SABB & HSBC execute first blockchain trade transaction in KSA, Bahrain

Updated 23 November 2019

SABB & HSBC execute first blockchain trade transaction in KSA, Bahrain

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) and HSBC have for the first time used blockchain technology in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to finance international trade. The move is expected to put Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at the forefront of global trade, introducing new levels of efficiency, security and transparency for corporates looking to access new markets.

The transaction involved the shipment of homogenized aluminum billets from Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) to Saudi Arabia’s Altaiseer Aluminium Corporation (TALCO). A letter of credit was issued by TALCO on a blockchain-based platform using R3’s Corda system.

Majed Najm, deputy managing director, corporate and institutional banking, SABB, said: “There’s been a lot of excitement about the commercial benefits of blockchain, so I’m proud we’re first to use it to improve how Saudi corporates trade internationally. Blockchain can improve many aspects of international trade, so it’s great to be in a position to pioneer these changes for the good of our customers and the economy.”

Melika Betley, CEO, HSBC Bahrain, said: “As the world’s leading bank for trade finance, HSBC is actively supporting the adoption of technologies such as blockchain to make global trade faster, safer and simpler. With intraregional trade continuing to grow, we see tremendous potential for blockchain in the GCC.”

Suliman S. Al-Oufi, general manager, TALCO, said: “We’re delighted to be the first to trial the use of blockchain in this way. We’ve always been innovative in terms of technology related to our product so it is a natural progression to explore innovation that helps us to trade more efficiently with our key overseas partners.”

We’re delighted banks like SABB are exploring new ways to take the hassle out of international trade for Saudi companies.”

Ali Al-Baqali, acting CEO, Alba, said: “Bahrain is on the go to establish itself as a hub for digital solutions specifically in fintech arena within the region. At Alba, we don’t see ourselves just as an aluminum supplier but we want to be also recognized for our progression in selling and trading more efficiently through digital platforms with our key partners such as TALCO.”

Gaming hardware sales in KSA, UAE surge by 29% in H1 2020

Updated 22 September 2020

Gaming hardware sales in KSA, UAE surge by 29% in H1 2020

One of the few sectors that have been positively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, achieving robust growth as a result of spikes in consumer demand during the lockdown, is gaming. According to GfK Point of Sales tracking of the sector in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the first six months revenue generated by gaming hardware surged by 29 percent, bringing the overall value of the market to $256 million.

Gaming notebooks (32 percent), video game consoles (31 percent), and gaming and leisure devices (17 percent) account for the top three largest shares of the pie, contributing more than $207 million to this sector from January to June. During this period, the fastest growing categories were gaming monitors and gaming keyboards/mice, which generated 110 and 77 percent respectively more sales revenue compared to the same period last year. Exponential growth was also recorded for gaming notebooks and gaming headsets, both of which reported a 60 percent surge in sales value.

Growth in the gaming segments tracked by GfK was sustained post lockdown in the two markets. Findings in the second quarter reflected devices such as gaming monitors and keyboards continuing to record increased sales by over twofold (+155 percent and +135 percent), while regular monitors (-22 percent) and keyboards (-12 percent) either decelerated in growth or slipped into decline. Similar trends can be seen across the other products such as notebooks, headsets, peripherals, etc.

“At the onset of the global pandemic, we witnessed the emergence of diverse trends in the technical consumer goods markets, sequenced over multiple phases — panic, adapt and new normal,” said Shika Samuel, analyst for IT panel at GfK. “We observed consumers warming up their appetite for gaming devices as they started exploring socially distant ways to keep themselves occupied and amused amid the pandemic lockdown.”

Samuel added: “Technological developments and innovations in the digital space, including the highly anticipated rollout of 5G will continue to fuel the rapid growth of gaming globally, post pandemic.”