Saudi Arabia announces $500 billion city of robots and renewables

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Klaus Kleinfeld will be the president of the new project.
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The wind and sun will allow NEOM to be powered solely by regenerative energy
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NEOM commands a unique location to bring together the best of Arabia, Asia, Africa, Europe and America
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NEOM is developed to be independent of the Kingdom’s existing governmental framework
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Overlooking the waterfront of the Red Sea to the South and the West, and the Gulf of Aqaba, NEOM enjoys an uninterrupted coastline stretching over 468 km
Updated 25 October 2017
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Saudi Arabia announces $500 billion city of robots and renewables

LONDON: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced plans to build a $500 billion mega city on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast, as part of a huge national push to diversify its economy.
The 26,500 square kilometers zone, known as Neom, will focus on industries including energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said yesterday.
“The focus on these sectors will stimulate economic growth and diversification by nurturing international innovation and manufacturing, to drive local industry, job creation, and GDP growth in the Kingdom,” said Prince Mohammed, who is also the Chairman of the Public Investment Fund (PIF).
“Neom will attract private as well as public investments and partnerships. The zone will be backed by more than $500 billion over the coming years by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, local as well as international investors,” he added.
The business and industrial city will be located in the Kingdom’s northwestern region and is the world’s first zone to extend across three countries, stretching its borders into neighboring Jordan and Egypt.
Adjacent to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, and near maritime trade routes that use the Suez Canal, the zone will power itself solely with wind power and solar energy.
The city aims to offer its inhabitants “an idyllic lifestyle paired with excellent economic opportunities that surpass that of any other metropolis. It will attract Saudi Arabians and expatriates, as do all other global societies,” PIF said in a statement.

Neom is the latest project in an ambitious plan to prepare Saudi Arabia for the post-oil era, and follows of plans sell shares in oil giant Saudi Aramco, create the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund and lift the long-standing ban on female drivers.
“Neom will be constructed from the ground-up, on greenfield sites, allowing it a unique opportunity to be distinguished from all other places that have been developed and constructed over hundreds of years,” he said.
PIF said in a statement that the first phase of the city would be complete in 2025. “(Neom) seeks to seize the great economic opportunities of the future by investing in them with confidence and vigor,” the investment body said.
“Neom provides a key opportunity to minimize GDP leakage by allowing those that normally would invest outside, to give them an option of investing locally, hence minimizing the GDP exodus that happens because of limited local investment opportunities,” PIF said in a statement.
The Kingdom has established a special authority to oversee Neom.
Wes Schwalje, COO of Dubai-based research and strategy center Tahseen Consulting, said: “Neom is bringing the same level of disruption to urban planning and economic development as Uber has brought to the technology sector. Investment is strongly influenced by stability, openness, and institutional quality.
“With the announcement of Neom, the Public Investment Fund and Saudi Arabia is communicating to the world that the Kingdom is open for business.”


Tesla plans 7% staff cut as CEO Elon Musk says company must ‘work harder’

Updated 1 min 9 sec ago
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Tesla plans 7% staff cut as CEO Elon Musk says company must ‘work harder’

  • Tesla delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, nearly as many as all previous years combined
  • But its 2018 production fell far short of a goal set nearly three years ago of manufacturing 500,000 vehicles for the year
Saying the road ahead was “very difficult,” Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said Friday that the company would be cutting its staff by about 7 percent.
The electric car and solar panel maker notified its employees about the staff cuts and other plans in an email posted on Tesla Inc.’s website.
Musk said Tesla hopes to post a “tiny profit” in the current quarter but a 30 percent expansion in its workforce last year was more than it can support.
Tesla’s shares tumbled earlier this month after it cut vehicle prices by $2,000 and announced fourth-quarter sales figures that fell short of Wall Street estimates.
“Our products are too expensive for most people,” Musk said in the memo to Tesla staff, saying the company has to “work harder.”
“Tesla has only been producing cars for about a decade and we’re up against massive, entrenched competitors,” he said.
Musk said in a tweet in October that Tesla, based on Palo Alto, California, had 45,000 employees. A 7 percent cut would involve laying off about 3,150 people.
“We unfortunately have no choice but to reduce full-time employee headcount by approximately 7 percent ... and retain only the most critical temps and contractors,” he said.
The company says it delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, nearly as many as all previous years combined. But its 2018 production fell far short of a goal set nearly three years ago of manufacturing 500,000 vehicles for the year. That goal was announced in May of 2016 based on advance orders for its mid-range Model 3, which Musk said sells for $44,000.
Musk said Tesla plans to ramp up production of the Model 3, “as we need to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles.”
“Attempting to build affordable clean energy products at scale necessarily requires extreme effort and relentless creativity,” he said in the memo, “but succeeding in our mission is essential to ensure that the future is good, so we must do everything we can to advance the cause.”
Tesla broke ground earlier this month for a factory in Shanghai, its first outside the US. Musk said it plans to begin production there of the Model 3 and a planned crossover by the year’s end.
Tesla and other global automakers including General Motors Co., Volkswagen and Nissan Motor Corp. are pouring billions of dollars into manufacturing electric vehicles in China.