Emaar wants to do more business in Saudi Arabia

Mohamed Alabbar (left), Emaar Properties Chairman, at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. (Reuters)
Updated 26 October 2017
0

Emaar wants to do more business in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Mohamed Alabbar, the Emaar Properties chairman, is keen to do further business with Saudi Arabia, and would like to help the Kingdom to develop the $500 billion Neom project announced at the opening day of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Alabbar, who already has significant business partnerships with Saudi Arabia via the Noon e-commerce platform and the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), said of the Neom project: “It’s a big, exciting thing. If they call on us (Emaar), we would look on that positively. The Middle East as a whole is very short on infrastructure, and the project is a very significant addition. If we’re invited to participate, we would be honored.”
His company is the developer of the KAEC project, listed on the Tadawul as Emaar The Economic City, which has been in development since 2005. He said: “There have been challenges. We all got very excited about it but it needed support during the financial crisis in terms of facilitation. But it is still well on the path. It is a long-term project. I would imagine in five or six years we will see a lot more progress. We have to watch the cashflow and the finances according to market conditions.”
He is a joint investor with the Saudi Public Investment Fund in Noon, the e-commerce company set up last year to rival big firms such as Amazon in the online retail space.
He said that the Noon initiative was also a long-term project. “I’m very happy with it, but it’s still a baby.” He said the firm was already doing deliveries in the Kingdom, and had already had an effect on the Saudi market.
“Amazon is now dropping its prices. Any competition is beneficial to the country and its society. I will not allow any company to come in to a market and dominate the price of milk you give to your child. We don’t come to destroy your business, we will not kill local business.”
He added that he would like to do more business with PIF. “We’re on the phone to them all the time. We are dedicated to supporting the opening up of Saudi Arabia,” but did not elaborate on specific further projects with PIF.
He said that Saudi Arabia faced challenges in implementing its economic transformation strategy, but added: “Every country has challenges and I would not criticize another country because I am a foreigner here. If you are a true businessman you want to look into the future, and that is what the young leadership is doing here. The policy changes in the country are like a businessman restructuring his company.”


Sharqiah Season: What to expect this weekend?

Updated 21 March 2019
0

Sharqiah Season: What to expect this weekend?

RIYADH: A bumper program of entertainment is being lined up in the Eastern Province for the biggest weekend yet of Sharqiah Season.

Concerts, a film festival, and a spectacular air race are just some of the events due to take place in the region as part of attractions for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom.

The action gets underway with the fifth annual Saudi Film Festival taking place from March 21 to 26 at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.

Organized by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts (SASCA) in Dammam, in partnership with Ithra, the movie fest will honor Saudi and Gulf cinema figures and include 10 training workshops and 10 seminars.

The festival aims to promote opportunities for Saudi talent in the film industry and flicks from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman will be included among screenings.

All participating films will be shown during the event, and there will be a Golden Palm award for best documentary about a Saudi city and best poster (based on audience voting). A winners’ presentation will take place at the closing ceremony, after which the films will be screened at the Ithra center.

Tickets can be purchased via Ithra’s website, with options for single-day, four-day, and VIP passes.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Red Bull Air Race demo comes to Dammam from March 21 to 23. The event, organized along with the General Sports Authority, will provide spectators with a warm-up taster for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2019 season finale, to be held in Saudi Arabia in November.

The air-racing competition, developed in 2003 and accredited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), is billed as “the most advanced aerial challenge in existence.”

Using the fastest, most agile, high-performance race planes, pilots fly just meters from the ground and against the clock to complete an obstacle course full of twists and turns. The air spectacular takes off at Dammam Corniche between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Saturday will also see the highly anticipated Color Run come to the South Alkhobar Corniche. The 5-km dash involves participants being doused with colored powder at the end of every kilometer. Runners start dressed all in white and emerge at the end of the run covered in the colors of the General Entertainment Authority’s logo.

The untimed run takes place between 5 a.m. and noon and rest areas offering refreshments and entertainment will be available between stops.

For concert fans the Asharqiah Music Festival will feature performances by major names at Dammam’s Life Park. US rapper Pitbull and Canadian DJ Deadmau5 will take to the stage on March 21, and March 22 will witness performances by Egyptian vocalist Amr Diab, US-Moroccan rapper French Montana, and American singer Akon.

Lovers of regional music are not left out, with appearances by Assala Nasri and Mutrif Al-Mutrif on March 22, and Nabil Shuail and Hatem Al-Iraqi on March 23, all at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Center in Al-Qatif.

Sharqiah Season, the first of 11 Saudi seasons of entertainment planned for 2019, will run until the end of the month with more than 83 different events scheduled across nine cities in the region.