STC CEO: Redesigning our Strategy, Shifting Away from Traditional Areas

Dubai — Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has depended on a new strategy that focuses on growth via new areas and not the traditional telecommunications areas, said STC CEO Dr. Khalid al-Bayari, adding that this strategy includes the digital content, digital financial services, and the information technology in addition to the limited geography.

Bayari stated that new investments will be centered in the region. “The whole point is that our investments meet with new services,” he said, clarifying that any company that doesn’t adopt the new conditions will face troubles.

On the sidelines of STC participation in GITEX, Bayari told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Our strategy is inspired by the Saudi Vision 2030.” He added that STC works on restructuring skills in which it intends to launch an academy that focuses on building new digital capabilities for the youths. “I think this will have a direct impact on the Saudi Vision 2030,” he noted.

“We have a venture investment fund that is the greatest venture fund in the region and it emphasizes on the new economy, especially that in our region we have a problem in funding the youths who present ideas and projects. I think the fund will fill a gap in this regard and help us find other resources and an additional income for the company” he added.

Further, the company is holding serious discussions to provide financial services through the mobiles.

Back to the strategy, Bayari said: “We deal with the challenges facing the traditional telecommunications sector but STC focused on a growth strategy, which is part of an acquisition of companies operating in specific fields.”

‘Vision 2030’ Opens up Prospects for Investment between Saudi Arabia, Russia

Both Saudi Arabia and Russia had agreed at a meeting, on the sidelines of the G20 summit held in China in 2016, to strengthen their cooperation, said the Saudi state-owned news agency (SPA).

The two countries also agreed to explore the possibility of establishing a common database on advanced energy technologies and to make assessments of the feasibility of using, utilizing and financing these technologies through sovereign wealth funds belonging to both countries.

Cooperation encompasses the oil and gas sector, including the use of new technologies and the exchange of information and experiences to raise the level of technical applications in the fields of production, refining, storage, transportation, distribution, manufacturing and research activities as well as cooperation in the production of electricity and renewable energy.

Russia ranks 12th in the world in terms of GDP and 6th globally in purchasing power and the world’s largest natural gas reserves.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter, the second largest oil reserve in the world and leading member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a member of the G-20 which includes the world’s 20 largest economies.

The Kingdom has a promising and sustainable economy of growth following the Kingdom Vision 2030.
The Russian investments focused on three development fields in the Kingdom: service, industry and construction in accordance with a statement issued by the General Authority for Investment. The total capital in the service sector is SR2.25 million, the industrial sector is SR71.221 and the construction sector is SR31.15 million.

Bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Russia have recently witnessed identical views towards the regional and international issues in addition to joint desire to support these relations in various fields, including economic field.

The trade volume between the two countries reached about $2.8 billion in 2016 amid ambitions seeking to raise this number in light of the Kingdom Vision 2030.

The Kingdom proved its economic strength after achieving a positive growth rate with 1.7% in 2016 despite fluctuations of the international oil prices.

Turkey: Five Industry Bases to Attract Petrochemicals Investments


Ankara- The Turkish government plans to establish mega industry bases in five regions, each of which is expected to have at least 3,000 hectares of land. Giant investments are expected to significantly reduce the country’s current account deficit, while thousands of jobs are expected to be created.

The Science, Industry and Technology Ministry statement mentioned that the industry bases will focus on the petrochemical industry, which accounts for about 20 percent of Turkey’s total current account deficit. While the petrochemical industry has a global trade volume of $2.2 trillion with China being the global leader in the sector with $125 billion in exports of petrochemical products, Turkey comes in the 14th place, added the statement.

According to a study by the Industry Ministry, Turkey needs large industrial areas with ports of at least 3,000 hectares, especially for the petrochemical industry. In light of that, big industrial zones in the Eastern Black Sea, Western Black Sea, South Marmara, North Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean regions are planned to be established to allow new levels of development in industry and technology.

In a related matter, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim asserted that promoting domestic and foreign direct investments in Turkey and providing investment opportunities are both among the government’s priorities.

Further, exports in the Turkish lira soared by 118 percent in the first seven months of the year compared to the same period last year, reaching $8.987 billion, while imports in the same currency rose by 31 percent to $10.282 billion in the same period.

Saudi-Chinese Joint Investment Fund to Boost Economic Relations

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih attends a meeting of the 4th OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee in St. Petersburg

Jeddah- Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih revealed that a Beijing-Riyadh joint investment fund will be established in the upcoming days.

In addition to the fund, he expected 11 business agreements worth about $20 billion to be signed between the two sides on Thursday. He did not give details.

Saudi Arabia and China plan to establish and operate jointly a $20 billion investment fund, sharing costs and profits on a 50:50 basis, Saudi Energy Minister Falih told Reuters on Thursday.

