Saudi 'speaking to 7,000 companies' to set up MENA HQs

Saudi 'speaking to 7,000 companies' to encourage MENA headquarters setup
2 min read
29 October, 2021
Saudi Arabia wants to entice some of the world's biggest companies to set up their Middle East and North Africa headquarters in the country as it vies with Dubai to become the centre of regional trade
Saudi Arabia is in talks with thousands of companies to get them to set up regional headquarters in the country [Getty]

Officials in Saudi Arabia have reached out to some 7,000 global businesses to set up their Middle East and North Africa headquarters in the country as it competes with Dubai to become the centre of regional trade.

Baker Hughs Co., KPMG, Schlumberger, Deloitte, Pepsico and Unilever are just some of the 40 multinational companies that received licences on Wednesday to open regional head offices in Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg reported. Half of the companies that received their permits have signed agreements to relocate their regional headquarters to the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

As part of the Vision 2030 framework, the government is aiming to increase Riyadh's economic footprint threefold.

“The region simply has untapped potential and the largest untapped potential is the kingdom and the city of Riyadh,” said Fahd Al-Rasheed, chief executive of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City.

“We are going to make sure we take our share, which is going to be the lion’s share of the business in the region.”

The deals would likely include tax breaks and incentives designed to make Saudi Arabia a desirable place to open offices for big businesses.

The firms will also get exemptions from work visa limits and staff will be aided in relocation plans, the officials said.

Other incentives will include easing visa and sponsorship for foreigners and their families, with plans for foreign employees’ adult children to be able to stay in the country.

The companies which have been approached have annual revenues of over one billion dollars, and Saudi’s target is to have 430 of them in the kingdom by 2030.