By Innovation-sa on April 23, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia is on the run to achieve its dream economic transformation plan, Vision 2030, and is undertaking several reforms to diversify its economy and one major focus is on the tourism and entertainment sector.

A panel of experts who are set to meet at the Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference on 2-3 May 2018 noted that entertainment and culture will be the most sought-after investment sector in the Kingdom within a few years.

The Conference, held in association with the Ministry of Finance, will study how the growth of this new sector has contributed to the Kingdom’s economy, employment opportunities and investment prospects for foreign investors.

The Kingdom has already set aside $64 billion for the growth of arts, tourism, and entertainment over the next 10 years and expects a boom in the entertainment and cultural sector.

Established in 2016 to revolutionize the Kingdom, the General Entertainment Authority has already had a transformative impact on the Saudi Arabian economy and culture by hosting more than 2,000 successful events like jazz festivals, operas, Saudi Fashion Week and even monster truck rallies in just one year.

As the 35-year old ban on cinemas came to an end as part of the Kingdom’s liberalization drive, international entertainment companies have begun to establish their presence in the Kingdom to operate cinemas. In addition, globally renowned amusement park companies like Six Flags have announced their grand entry to the Kingdom in a few years adding to the growth of entertainment sector in the Kingdom.

Victoria Behn, Euromoney Conference’s Director of the Middle East and Africa, stated “There is international interest in the growth of Saudi Arabia’s cultural sector both from a social perspective and also as a significant investment opportunity. It has provided one of the most visible signs of change taking place in the Kingdom and is also a fascinating case study in the financial contribution that arts and entertainment can make to an economy”.

The addition of entertainment investment to the Conference’s agenda this year in addition to sessions on debt and equity capital markets, small and medium businesses, real estate, and the state of the wider global economy in 2018, reflects both the growing diversity of the Saudi economy as well as Euromoney Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the regional financial sector.


By Innovation-sa on April 15, 2018 in News

As part of Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman’s Paris visit, 20 economic pacts worth $18 billion were signed between Saudi Arabia and France, reported Al Arabiya TV.

MoUs were inked between Saudi And French companies in several sectors including energy, petrochemicals, trade, aviation, water treatment, tourism, health, agricultural and cultural activities.

State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco entered into a major agreement with French petrochemical giant Total. The first deal worth $7.2 billion is to establish a new petrochemical complex in collaboration with SATORP, and the other is a trade agreement worth $3 billion.

Another agreement was signed in the aviation sector between Saudi Arabia’s Fly NAS and General Electric-Safran to establish a $5.5 billion joint venture between General Electric and Saudi-based Safran for manufacturing plane engines.

In addition, Saudi Crown Prince and French President Macron discussed a “strategic partnership” that could lead to a contract when Macron visits Saudi Arabia by the end of 2018.



By Innovation-sa on April 8, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia will open its first cinema in over three decades on April 18 in Riyadh, after the ban on cinema was lifted last year as part of the Kingdom’s liberalization drive.

Last year, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) partnered with US movie exhibition company AMC Entertainment Holdings to explore and invest in cinema business in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information granted a license to AMC Entertainment to open 40 cinemas across 15 Saudi cities over the next five years.

“AMC plans to open the Kingdom’s first cinema theatre in Riyadh on April 18,”, the information ministry’s Centre for International Communication said in a statement.

The cinemas will not be segregated by gender like several other public places in the Kingdom and the first screening will be Marvel’s superhero movie “Black Panther”, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.

To serve a population of more than 32 million, most of whom are under the age of 30, Saudi Arabia plans to set up around 350 cinemas with more than 2,500 screens across the Kingdom by 2030.

The reforms are part of an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom reels from an oil crash since 2014 and cinemas are expected to generate a revenue of more than $1 billion in ticket sales annually.

By Innovation-sa on April 8, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) signed an agreement with globally renowned amusement park company, Six Flags, to design and develop a Six Flags-branded amusement park in Riyadh amid wide-ranging social reforms in the Kingdom.

