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Global Tech Giants Boost Saudi Presence Due To State Pressure

Firms including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft face government legislation designed to curb economic leakage.

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Global technology heavyweights, such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, are actively expanding their presence in Saudi Arabia in response to the government’s intention to withhold contracts from companies lacking regional headquarters within the country.

The move is part of a greater economic agenda that involves curbing the substantial amount of state and citizen spending that exits the country annually. As part of that plan, the government seeks to cease awarding contracts to international firms that merely shuttle executives in and out of the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia introduced the new regulations in February 2021, citing a desire to minimize “economic leakage”. As per government records, all three of the US corporations mentioned above have now obtained licenses to establish regional headquarters in Riyadh in adherence to the January 1st deadline.

Towards the end of 2023, there was a noticeable surge in activity among large corporations aiming to establish local headquarters. Notable among the firms that have already received licenses are Airbus, Oracle, and Pfizer.

In further efforts to bolster the economy and attract international investments, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has also eased restrictions on gender mixing, women driving, and public entertainment. Nevertheless, limited lifestyle options and policies such as the continued alcohol ban have deterred many foreign executives from residing in the country.

Also Read: Oman Plans To Have 22,000 EVs On Its Roads By 2030

However, Saudi Arabia’s status as the largest economy in the region, along with plans to invest trillions of dollars to become a tourism and commercial hub, has prompted numerous multinational corporations to reevaluate their Middle East operations.

Recent Saudi economic policies are widely seen as an attempt to compete with Dubai, the Middle East’s foremost business hub, which has long attracted multinational firms due to its lifestyle, low taxation, and connectivity. So far, more than 200 firms have already received headquarters licenses, including Bechtel, PwC, and PepsiCo, all of whom have announced Riyadh as their regional headquarters.

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Initial Trials Of Dubai’s Driverless Evocargo Trucks Completed

Testing was announced on July 17, and the completion is a major milestone towards upgrading the region’s logistics infrastructure.

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initial trials of dubai's driverless evocargo trucks completed
Dubai Media Office

A Dubai-based company has completed the initial trials for the UAE’s first driverless trucks. The groundbreaking achievement by Evocargo, partnering with Dubai South, took place at Dubai South Logistics District, and marked a significant step towards incorporating autonomous technologies into the region’s wider logistics infrastructure.

Announced on Wednesday, July 17th, the trials featured the Evocargo N1 unmanned electric truck navigating a predetermined route within a controlled setting. The test involved interactions with common road obstacles such as cars, trucks, and pedestrians, aiming to evaluate the vehicle’s hardware and software reliability, accident prevention systems, and overall readiness for public road use.

Officials were keen to highlight that this accomplishment aligns with the UAE’s ambitious strategy to position itself as a global leader in innovation and technology adoption. The country aims to have 25% of all transportation in Dubai autonomous by 2030, underscoring its commitment to revolutionizing the logistics sector using advanced technologies.

Mohsen Ahmad, CEO of the Logistics District at Dubai South, emphasized the importance of the collaboration with Evocargo in enhancing the region’s logistics capabilities. He noted that autonomous vehicles are set to increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and establish a sustainable logistics infrastructure that will benefit both Dubai and the wider UAE.

Also Read: Riyadh Developers Reveal New 45,000-Seat Murabba Stadium

Ahmed Al-Ansi, CEO of Evocargo Autonomous Logistic Services, also expressed optimism that the trials will draw new customers and investments across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The partnership aims to lead in innovative tech solutions, further establishing the UAE as a pioneer in autonomous transportation.

The successful completion of the trials marks a crucial step towards realizing the UAE’s vision for a technologically advanced and sustainable future in which autonomous vehicles are expected to play a pivotal role in global logistics.

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