems using Saudi resources. 

The Kingdom has attracted much attention from Australia, with as many as 10 firms per week exploring Saudi across all sectors. The SSS deal will contribute to the advancement of the Kingdom’s construction sector, domestic and export markets, and employment opportunities. 


Saudi Arabia Railways Hydrogen Fueling Stations Deal with Air Products Qudra

The signing of a memorandum of understanding between Saudi Arabia Railways and Air Products Qudra to work together on the development of several hydrogen train fueling stations will increase Saudi’s use of clean energy, reduce carbon emissions, and protect the environment.

The Kingdom has committed to net-zero emissions by 2060, and this deal will play a significant part in Saudi energy transformation over the coming decades.

Clean Energy Sector Employment Overtakes Fossil Fuel Sector

Jobs in clean energy have reached 36.2 million, an increase of more than 20% since 2019, overtaking the fossil fuel industry, which has remained at 31 million jobs. 

These latest figures demonstrate the region’s unprecedented acceleration of sustainable energy projects and Saudi’s commitment to transitioning to green fuel to meet the Kingdom’s energy and climate goals. 


Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Points to Exemplary Adoption of New Technologies

According to Bandar Alkhorayef, Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, the Kingdom is ready to lead the world in modern manufacturing technologies amid a climate of rapid evolution and increasing investment opportunities in the industrial sector. 

The Kingdom’s commitment to the environmental objectives of Vision 2030 has made it one of the most prepared, enabling, and forward-thinking countries.

Tourism and Culture

Sindalah to Become International Yachting Destination

The $500 billion giga-project NEOM will collaborate with Burgess to transform Sindalah into a global yachting destination before the luxury island resort opens in 2024. The Saudi Vision 2030 flagship will provide luxury services to elevate its global yachting capacity and deliver a vital, world-class service to guests visiting the Red Sea.

Sindalah’s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea makes it a key stopping point for boat and yacht owners. The developments will meet the growing demand for superyacht services, which has grown exponentially over the last decade.

NEOM’s New Luxury Tourist Destination

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM has announced Epicon, its new premium tourist destination that will integrate a commitment to sustainability with innovative design in harmony with its environment along the Gulf of Aqaba.

The development will feature a luxury hotel and 41 luxury tourist apartments and residential suites across two iconic towers. A resort with luxury facilities will create a seamless, high-end experience for tourists and residents. 

Epicon is set to underscore Saudi’s commitment to key strategic objectives for sustainability, travel and tourism, and real estate throughout the Kingdom.