Huawei: Creating new value through innovations in 5G, AI & cloud to support Vision 2030

Huawei: Creating new value through innovations in 5G, AI & cloud to support Vision 2030
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Updated 17 December 2020

Huawei: Creating new value through innovations in 5G, AI & cloud to support Vision 2030

Huawei: Creating new value through innovations in 5G, AI & cloud to support Vision 2030

During Huawei Day KSA 2020 — held online on Dec. 16 and exploring the key theme of “Creating New Value Together” — thought leaders from across the government and enterprise sectors shared the latest developments in digital transformation, and outlined the newest information and communications technology (ICT) products and solutions. Simply put, the event opened the door to the possibilities of the digital world, serving as an effective platform for business and strategic dialogue.

Opening the event, Terry He, CEO of Huawei Saudi Arabia, outlined the company’s vision in a keynote titled “Hi, Intelligent Saudi.” He elaborated on how Vision 2030 has now entered the second five-year development plan, and would open the age of intelligence for governments and enterprises in Saudi Arabia. As a global provider of ICT infrastructure and smart devices, Huawei offers a diverse range of innovative ICT products and solutions, and has extensive experience working in the government and enterprise domains.

During the event, it was noted that, according to OpenSignal, experience tests have been conducted in 12 leading 5G countries, and that Saudi Arabia ranked No. 1 in terms of average download rate and user experience improvement. Huawei has worked with operators and partners to achieve an optimal 5G user experience. Together with its partners, Huawei will continue working to bring 5G into even more industries — such as oil and gas, power, government, and healthcare — meeting the different requirements of diverse customers.

Other highlights from Huawei Day KSA 2020 included the announcement that Huawei will increase investment in the artificial intelligence (AI) field in Saudi Arabia. On Oct. 22, Huawei signed a strategic partnership with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) at the Global AI Summit to support the development of Arabic language optical character recognition (OCR) and automatic speech recognition (ASR) AI services. The partnership also covered the development of local AI talent, and the establishment of a national AI capability platform.

During the day, Huawei Cloud officially launched its services in the Middle East. Cloud is the most suitable platform to unleash computing power today. This will provide cost-effective cloud services for all industries across the region, including Saudi Arabia. CEO He said that with the collaborative development of 5G, cloud, AI, computing, and industrial applications, the country can unleash the incredible potential of digital technologies, and create new value for governments and enterprises, working together with Huawei to embrace the digital economy and a smart society.

In a panel discussion under the theme of “Innovative ICT Empowers Smart Cities,” Dr. Noha Ahmed Al-Harthi, technology lead for technology and digital sector of NEOM, said: “NEOM’s ambition is to build the world’s first truly digitally sustainable and cognitive environment which will be the engine for not only Saudi, but also the region and the entire world. From the technology view, its foundation should have three core capabilities: Connectivity, compute, and contextualize. We need technology providers like Huawei who can contribute to that.”

During the event, Fouad Alsherebi, chairman of Nesma Telecom and Technology, shared stories about the company’s cooperation with Huawei. Nesma is one of the leading companies in Saudi Arabia in communications technology and energy infrastructure, with a team of highly-skilled experts who have both the required experience and the know-how to meet the needs of clients and markets. In 2020, Huawei and Nesma won a major project as well as several other strategic projects in NEOM. Alsherebi said that Nesma hoped to continue to enhance the two companies’ partnership, develop even better digital service solutions, and help Saudi Arabia achieve its digital transformation goals.

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KAUST & SABB to host virtual Taqadam showcase

KAUST & SABB to host virtual Taqadam showcase
Updated 38 min 13 sec ago

KAUST & SABB to host virtual Taqadam showcase

KAUST & SABB to host virtual Taqadam showcase

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will host the Taqadam startup accelerator showcase, where graduates from the program’s 2020 cohort will demonstrate their ventures at a virtual event on March 10. Through three-minute pitches, the graduates will be presenting virtually to a network of top-tier local and international investors and judges. 

The six-month-long startup accelerator program, which is based at KAUST and sponsored by Saudi British Bank (SABB), aims to develop early-stage entrepreneurs and their concepts into new, high-potential startups. The theme of this year’s showcase, “Creativity Crystallized,” reflects the intense pressure entrepreneurs are facing amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic made this a very challenging year for our 2020 Taqadam cohort,” said Dr. Kevin Cullen, vice president of innovation and economic development at KAUST. “However, these entrepreneurs rose to that challenge and did an amazing job and thrived under pressure. Their resilience and perseverance reflect the amazing talent we have in our Saudi entrepreneurship ecosystem and we are extremely proud to be a part of and contributing to it as KAUST establishes itself as the deep tech heart of the Saudi economy.” 