Six Flags will design, develop and license the Six Flags brand for Qiddiya, the Kingdom’s first entertainment, sports and cultural spot, which is located 40 km away from the center of Riyadh and is set to open in 2022.

The deal will probably include three parks, the first of which will open in 2020 or 2021, Executive Chairman Jim Reid-Anderson said. In addition to the park in Qiddiya, the others, each costing around $300 to $500 million to construct, are set to be built in Jeddah and at a resort elsewhere in the western Red Sea coast.

“Qiddiya, a key project within the Kingdom’s entertainment sector, will play an important role in the development of Saudi Arabia’s economy and the realization of the ambitions of Vision 2030. The first Six Flags-branded amusement park in the Kingdom forms another part of the development of the sector which will help to create jobs and opportunities for young Saudi people.”, stated PIF about the deal.

“We see great potential in the Saudi Arabian market and look forward to collaborating with PIF to create a world-class entertainment destination for Saudi Arabia’s young and dynamic population”, David McKillips, President of Six Flags International Development Company commented on the agreement.


By Innovation-sa on April 3, 2018 in News

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) confirmed that around 83 percent of jobs in shops selling women’s accessories and dress have been feminized and nationalized.

The Ministry’s official spokesman Khalid Aba Al-Khail informed that field inspectors have been organizing inspection tours in malls, commercial centers, and shops across the country to evaluate the extent to which the ministry’s decision to feminize and nationalize jobs in shops selling women’s accessories have been put into action. Of the 96,000 establishments inspected, over 79,300 establishments have adhered to the government’s decision while 16,400, which is around 17 percent, have not.

The field inspectors discovered 13,300 violations during their examinations. 31 percent of the violations, representing 4,200 cases, failed to Saudize jobs while 55 percent (7,300 cases) violators failed to feminize jobs in their establishments.

Earlier in November 2017, the third phase of feminization and Saudization of jobs in shops involved in the sale of women accessories was launched. It included shops selling perfumes, shoes, stockings, bags, ready-made garments, kiosks selling women’s accessories, stand-alone shops selling wedding gowns, abayas, garments, child-care and pharmaceutical items.


By Innovation-sa on April 3, 2018 in News

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) announced in a statement that the regulations for tourist visas have been completed in cooperation with the ministries of interior and foreign affairs and submitted to higher government authorities for further approval, the Center of International Communication (CIC) quoted.

The new regulations were formulated and reviewed in a series of intensive meetings and workshops with relevant government authorities, investors, tourism and transport workers, and groups of service providers.

A specialized team, under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, has developed an integrated electronic system to carry out all visa related processes in government and private agencies.

SCTH is working in accordance with the National Tourism Development Strategy, formulated in 2004, to develop and popularize tourist visas that had earlier been granted for a limited period. The statement added that the Kingdom’s National Transformation Program 2020 has adopted tourist visa as one of its key initiatives with high economic feasibility.

Earlier this year, Prince Sultan Bin Salman, the President of SCTH told that the Kingdom is making big strides towards attracting tourists from abroad and affirmed its commitment to local values and culture.

With the growth of its tourism sector, Kingdom aims to create more job opportunities and diversify its revenue beyond oil and thereby contribute to Saudi Arabia’s dream program Vision 2030.


By Innovation-sa on March 29, 2018 in News

Much to the relief of the Kingdom’s construction industry which is struggling from an economic slowdown, Saudi Arabia has announced that it would provide compensation to contractors to meet the unexpected hike in expat fee for employees working in government sector projects approved before December 2016.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported in a statement that after reviewing the imposition of monthly fees on expatriate labor, the Cabinet ordered the Finance Ministry to compensate enterprises which entered into government contracts before December 2016.