The energy minister also said that the joint investment fund will serve the Saudi Kingdom’s transformational vision 2030 and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi Vision 2030 is a plan to reduce the Kingdom’s oil dependence, diversify its economy, and develop service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.

On the other hand, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a development strategy proposed by China’s leader Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries, primarily the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the ocean-going Maritime Silk Road (MSR).

The Cabinet also approved the authorization of the Minister of Justice or his deputy to discuss with the Chinese side a draft judicial cooperation agreement between Saudi Arabia and China, according to a Saudi Press Agency report.

Falih was in China last week where he met with Chinese senior vice-premier Zhang Gaoli ahead of a visit by a Chinese delegation to the kingdom this week for the second round of meetings of a Saudi-Chinese Joint Committee.

Falih also said that China views Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Islamic and Arab worlds, as well as being a major center of stability in the region.

Based on this consensus and vision, there is collaboration in many fields– noting that the forum, to be held in Jeddah on Thursday, will see a focus on multiple areas of Saudi -Chinese cooperation.

Falih said that the joint committee includes five sub-committees, encompassing all strategic axes shared by the two countries, including political, security, military and commercial and cultural exchanges.

Saudi Minister discusses with the Iraqi PM Ways of Boosting Trade, Investment

The Minister of Commerce and Investment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi, who is also Chairman of the Saudi side in the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, discussed on Tuesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi ways to enhance bilateral relations.

Boosting ties will influence both economies, trade relations, agriculture and investment fields, said the Saudi state news agency SPA.

Al-Qasabi’s discussions, which took place in Baghdad, were designed to develop and deepen strategic and economic relations, discuss promising investment opportunities and distinctive partnerships that serve the interests of the two parties, promote trade exchanges and find suitable opportunities that serve development plans for the two sides.

The Saudi delegation included high-level government officials and businessmen chosen to strengthen the partnership of the two countries during the visit which comes in line with the priorities of the Kingdom in all sectors, foremost of which are the industrial, agricultural, education, health and other sectors.

The minister said that the visit comes after the opening of border crossings between the two countries, stressing the Kingdom’s desire to open trade and investment, develop trade exchanges with the Iraqi side, and strengthen ties between the two countries.

The two sides discussed the Kingdom’s participation in the international economic forum which will be held in Baghdad, the establishment of the Saudi-Iraqi Business Council during the coming period, and the Saudi-Iraqi Business Opportunities Forum in the Kingdom next year.

Saudi Investment Authority Hosts Chinese Businessmen Delegation

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) announced recently hosting a delegation of over 50 representatives from Chinese businesses in the sector’s headquarters in Riyadh, said the Saudi Press agency on Thursday.

Aiming to highlight positive nation-wide developments led by SAGIA, the representatives introduced to the Ministry of Labor’s regulations as well as the procedure for obtaining business licenses.

The meeting came as both China and Saudi Arabia take significant strides to boost economic ties and enhance bilateral trade and investment.

In March, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz visited China where multiple agreements were signed between the two countries valued at $65 billion.

“At SAGIA, we are honored to host representatives from leading Chinese companies in various sectors,” SAGIA’s Investor Services Deputy Governor Ibrahim Al Suwail said.

“It is our aim that we continuously strive to strengthen commercial and investment cooperation between The Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China through extending Chinese companies the information, assistance, and opportunity to participate in Vision 2030,” he added.

“Our dialogue with dozens of businessmen today will hopefully be the next step in concluding deals and initiatives in the near future across various fields, such as energy, information technology, transportation and entertainment among others.”

Currently, there are 192 ongoing projects involving Chinese companies in the Kingdom valued at SAR 9.2 billion, approximately $2.5 billion .

“Although we have seen a healthy amount of inward investment from China, we believe this is just the start of a very mutually beneficial relationship with the Chinese business community,” Al Suwail commented on the expected increase in economic exchange.

“As more opportunities under Vision 2030 are unveiled, SAGIA looks forward to working with an even greater number of Chinese companies to help write the next success story between Saudi Arabia and the People’s Republic of China.”

Aramco, Hyundai, Dussur to Make Engines and Pumps

Dammam- Saudi Aramco, Dussur and Hyundai said they had signed a memorandum of understanding to make engines and pumps in the kingdom.

In a joint statement, the three companies said the MoU stipulates that the mentioned parties cooperate in establishing a joint project to cover fields that include manufacturing engines and pumps.

The manufacturing facility will be located at the King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries and Services, and is expected to contribute in reinforcing cooperation with other initiatives in Ras Al-Khair.

The joint venture will manufacture 4-stroke engines under HiMSEN brand licensing, serving as a regional production stronghold to support the growing demand for electricity in the MENA region as well as marine applications.