The 2020 Taqadam startup accelerator cohort includes 76 founders, representing 37 startup finalists, from diverse industries, including e-commerce, medtech, edtech and fintech. The accepted teams received SR150,000 ($40,000) in zero-equity grant-funding. The competition was fierce for this cohort as more than 561 startups applied with only 59 shortlisted. Of those, 37 top startups graduated from the program.  

Teams usually have access to co-working and lab facilities but had to go virtual in 2020 due to COVID-19. Empowered by mentorship and online collaborative tools, the aspiring entrepreneurs worked to bring their ideas to market through training in topics, such as growth hacking, fundraising, sales, pricing, marketing and more. Taqadam utilizes KAUST and SABB’s powerful networks to connect founders with expert mentors and industry leaders in the startup ecosystem, helping guide them throughout their startup journey. 

Majed Najm, SABB’s deputy managing director of corporate and institutional banking, said: “We’re excited to work with KAUST to offer such a unique opportunity for young entrepreneurs to secure zero-equity funding. Taqadam is all about equipping young entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into successful businesses. Not only are they getting the chance to get feedback on their pitching skills — they could also secure a transformational investment. We wish everyone involved the best of luck.”

At the annual showcase event, startup graduates will be competing for a prize pool of over SR4 million in zero-equity funding. Judges will select 10 winners to receive a prize valued at SR375,000 each. In addition, the audience will vote on a People’s Choice Award for one startup to receive a prize of SR375,000. These awards will support the startups to accelerate operations, grow their business and expand their teams.


Kanoo Travel named Kingdom’s leading business travel agency

Kanoo Travel named Kingdom’s leading business travel agency
Updated 39 min 35 sec ago

Kanoo Travel named Kingdom’s leading business travel agency

Kanoo Travel named Kingdom’s leading business travel agency

Kanoo Travel, a fully owned business division of Yusuf bin Ahmed Kanoo Group, has been named Saudi Arabia’s “Leading Business Travel Agency” in 2020 by the 27th World Travel Awards. The company’s management was informed about the decision earlier this year and received the award in February.

“For almost a decade our strategy has been focused on corporate clients, which allowed us to develop the capabilities and know-how to serve them in the best way possible,” said Nabeel Kanoo, president of Kanoo Travel. “We’ve been operating in Saudi Arabia since the 1950s and we have successfully managed to build strong and stable relationships with many clients in all cities, which makes this award a true reflection of our efforts and hard work, especially during the challenging times of a global pandemic.” 

World Travel Awards were established in 1993 to acknowledge and reward excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Each year, the awards host a series of regional gala ceremonies across the world, to celebrate successful businesses in the industry. In 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gala ceremony was replaced with an online event.

Kanoo Travel is the largest travel management company in the MENA region, specializing in corporate, marine, leisure travel, airline representation and meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE). It offers a wide range of compliance-driven, cost-effective travel management services and solutions. Kanoo Travel operates a network of more than 70 IATA locations and has offices in the Arabian Gulf region, Egypt and London. The company has a longstanding partnership with American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) that gives it access to one of the world’s largest travel agency networks. 


IMA collaborates with KSA’s Financial Academy to bridge the skills gap

IMA collaborates with KSA’s Financial Academy to bridge the skills gap
Updated 41 min 32 sec ago

IMA collaborates with KSA’s Financial Academy to bridge the skills gap

IMA collaborates with KSA’s Financial Academy to bridge the skills gap

IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) and Saudi Arabia’s Financial Academy have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in an effort to further professional initiatives for both organizations. As part of the collaboration, the Financial Academy and IMA will create awareness on the importance of skills development and the need for the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) certification, through seminars, workshops, conferences and research initiatives. 

The MoU was signed by Hanadi Khalife, IMA’s senior director of Middle East and India operations, and Mana Al-Khamsan, director general of the Financial Academy. The partnership aims to advance the academy’s objectives to promote professional development of its members in the finance and accounting professions. IMA and the Financial Academy will jointly promote IMA membership and resources, including its CMA certification and the Financial Academy’s programs.

“We are continuously investing our global network, knowledge, and expertise to inform the future of the finance and accounting profession in every country that we operate in by helping well-established institutions such as the Financial Academy to provide a holistic approach to education,” said Khalife. “CMAs can be important constituents in the reshaping of the new economy of the Kingdom as the country enters this fundamental era of diversification from an oil-reliant economy and onto becoming a pivot for global trade and finance. This is a historical moment for the region, and we are excited to be able to contribute to its progress.” 

“Our agreement with IMA comes as part of the academy’s ambitious focus on implementing Vision 2030 — the economic plan that will confirm the Kingdom’s status as an economic and investment powerhouse and as a central hub connecting three continents,” said Al-Khamsan. “We believe our goals will be achieved through the support of the world’s leading finance and accounting minds including CMAs. Our partnership with IMA is a step in that direction.” 

The CMA program will be directed at students who enroll for specific programs at the Financial Academy.

