‘Saudi Inc’ author says no shows won’t dent KSA investment appeal

Ellen Wald said that Saudi Arabia had a greater need for technology and know-how than for cash investment. (Twitter: @EnergzdEconomy)
Updated 23 October 2018
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‘Saudi Inc’ author says no shows won’t dent KSA investment appeal

  • Ellen Wald said there was an element of symbolism in the decision by some executives not to attend the Future Investment Initiative
  • Wald also said that the absence of many big name investors from the US and Europe might hand an advantage to other potential business partners

RIYADH: An American expert on US-Saudi business affairs believes that the withdrawal of some senior business leaders from the investment conference that opens in Riyadh today does not reflect the Kingdom’s commercial attractions.
Ellen Wald, president of the Transversal Consulting think-tank and author of the recent book “Saudi Inc,” told Arab News that there was an element of symbolism in the decision by some executives not to attend the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital, and that many business people were still looking to do business there.
“I think the big pull out of CEOs is not really reflective of the corporate interest in the Kingdom because we see them sending their next level of executives along. So to some degree it (the CEO pullout) is symbolic. I think what they experience here this week will have an effect,” she said.
Wald also said that the absence of many big name investors from the US and Europe might hand an advantage to potential business partners in other parts of the world.
“In terms of attracting foreign investment, Saudi Arabia could have strategic leverage with Russia and China, and a unique opportunity to work on cutting edge technolgies,” she said.
Wald was speaking at an event organized by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center to discuss her book. She said that Saudi Arabia had a greater need for technology and know-how than for cash investment.
“With regard to foreign investment, it is not about extracting money, but about extracting expertise. The Saudi model has been to hire outside industrial talent, for example the Public Investment Fund and its cinema partner AMC. They are buying expertise in the same way that the Saudis bought in expertise with Aramco, all those years ago. Eventually they (PIF) will buy the cinemas out or bring in somebody else to run them,” she added.


New tech regulation ‘inevitable,’ Apple CEO Cook says

Updated 19 November 2018
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New tech regulation ‘inevitable,’ Apple CEO Cook says

  • ‘I’m a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here’
  • ‘I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation’

WASHINGTON: Apple CEO Tim Cook predicts that new regulations of tech companies and social networks to protect personal data are “inevitable.”
In an interview with news website Axios being broadcast Sunday on HBO television, Cook said he expected the US Congress would take up the matter.
“Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation,” Cook said in an excerpt released by Axios. “I’m a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation.
“I think the Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.”
Cook has previously been a proponent of self-regulation, especially as concerns user data protection.
But following the scandal that saw data consultancy Cambridge Analytica obtain data from millions of Facebook users, Cook said the industry was now “beyond” the scope of self-regulation.
Facebook has been trying to fend off concerns about how well it protects user data and defends against use of the site to spread misinformation aimed at swaying elections.
Controversies that have battered Facebook since the 2016 presidential election in the United States have raised questions over whether co-founder Mark Zuckerberg should keep his post as chief executive.
Turning to gender inequality in the workplace, Cook said the tech industry has generally been strong in diversity, even though a male-dominated culture prevails.
“I agree 100 percent from a gender point of view that the (Silicon) Valley has missed it, and tech in general has missed it,” he said.
However, Cook added, “I’m actually encouraged at this point that there will be a more marked improvement over time.”