First Saudi cinema in 35 years to open on April 18

Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad (L) and AMC CEO Adam Aron present the first license for the US-based movie theater company to operate cinemas in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 05 April 2018
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First Saudi cinema in 35 years to open on April 18

  • AMC plans to open its first new movie theater in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on April 18
  • Some 350 cinemas with more than 2,500 screens will be opened by 2030
JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information has signed an agreement with AMC to open around 40 cinemas in 15 cities in Saudi Arabia over the next five years.
The license, the first of its kind, will allow one of the world’s largest film companies, to operate cinemas in the Kingdom.
Under the license, AMC plans to open its first new movie theater in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on April 18.
The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Public Investment Fund in November 2017 to discuss potential trade cooperation opportunities.
Saudi Arabia, with a population of 32 million, mostly under the age of 30, is expected to be the region’s largest market for movie theaters.
Last December, the Ministry of Culture and Information announced that commercial cinemas would be allowed to operate in the Kingdom starting from 2018, for the first time in more than 35 years.
Some 350 cinemas with more than 2,500 screens will be opened by 2030.
Dr. Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad, Minister of Culture and Information, said that granting the first license provides important investment opportunities for the cinema industry. 
He pointed out that the Saudi market is large and most of the population is under the age of 30, so they are eager to watch their favorite films in their country.
He added that the goal of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is to improve the quality of life by providing additional leisure opportunities. He pointed out that the opening of cinemas will help support the local economy and contribute to the creation of new jobs.
The cinemas will not require men and women to sit separately, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.
Vision 2030 has set a target of raising Saudi Arabia’s annual spending on cultural and recreational activities from 2.9% of total Saudi household spending to 6% by 2030.
Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, said the company is following with great admiration the creative movement of development projects in the Kingdom to open new economic sectors.
“We are looking forward to providing entertainment services that will enable everyone to spend an enjoyable time playing world-class film shows across the Kingdom.
AMC’s entry into the Saudi Arabian market comes in partnership with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) through its wholly-owned Leisure Development and Investment Company.
The move to allow movie theaters to open up a local market with annual ticket sales of up to $1bn is what makes other leading movie chains keen to enter as the largest market in the Gulf region.
AMC Theaters is an American movie theater chain owned and operated by Wanda Group. Founded in 1920, AMC has the largest share of the American theater market ahead of Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Theaters.

Decoder

AMC Theaters

AMC Theaters is an American movie theater chain owned and operated by Wanda Group. Founded in 1920, AMC has the largest share of the American theater market ahead of Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Theaters.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.