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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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Adobe Teases New AI Editing Tools And Updates In Premiere Pro

The video editing app will be enhanced with a generative extend tool, text-to-video, improved timeline waveforms, and more.

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adobe teases new ai editing tools and updates in premiere pro
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After launching the generative AI model Firefly last year, Adobe is now showcasing how the technology will be used in upcoming versions of the editing app Premiere Pro. In an early sneak peek, the company demonstrated several new features, including Object Addition and Removal, Generative Extend, and Text to Video.

The first new feature, Generative Extend, targets a common video editing problem by using AI to “Seamlessly add frames to make clips longer, so it’s easier to perfectly time edits and add smooth transitions”.

Meanwhile, Premiere Pro’s Object Addition & Removal tool will leverage Firefly’s generative AI to “Simply select and track objects, then replace them. Remove unwanted items, change an actor’s wardrobe or quickly add set dressings such as a painting or photorealistic flowers on a desk,” Adobe states.

Adobe also showcased another new feature that can automatically generate new film clips using a text prompt. To use the content creation tool, editors can “Simply type text into a prompt or upload reference images. These clips can be used to ideate and create storyboards, or to create B-roll for augmenting live action footage,” Adobe explained. The company seems to be commercializing this particular feature extremely quickly, considering generative AI video only appeared a few months ago.

Also Read: UGREEN Unveils Nexode RG 65W Charger For Middle East

The new additions to Premiere Pro will be added later this year, but Adobe is also introducing smaller improvements to the editing app in May. The changes include interactive fade handles to enable easier transitions, an Essential Sound badge that uses AI to “automatically tag audio clips as dialogue, music, sound effects or ambience, and add a new icon so editors get one-click, instant access to the right controls for the job”, along with effect badges and a new look for waveforms in the timeline.

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