Saudi giga-projects help attract regional headquarters of multinationals
DJEDDAH: The Saudi capital has seen a boom in business activity since multinational companies announced the relocation of their regional bases to the city.
So far, more than 40 multinational companies in industries such as IT, food and beverage, consulting and construction have announced plans to move their headquarters to Riyadh and many more are planning to relocate.
Paul Arnold, managing director of Sovereign Saudi Arabia, said the announcement caused a sudden increase in business activity in the Kingdom.
âFrom our point of view, foreign direct investment is coming to Saudi Arabia. The announcement of the regional headquarters got people talking. So the level of interest in the business and the issues that we are developing around the need to have a seat in Riyadh has been significant, âArnold told Arab News.
In February of this year, the Kingdom gave foreign companies until the end of 2023 to set up their headquarters in the country or risk losing government contracts. This move gave new impetus to the Kingdom’s economic activities, especially in the capital.
Arnold said there are several ongoing giga-projects that obviously attract many foreign companies to do business in the Kingdom.
âAs the regulatory environment here changes and improves, it means foreign companies are registering here in numbers that we have never seen before,â he added.
Stuart D’Souza, co-founder and director of Arabian Enterprise Incubators, told Arab News that most companies operating in the Kingdom already have a significant footprint.
âThe fact that they are joining this high profile program is good news. “
D’souza said the Saudi investment ministry has been very successful in attracting foreign companies and retaining those companies in the kingdom.
âThe direction is very clear. If you want to do business in Saudi Arabia, you must be registered in the Kingdom. If you are a large business and a lot of your regional income comes from the Kingdom, you should have your regional headquarters here in the country, âhe said.
Highlighting the investment landscape in the Kingdom, he said the existence of a professional services company such as Sovereign in the Kingdom would help foreign companies establish their offices.
âThe opportunities for all kinds of other businesses have increased dramatically in Saudi Arabia over the past two years,â he said.
âAll of this is motivated by these gigantic projects, whether it is NEOM, whether it is the Red Sea project, AlUla, Qiddiya, Soudah or projects in the Eastern Province. The fact that these projects are spread across the whole Kingdom means that our clients are actually all over Saudi Arabia and we are supporting them with our services, âD’Souza said.
He added: âThese projects are all coming true. In Riyadh, you can go down and see what is happening in Qiddiya in terms of the development of the lower plateau and (to witness) the development of the upper plateau, go to the Diriyah Gate Development Authority and you will see all the construction going on.