VOX to open first multiplex cinema in Jeddah by December

VOX aims to bring world-class entertainment to cities across the Kingdom. AFP
Updated 17 July 2018
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VOX to open first multiplex cinema in Jeddah by December

  • VOX Cinemas will also open an IMAX theater at the Red Sea Mall, featuring the largest IMAX screen in Saudi Arabia
  • The cinema will feature 12 screens, including three GOLD by Rhodes, the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Majid Al-Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer, has announced it will open the first multiplex in Jeddah at the popular shopping destination Red Sea Mall by December.
This announcement marks a major milestone for the company as it begins to deliver on its goal of bringing world-class entertainment to cities across the Kingdom. It is the latest step in VOX Cinemas’ SR2 billion ($0.53 billion) investment plan that will see 600 screens open in the Kingdom over the next five years and a major pillar of a total SR16 billion investment Majid Al-Futtaim is making in Saudi Arabia’s retail and leisure sectors.
Red Sea Mall was strategically selected owing to its status as the most popular shopping destination in the western region. The mall has 145,000 square meters of gross leasable area, and other amenities for the comfort and convenience of visitors, which are projected to hit 18.5 million visitors by the end of 2018.
The cinema will feature 12 screens, including three GOLD by Rhodes, the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. GOLD by Rhodes is a new dining concept in partnership with Michelin-starred chef Gary Rhodes, with a menu that offers a variety of classic cinema snacks with a fine-dining twist. Saudi cinema guests can order gourmet meals directly to their reclining seats while enjoying movies on digital surround-sound and wall-to-wall high-definition screens. Families can opt for KIDS, a family-friendly concept developed for children where they can watch the latest animations and adventure films in a colorful setting.
VOX Cinemas will also open an IMAX theater at the Red Sea Mall, featuring the largest IMAX screen in the Kingdom. The IMAX Experience will offer movie-goers a highly immersive film experience, allowing them to enjoy the biggest blockbusters with crystal-clear images and powerful sound you can feel.
VOX Cinemas CEO Cameron Mitchell said: “We know that the appetite for world-class movie experiences extends across the country and therefore we’re delighted to announce this latest extension of VOX Cinemas’ footprint into Jeddah.
“This is still just the beginning of the story and we look forward to further exciting announcements in the weeks and months ahead.”
Aidrous Al-Bar, managing director of Red Sea Markets Co., said: “We’re eagerly awaiting the opening of VOX Cinemas in Red Sea Mall. Our aspiration is to provide Jeddah residents and visitors with the most comprehensive retail and entertainment option.”


Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

Updated 18 February 2019
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Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

  • Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy
  • Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom

RIYADH: A major transformation is underway in Saudi Arabia’s economic relationship with Pakistan, according to Dr. Ali Awadh Asseri, a former ambassador to Islamabad.

In a wide-ranging interview with Arab News, the former envoy said greater interaction between business and the private sectors in both countries will take the historical bond “to a new level.” 

Asseri, who spent nine years in Islamabad and was the second-longest serving Saudi ambassador to the country, said: “We know that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have always enjoyed an incomparable level of understanding and friendship based on religion, culture and values. There is a historical bond between the two countries. 

“I have no doubt that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is taking a cohesive approach to strengthen the relationship and take it to another level.” 

Asseri said that while Saudi Arabia and Pakistan cooperated closely on security matters, bilateral trade between the countries remained limited to about $4 billion. 

“We need to ... encourage the private sectors to interact more. We can help Pakistan’s industry and we need to become more involved in the trade sector. There are advanced industries and firms in Pakistan, and they have raw materials — it’s a good environment for investors.”

Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy. The Kingdom is also making billion-dollar direct investments in the country in line with the China-Pakistan economic corridor. 

“I am happy to see a major transformation underway in Saudi-Pakistani economic relationships with our leadership and government deciding to invest in the economic development of Pakistan,” he said. 

The former ambassador said frequent official visits between the two countries were important. 

“I came back recently from Pakistan, and the vibe of the media, government and people was so optimistic. Pakistanis were excited about the crown prince’s visit. People hope it will bring great opportunities for the economy as well as strengthening the political and social ties between the two countries,” he said.

Asseri said Saudi Arabia and Pakistan had faced many challenges together in recent decades.

In 2001, during Asseri’s first year as Saudi ambassador in Pakistan, the 9/11 attacks on New York led to greater cooperation between Islamabad and Riyadh in dealing with terrorism.

The Kingdom had been closely involved with Pakistan since its independence, he said. “King Abdul Aziz sent King Saud and Prince Faisal to Pakistan at that time. So if we go back through history, we can see that this relationship is truly unique.” 

Asseri also highlighted the ties between the two countries on humanitarian issues, security and military issues, saying: “Pakistan has suffered serious security and humanitarian consequences of the decades-long war in Afghanistan, besides housing millions of Afghan refugees.

“Together Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have worked for peace in Afghanistan and will do whatever it takes to achieve this long-desired goal.”

Asseri said Pakistanis were quick to show their appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s assistance in the past regardless of the change in Pakistani leadership over the years. 

“The relationship is unique because it is between people. Such a relationship (will) keep growing with every generation.

“When Pakistan was in a difficult position in 2005 after a devastating earthquake, Saudi Arabia went out of its way to provide the support it needed. Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz and eight ministers visited Balochistan. Field hospitals were created with Saudi doctors treating people and performing surgery there.” 

Pakistan also has a deep loyalty to Saudi Arabia, Asseri said. “Pakistan has military expertise, and through cooperation between the two countries, it helped the Saudi military during its development.” 

“The Kingdom’s recent appointment of a Saudi commercial attache in Pakistan will also bolster the economic links between the two countries,” he said. 

“There are good minds in Pakistan and good products that could be manufactured in Saudi Arabia.”

Asseri said he is also optimistic that Saudi plans to build a major oil refinery in Gwadar will help create an “economic hub.” 

The former envoy said the Saudi crown prince’s visit to Pakistan will add to the relationship between the countries. 

Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom. 

“Young Pakistanis who are advanced in the IT and industrial sectors are looking forward to helping and cooperating with Saudi Arabia, and sharing their experiences and knowledge,” he said.