Third of Saudi companies expect to grow by 10%

Saudi companies aremore optimistic about revenue growth than they were last year, according to new survey. (AN file photo)
Updated 10 September 2018
0

Third of Saudi companies expect to grow by 10%

  • Saudi business leaders are also on a hiring spree, with 58 percent looking to recruit more full-time staff
  • Saudi business leaders also see the need to expand beyond the Kingdom if they are to become market leaders

RIYADH: A third of middle-market Saudi businesses expect to grow by at least 10 percent this year and more than half will hire extra full-time staff, a new survey suggests.

Saudi companies are significantly more optimistic about revenue growth than they were last year, according to the EY Growth Barometer, an annual survey of entrepreneurs’ and business leaders’ growth strategies produced by the global professional services company Ernst & Young.

“Company leaders ... in Saudi Arabia are riding a wave of ambition and confidence, as set out by Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program,” said Fahad Altoaimi, EY’s Saudi Arabia managing partner.

“Contrary to the common belief that regulation stifles innovation, Saudi executives believe that reforms set out by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been driving change and growth.

“This is very encouraging for Saudi businesses — one of the key goals of Vision 2030 was to increase participation from middle-market businesses in the economy.”

Attitudes to new technology have also evolved rapidly. In 2017, 94 percent of Saudi respondents to the EY survey said they would never adopt robotic process automation. Now, 82 percent say they will have adopted AI by 2020 and implemented robotic process automation, with 95 percent of respondents planning to do so within five years.

According to the EY survey, Saudi business leaders also see the need to expand beyond the Kingdom if they are to become market leaders. Overseas expansion is the leading growth priority for 29 percent of respondents, while 18 percent of middle-market businesses are aiming to grow at home. 

Saudi business leaders are also on a hiring spree, with 58 percent looking to recruit more full-time staff. The greatest talent need, however, is more diversity, cited by 62 percent of Saudi Arabian respondents. 

 

 


Saudi Arabia aims to achieve e-payment target of 70%

Updated 8 min 20 sec ago
0

Saudi Arabia aims to achieve e-payment target of 70%

  • Reform plan seeks cashless society
  • E-payments could exceed $22bn in next four years

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia wants to achieve an e-payment target of 70 percent by 2030, a banking official told Arab News on Thursday, as the country moves toward becoming a cashless society.

Talat Hafiz, from the Media and Banking Awareness Committee for Saudi Banks, said online or cashless transactions were part of the Vision 2030 reform plan.

The Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) was one of the initiatives to support the economic growth goals of Vision 2030, he added.

“Basically it is to transfer Saudi society from being heavily cash dependent in buying goods and services to a cashless society using digital and electronic payment,” he told Arab News. “One of the FSDP’s main targets is to increase and improve the percentage of non-cash utilization, from 18 percent in 2016 to 28 percent in 2020. However, the goal will increase of course with the target to 70 percent by 2030.”

Hafiz, in an Arab News column published earlier this month, said the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) had been encouraging electronic payments and settlements in order to reduce the reliance on cash.

SAMA had introduced a number of e-payment systems in the last two decades to help consumers and institutions, he wrote, such as the Saudi Arabian Riyal Interbank Express and the online bill payment portal SADAD.

Earlier this week Apple Pay was launched in the Kingdom, joining the cashless roster of payment methods available to Saudi consumers.

A cashback service operated by credit card companies, where a percentage of the amount spent is paid back to the cardholder, was introduced last year in Saudi Arabia.

An illustration of how direct debit works, courtesy of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).

“All of these efforts collectively from the SAMA side are to reach the ambitious goal of the FSDP.”

Hafiz explained that e-payments saved time and effort and allowed people to access service and goods around-the-clock. 

“This is basically why SAMA is very active and now we see SAMA and the National Payment System are responsible and leading (the country) toward a cashless society by achieving the target set by 2030.”

Last February the Amazon-owned Payfort online payments service registered a new company in Saudi Arabia.

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.

E-payments in the Kingdom are expected to double over the next four years to reach more than $22 billion, the report added.