The three parties are targeting lower production costs by making use of machine-finished steel and iron components for engines and pumps from the casting and forging facility joint venture in Ras Al-Khair, and fixed and variable cost synergies related to the integration of two- and four-stroke engines in one shop, competitive advantaged related to the transportation of such engines from other international sources, increasing demand of 4 stroke engines either as complementary or backup power generation systems to support the growing demand for renewable power generation and remotely located new power plants, and the secured demand for engines and pumps in marine applications coming from the joint venture, in addition to a number of other internal advantages related to the contribution of each partner to the deal.

This project is expected to create over 650 jobs, in addition to other job opportunities in fields of engines and maritime exporting.

The companies hope to start operations at the new facility by the end of 2019. They will participate in preparing required studies to reach a final decision on investment in this project.

BBC Confronts Netflix, Amazon with Investment in Children’s TV

London- The BBC has announced it will invest £34 million to expand digital programming for children. It said the decision comes to confront the domination of the US media outlets over children and teenagers in Britain.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hall, the director-general, is expected to spell out how the institution must upgrade its traditional programs and launch new ones with the digital concept, in order to become a serious rival to US media giants like Amazon and Netflix.

According to the Telegraph, in the BBC’s first Annual Plan, released this week and setting out the corporation’s ambitions for the coming year, Lord Hall and Chairman Sir David Clementi will announce the “biggest investment in children’s services in years.

Lord Hall said: “We aim to restructure the BBC to serve the new generation, which is our top priority for the coming year, and each department of the entity should contribute to face this challenge.”

According to the announcement, £31.4 million will be allocated to produce a varied digital content that includes videos, live TV programs, contests, and apps.

Among the main aims of the upcoming plan is to confront the domination of the US culture by developing an upgraded online content that focuses on the British principles and culture.

Calls for Efficient Assimilation of Saudi Private Capital Returning from Qatar


Riyadh – Boycotting Doha has pushed many Saudi businessmen and companies that operate in Qatar – more than 388 companies in various fields – to consider limiting their affairs in the kingdom in solidarity with Riyadh calls for Doha to halt support of terrorists groups and organizations.

Companies and businessmen also seek exiting the Qatari crisis with the least losses.

Economists underpinned the importance of assimilating Saudi companies returning to Qatar in an efficient manner.

Dr. Salem Baajaja told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that “there is a huge number of Saudi businessmen who had affairs in Qatar but after Riyadh cutting ties with Doha they started to return to the kingdom.”

Baajaja noted that the choice to return and work in the Saudi market is the best since it represents an investment friendly environment.

Financial analyst Abdulrahman al-Ata said that the boycotting of Qatar by eight countries – led by Saudi Arabia – has made the investment in Qatar unsafe, knowing that capitals don’t prefer to take risks through remaining in an environment that is detached from its surrounding on the levels of trade, investment, finance and banking.

“It is difficult for Saudi companies and other companies to continue their affairs in the Qatari environment amid the current boycotting of Doha,” he added to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Ata attributed this to the mounting risks and the market recession, especially that extending the boycotting period would directly affect imports and exports subsequently companies.

This coincides with a paralysis in the trade, investment and financial dealings in Qatar after closing all land, navy and air borders by some countries including Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Saudi-US Partnerships in Defense, Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies


Riyadh – Saudi-US partnerships have become more comprehensive, following the signed agreements worth USD280 billion between Riyadh and Washington in sectors of defense, aviation, security, energy, oil and industry, a US economist said.

Willem van Rossem, President of the Quincy Group in Saudi Arabia, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the recently signed agreements between Riyadh and Washington will recruit Saudi and US potentials in the coming period to achieve the greatest trade, investment and economic benefit.”

He added that “the Saudi-US economic agreements and discussions have put ties between Riyadh and Washington at a strategic higher level. These ties will increase the mutual benefit not only for the Saudi and US nations and governments but also for the region nations since they will affect positively and directly the economy growth.”

He noted that the Saudi-US CEO Forum that was held in Riyadh lately on the sidelines of the US President Donald Trump visit to the kingdom has provided a rare and huge opportunity to discuss many points of strength between the two countries and possible ways to make use of the positive conditions.

Quincy Group president said that “this was a golden opportunity to explain the Saudi Vision 2030 that is considered the most significant tool to underpin partnership.”

He added that Quincy Group is ready to move forward in the cooperation with huge specialized companies in the defense, aerospace and security manufacturing and the managing of mutual projects with Saudi state institutions.

Trump stated in Riyadh – ten days ago – that USD400 billion agreements and deals have been sealed between Riyadh and Washington – he described them as historic ones.