Apple and Amazon in talks on setting up in Saudi Arabia

Apple and Amazon in talks on setting up in Saudi Arabia
Giants Apple and Amazon are holding talks on entering the Saudi market, which has been largely closed to foreign investors.
2 min read
30 December, 2017
Apple could soon expand into the Saudi market [Getty]
Apple and Amazon are in talks with Saudi Arabia, on setting up businesses in the kingdom, which has been largely closed to foreign investors.

The two US giants are in talks on licensing in the kingdom with SAGIA, Saudi Arabia's foreign investment authority, Reuters reported.

If successful, it means Apple stores and Amazon warehouses could soon open in the kingdom, as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's bid to open Saudi Arabia to foreign investment and increase the country's tech market.

It would give the two companies a direct presence in the country, after previously dealing through third parties due to the kingdom's strict laws on foreign investment.

"Many tech multinationals now in Saudi Arabia are either vendors to the Saudi government or, in the case of Uber, have benefited from a sizable Saudi investment," Sam Blatteis, who leads Dubai-based tech advisory MENA Catalysts Inc, told Reuters.

"Amazon entering the Saudi market would be a step-change."

Saudi Arabia is looking to shake up its oil reliant economy and open up the market to foreign investors.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has already met leaders of Silicon Valley tech giants during a recent visit to the US.

His Vision 2030 economic plans looks to encourage economic investment in the kingdom and lead to a more tech-focused economy.

Part of this includes a blueprint for a $500 billion tech city with more robots than humans.

Many economists have been cautious about these ambitious plans for foreign investment, particularly after a purge of leading businessmen on supposed corruption charges, which many have seen as a way of consolidating the crown prince's power.