Key Business Areas

Key Regions For Business

RS18795_CD00623CM00228_963833The name Riyadh comes from the Arabic word meaning “meadow”. Although there doesn't seem to be much greenery around today, before the development that has taken place over the past 30 years, Riyadh was one of the few green areas amid the vast desert.

The Saudi capital is strategically located at a major crossroads of the continents of the world, at the heart of the Kingdom and the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, 600m above sea level.

Today Riyadh is a modern Arab metropolis, home to around 5.5 million people, but only a hundred years ago, it was a dusty walled town with around 20,000 inhabitants. It became the capital of the Kingdom in 1932 when the country was founded, its growth since then has been explosive, thanks mainly to the recent petroleum fuelled development boom - much of the city is less than 30 years old!

Today, although there are only two real skyscrapers, the Kingdom tower and the Faisaliya building, more and more high rise towers are springing up with five lane highways cutting through the city. The King Abdullah Financial District, with its many high rise buildings, modern aesthetic design is expected to be completed and functional in 2015, setting the contemporary skyline for modern Riyadh. An ambitious metro system is also under development to reduce traffic congestion.

Eastern Province
RS18794_CD00623CM00179_894756-Dock 1000pxWThe Eastern Province, with a population of around 3.5 million, is located along the Arabian Gulf Coast. The capital of the region is Dammam, which was originally a fishing village and is now the largest city to the east of Riyadh and the second largest port. Dammam is a hub for commodity trading, wholesale trade and bulk retail sales. There is also some local agriculture with a focus on livestock and dairy products.

Dammam is surrounded by sprawling development, including the nearby cities of Al Khobar, Dhahran, Jubail, Hofuf (said to be the world's biggest oasis), and Abqaiq (a major oil centre through which 60% of Saudi oil production passes). The King Fahad Causeway, completed in 1986 connects Al Khobar in Saudi with neighbouring Bahrain.

The Eastern Province has been dominated by the development of the oil industry since 1933 and latterly by the petrochemical industry since the early 80's. It is home to the world's largest proven, recoverable reserves of oil and gas, conservatively estimated at 260 billion barrels and over 200 trillion standard cubic feet respectively. The Ghawar Field south-west of Dhahran stretches 280 km by 25 km and is the largest onshore field in the world; while the world's largest offshore field, Safaniyah, lies some 200 km north of Dhahran.

Jubail Industrial City, 120 km to the north of Al Khobar, has seen investment of around USD $15 billion in less than 30 years and is now rated as the world's largest, fully integrated and most modern petrochemical city. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) is the world's 4th largest petrochemical company, and operates 15 of its 17 manufacturing subsidiaries in Jubail. Further expansion in Jubail is expected to attract a further £30 billion worth of investment, creating 55,000 new job opportunities.

In addition to massive oil and gas storage and loading facilities at Ras Tanura and Juaymah on the East Coast, there are two modern bulk cargo and container ports, with a total of 64 berths, at Dammam and Jubail, plus King Fahd Industrial Port to serve the petrochemical industries in Jubail. Dammam is also the headquarters of the Saudi Railways Organisation, the Saudi Fisheries Company, and the GCC Interconnection Authority, with the remit to develop a Gulf wide power grid.

Ras Az Zour Port is a new minerals industrial city, currently under development on the Gulf coast. This multi-billion dollar city will mainly serve the growing mining industry which is expected to be a major contributor to the Saudi economy. The seaport city's main activity will be exporting alumina and aluminium, importing raw materials as well as serving the Phosphate Project for its exports and imports. An independent service company will operate the port as well as the city's infrastructure. A 2400 km long railway linking the mining sites with the port will also be built. Work is scheduled to be completed by 2014.

I Stock _000004344961Large 1000pxwJeddah, located on the Red Sea coast, is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia, and has been a port and trading city for centuries. It is the Kingdom's commercial capital, and is the main port of the Kingdom, responsible for half of the country's sea traffic. Jeddah is also the hub through which most Muslim pilgrims arrive by air and sea to perform Omrah and Hajj or to visit the two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Medinah. Thanks to its air road and sea transport links and trading history, it's become one of the more ethnically diverse cities in the Kingdom.

Jeddah was originally very small, but spread rapidly during the 20th century. The city's corniche now stretches along the coast for 20 km and Jeddah sprawls over more than 1,500 square km. The population is around 4 million and it is considered to be one of the wealthiest cities in the Middle East. Many leading companies such as the Saudi Binladin Group and Saudia have their headquarters in the city.

Jeddah Municipality announced its plans to give the city a facelift, with 86 major projects at a total cost of some USD $600 million. The projects include the study and design of tunnels and bridges at intersections. The Municipality has also prepared a list of some other 100 projects in the Municipality's 20-year development program. Some of these projects will be delivered under the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and others under build, operate and transfer (BOT) programs.

Other projects announced in Jeddah include the Eastern Forest project, construction of bridges and tunnels at 12 intersections, rainwater drainage projects (worth more than USD $122 million), sewage water projects (over USD $200 million), upgrading of the King Abdul Aziz International Airport (costing about USD $5 billion), the Jeddah Islamic Port development projects (about USD $200 million) and the new King Abdulaziz International Airport (costing about USD $7.2 billion), Jeddah Metro (about USD $6 billion) and the world’s tallest building, the Kingdom Tower (estimated to cost about USD $1.5 billion).


How To Do Business in Saudi Arabia

UKTI's team in the country can provide a range of services to British-based companies wishing to grow their business in the Saudi market. Services include the provision of market information, validated lists of agents/potential partners, key market players or potential customers, arranging appointments and organising events. A majority of the aforementioned services fall under the UKTI chargeable service called an Overseas Market Introductory Service (OMIS). In an OMIS, UKTI can supply you with contacts specifically catered to assisting your business make inroads in the Kingdom. All contacts they provide will be validated but UKTI can go as far as warming them up or even booking meetings for you. UKTI can also provide a variety of other services including product launches, trade receptions and networking events.

These services have to be commissioned and are chargeable. Under this service, the Embassy's Trade and Investment Advisers, who have wide local experience and knowledge, can identify business partners and provide the support and advice most relevant to your company's specific needs in the market.

To find out more about commissioning work, please contact your local UKTI office or visit 


Source - UKTI


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