Many of these students will then go on and serve in companies and be associated with accounting and finance, governance, compliance, and internal audit functions both in the public and private sectors.


MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East

MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East
Updated 01 March 2021

MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East

MG Motor reveals brand refresh in Middle East

MG Motor has announced details of its new strategic brand positioning for the Middle East, celebrating the company’s achievements and history, as it embarks on the next stage of its technology-focused journey. By implementing this fresh new approach, the first time MG has developed a bespoke position for the Middle East, the brand is demonstrating its commitment to the region as it sets itself on a sustainable and technologically innovative course toward the future.

Through this new campaign, the brand aims to connect with, empower and inspire its young and millennial customers by reflecting their active mindset. Developed following extensive research, MG’s new positioning is encapsulated by the “Do More” tagline, which highlights how the British-born brand has been continuously pushing boundaries since its founding in 1924. 

The announcement comes just five years after MG made its return to the region, during which time the brand has made a significant impact on the car market. Last year it recorded a 72 percent increase in sales, breaking into the GCC’s top 10 car makers for the first time.

Tom Lee, managing director at MG Motor Middle East, said: “MG possesses an extremely rich history, and we are very proud of what this brand has offered and has yet to offer. The pride we take in the MG heritage will allow us to further cement its place among the elite group of automakers in the world.”

Lee continued: “We are confident that, through this exciting new positioning, our brand will become even more recognizable among our customers. MG has remarkable stories to tell, and we are determined to bring these rich stories to life through our models. We have many exciting plans, and are set on bringing back the vintage MG 2-door sports sedan as an all-electric model. We are looking forward to telling the MG story in the most unique way, allowing our customers to join us on this journey we are undertaking.”

With its regional head office in Dubai, MG has recently expanded into additional markets, such as Jordan and Iraq. MG is now active in nine countries across the GCC and Middle East: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 

The brand’s new positioning highlights how high-tech connectivity and mobility are key to providing a holistic experience, as it blazes its way into a cutting-edge, highly advanced future. This will be reflected through authentic, adventurous and bold digital content produced by MG and its current and future customers.

The “Do More” campaign will reflect MG’s product lineup, which is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The brand’s new visual identity will adopt brighter color schemes and bold, sleek lines, with mood boards that will exude dynamism, energy and fun. MG is looking to inspire millennials to bring their own unique elegance to the MG community.


Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children

Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children
Updated 01 March 2021

Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children

Sanad, La Vache qui rit bring laughter to children

Saudi-based nonprofit Sanad Children’s Cancer Support Association has partnered with La Vache qui rit or The Laughing Cow, a brand of processed cheese, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, to bring laughter to those who need it the most.

The nonprofit association provides services to children with tumors across the Kingdom, supports children’s centers with the medical equipment they need, and provides social, residential, educational and recreational services for patients and their families — citizens and residents — in need. In addition, the center also focuses on funding research and studies in the field of childhood cancer.

Running for one month starting Feb. 15, La Vache qui rit has introduced a dedicated web-application where consumers can register and “laugh to donate.” Showcasing the uniqueness and power of each person’s laughter, the initiative will turn every laugh recorded into a monetary donation toward the Sanad Children’s Cancer Support Association.

A simple click on www.100ytlc.com is all that is required to record the laughter through the device’s microphone; each laugh recorded will boost contributions toward children in need. Donations generated through the online platform will be utilized toward the association’s “Make a Wish” program. This program focuses on making children’s wishes come true — ranging from toys such as blocks and puzzles, to gadgets such as gaming consoles and smartphones, to large-scale activities such as a curated personalized art gallery.

“We believe that our partnership with La Vache qui rit for the Golden February campaign and supporting children with cancer is a noble cause, and we proudly celebrate it this year with International Childhood Cancer Day,” said Reem Alhegelan, general manager at Sanad.

“The monetary contribution will be toward the ‘Make a Wish’ program that fulfills children’s wishes. We believe that making their wishes come true during the difficult times they are going through, will help improve their lives and maintain their psychological balance during intensive treatments. This year’s slogan “Gold at heart,” is for all the pure hearts who are willing to contribute to our fruitful journey.”

Garo Matossian, general manager, Bel Group Middle East, manufacturer of La Vache qui rit, said: “We are joining forces with Sanad Children’s Cancer Support Association on our 100-year anniversary to make a difference in the lives of young children diagnosed with cancer. At La Vache qui rit, we believe that laughter is our most precious gift and our core mission is to inspire people to choose to laugh at life and garner the strength to face life’s difficulties every day. We want to give the Saudi community an opportunity to transform their laughter, or the laughter of their loved ones, into a good deed that can help those in need of optimism. La Vache qui rit has been in the homes of Saudi families for a very long time, and it is of utmost importance to us to ensure a healthier, happier society for generations to come.”