By Innovation-sa on March 29, 2018 in News

The second annual Saudi-US CEO Forum, which brought together more than 200 eminent business leaders from the Kingdom and the US for a day of formal presentations, panel discussions, and trade and cultural shows, concluded successfully and resulted in the signing of 36 MoUs worth more than $20 billion.

The annual forum brings forth discussions on mutual investment opportunities and contributes to strengthening economic ties, promoting bilateral trade and expanding awareness between Saudi Arabia and the US.

The MoUs inked between the two countries in line with various social and economic reforms undertaken by Saudi Arabia to achieve Vision 2030, calls for new partnerships in health care, manufacturing, entertainment, education and information technology sector.

Among the 36 memoranda, noteworthy MoUs include an Aramco-Google partnership focussing on cloud services and other technological opportunities, an Aramco-Raytheon partnership to establish national cyber security services, a five-year initiative between King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture and National Geographic to boost creativity and entertainment in the Kingdom, a collaboration between Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) and JP Morgan to discuss cooperation in industrial finance in Saudi Arabia and a partnership between Al-Rasheed International and SOS to provide medical services in the Kingdom with a focus on clinics in remote areas.

In another development following the CEO Forum, Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority (SAGIA) confirmed that it has granted licenses to 13 American companies to invest in the Kingdom.

The Governor of SAGIA, Eng. Ibrahim bin Abdurrahman Al-Omar, said in a statement that these licenses came within the framework of the Kingdom’s endeavor to motivate the global pioneering companies to pump more investments in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and to enhance the competitiveness of the investment environment in the Kingdom.


By Innovation-sa on March 26, 2018 in News

The US State Department has approved a possible arms sale worth more than $1 billion to Saudi Arabia. The announcement came days after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman met US President Donald Trump at the White House, where Trump credited US defense sales to the Saudis.The department added that it had notified the US Congress on Thursday of the possible sale, which kick-starts a formal congressional review process.

The deal includes 6,600 TOW missiles and an additional 96 for training for a total of $670 million, a contract for equipment and services for Saudi Arabia’s military helicopters worth $106.8 million and $300 million worth spare parts for Saudi Arabia’s Abrams tanks and armoured vehicles, the State Department said in a statement.

“The proposed sale would safeguard the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East”, the statement added.

“The proposed sale of TOW 2B missiles and technical support will advance Saudi Arabia’s efforts to develop an integrated ground defense capability”, it further added.

Earlier in 2017, when Trump visited the Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the US signed a $350 billion arms deal, the largest in the history of America. Since then, the US is a major supplier of weapons to the Kingdom.



By Innovation-sa on March 26, 2018 in News

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) revealed that the total volume of US investments in the Kingdom exceeded SR207 billion by February, signaling that the country’s economic reforms began to bear fruit. AT present, US investments in the Kingdom spread across 373 companies established in various sectors like service, industry, real-estate, scientific, technical and temporary licenses.

Of the total investments by American companies in the Kingdom, the industrial sector occupied the largest share of 95 projects and a funding of SR193 billion. The service sector came next, with a financing of SR13.5 billion in 245 projects while commercial sector came in third with a backing of over SR300 million to support 9 projects. Two projects in the real estate sector with a financing of SR16 million and an additional 16 projects under temporary license sector with a financing of SR2 million completed the US investments in the Kingdom.

The report published by SAGIA further noted that in 2017 alone, Saudi Arabia welcomed 16 American companies to the Kingdom, with an investment exceeding SR382.2 million. Of those, service sector saw the biggest inflows with thirteen licenses being awarded and over SR284.2 million being invested, followed by two licenses in the industrial sector with a funding of SR 97.5 million and one temporary licenses with a financing of SR 500,000.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, is on the run to achieve its dream economic transformation plan, Vision 2030 and is undertaking several economic reforms to attract foreign investors to the Kingdom. “The above figures are ample proof that several major reforms to the Kingdom’s investment environment in accordance with Saudi Vision 2030 is becoming beneficial”, SAGIA said in a statement.