Amazon-owned online payments platform registers in KSA

A worker sorts products at an Amazon fulfilment center. Amazon-owned Payfort online payments service has registered a new company in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
Updated 25 February 2018
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Amazon-owned online payments platform registers in KSA

RIYADH: The Amazon-owned Payfort online payments service has registered a new company in Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
The new foreign business license is the first of its kind to be issued to a payment services operator in the Kingdom.
Payfort can now offer its services to customers in Saudi Arabia, which it said are tailored to “Arab online buying habits and trends.”
Payfort said in a statement the step was taken to “further strengthen the company’s aggressive growth and expansion plans in the country.”
According to the ‘Payfort State of Payments 2017’ report, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the fastest growing markets in the region for electronic payments.
The report estimates that Saudi Arabia conducted $8.3 billion of payment transactions in 2016, showing 27 percent year-on-year growth.
Electronic payments in KSA are expected to double over the next four years to reach more than $22 billion.
“Recent initiatives to further diversify the Saudi economy and grow hitherto undeveloped economic sectors, such as entertainment and tourism, are likely to help accelerate an already fast growing digital payments market,” Omar Soudodi, managing director of Payfort told media.


Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

Updated 26 March 2019
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Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

  • Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology
  • ‘We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards’

DUBAI: Bahrain plans to roll out a commercial 5G mobile network by June, partly using Huawei technology despite the United States’ concerns the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment could be used for spying.
Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology, saying Huawei could be used by Beijing to spy on the West. China and Huawei have strongly rejected the allegations.
VIVA Bahrain, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian state-controlled telecoms firm STC, last month signed an agreement to use Huawei products in its 5G network, one of several Gulf telecoms companies working with the Chinese company.
“We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards,” Bahrain’s Telecommunications Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told Reuters on Tuesday when asked about US concerns over Huawei technology.
A senior State Department official said the US routinely urges allies and partners to consider the risks posed by vendors subject to extrajudicial or unchecked compulsion by foreign states.
The US Fifth Fleet uses its base in Bahrain, a Western-allied island state off the Saudi coast, to patrol several important shipping lanes, including near Iran.
Bahrain expects to be one of the first countries to make 5G available nationwide, Mohammed said, although he cautioned it would depend on handset and equipment availability.
Early movers like the United States, China, Japan and South Korea are just starting to roll out their 5G networks, but other regions, such as Europe, are still years away and the first 5G phones are only likely to be released in the second half of this year.
Bahrain’s state-controlled operator Batelco is working with Sweden’s Ericsson on its 5G network, while the country’s third telecoms group Zain Bahrain is yet to announce a technology provider.
No foreign company is restricted by the government from providing equipment for Bahrain’s 5G network, Mohammed said, adding mobile operators choose who they work with.
Australia and New Zealand have stopped operators using Huawei equipment in their networks but the European Union is expected to ignore US calls to ban the Chinese company, instead urging countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks.
Mohammed said the rollout of the 5G network was an “important milestone” for Bahrain, which is hoping investments in technology will help spur its economy, which was hit hard by a recent drop in oil prices.
“It is something we are proud to have,” he said.