Saudi Arabia Attracts Investment from Global Giants

Saudi Arabia is attracting new office openings from companies looking to tap into a surge in direct investments overseas.

Reforms in the Kingdom have opened it to foreign investors and enterprises, increasing employment for Saudi nationals and reducing dependency on oil.

Recently, Salini Impregilo, an Italian infrastructure titan sealed a $1.3 billion agreement with the Saudi National Guard to provide urban planning and housing services east of the capital Riyadh.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority on March 23rd awarded a consortium of Saudi and US businessmen a license to build a multibillion-dollar property development over 9.75 million square meters in Riyadh.

As for the leisure and entertainment sector, businesses overseas are likely to provide tens of thousands of jobs for the Kingdom’s nationals, after last year’s lifting of the cinema ban.

AMC Entertainment based in Kansas in the US recently signed a deal with the Minister of Culture and Information to open nearly 40 cinemas in 15 cities in across the kingdom over the next 5 years. The first opened in the capital on April 18th attracting a lot of publicity.

The largest amusement park company, US based Six Flags also signed a deal recently with PIF to design and develop an amusement park in Qiddiya. This will be the first sports, cultural and entertainment venue in the Kingdom. It is set to open in 2022. It will also be the first park developed by Six Flags outside of the American continent.

A Joint Venture was also announced in February by Vue, a British cinema with Abdulmohsin Al-Hokair Holding Group revealing it is to open 30 multiplex cinemas in the Kingdom in the next few years.

Elsewhere, Saudi Aramco in March signed a preliminary deal to pursue international gas opportunities with the Royal Dutch Shell Company. The Dutch company said that the deal would involve gas projects across Saudi Arabia, as well as the world. The company said that concrete projects will be publicized shortly.

The speed of overseas investment in the Kingdom has risen in the previous 12 months, with the PIF investing $3.5 billion into Uber, and teaming up with Blackstone in a $40 billion program of infrastructure investment.

Thanks to a $20 billion joint venture with Aramco in the Sadara petrochemicals plant, Dow is now the largest foreign investor in Saudi Arabia.

A recent report by the World Bank, “Doing Business in 2018,” found that Saudi Arabia had implemented 6 key reforms that means it is now easier to start a business in Saudi Arabia, enforce contracts, register property, and trade across borders in the Kingdom.

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