SABB named ‘Saudi Arabia’s Best Bank 2021’ for second year in row

SABB named ‘Saudi Arabia’s Best Bank 2021’ for second year in row
Tony Cripps, managing director of SABB.
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Updated 15 June 2021

SABB named ‘Saudi Arabia’s Best Bank 2021’ for second year in row

SABB named ‘Saudi Arabia’s Best Bank 2021’ for second year in row

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) has won the “Saudi Arabia’s Best Bank 2021” award given out by the Global Finance magazine for the second year in a row. The award is voted on by industry leaders, based on criteria including growth in assets, profitability, geographical scope, strategic relations, new business development and product innovation.

Global Finance is a monthly magazine founded in 1987 and headquartered in New York. Each year Global Finance selects the best financial institutions around the world. These awards have become a recognized and trusted standard of excellence.

Tony Cripps, managing director of SABB, said: “We are proud to have received this award for the second year in a row for the bank’s outstanding performance in providing innovative products and services to our customers and expanding our strategic relationships on the local, regional and global scale. We are also focused on investing in the strengths that we have established over the past years and growing in new areas in line with the opportunities offered by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. After the success of our historic merger, we are in a stronger position and ready for future opportunities the Saudi market is witnessing in various fields.”

SABB is keen to move forward toward achieving its vision under the slogan “We bring a world of financial opportunities to an ambitious Kingdom.” The slogan emphasizes its keenness to continue supporting the ambitious growth plans of the National Transformation Program and the basic programs to achieve Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

SABB recently completed the historic merger with Alawwal Bank, which marks a positive step that will have a direct impact on the development of the financial sector in the Kingdom. The bank offers a range of services in corporate banking to support growth in all aspects of the economy and financing the largest infrastructure projects, in addition to enabling retail banking customers to access a wider branch network with the development of digital banking. 

SABB also continues to strengthen its position in highlighting ESG (environmental, social and governance) in the Kingdom through its participation as one of the main organizers of pooled financing of SR14 billion ($3.7 billion) for The Red Sea Development Company. 

SABB was established in 1978 as a Saudi joint stock company. It is an associate company of the HSBC Group.


Calling all entrepreneurs: MITEF Startup Competition launches

The MITEF Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia startup competitions have succeeded in establishing more than 550 startups and providing more than 15,600 job opportunities. (Supplied)
The MITEF Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia startup competitions have succeeded in establishing more than 550 startups and providing more than 15,600 job opportunities. (Supplied)
Updated 16 September 2021

Calling all entrepreneurs: MITEF Startup Competition launches

The MITEF Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia startup competitions have succeeded in establishing more than 550 startups and providing more than 15,600 job opportunities. (Supplied)
  • The competition aims to enable entrepreneurs and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, with a special focus this year on Madinah.

RIYADH: MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia have announced the launch of the MITEF Startup Competition 2021-2022. This year’s competition will provide the opportunity for the participants from Arab Startup Competition and Saudi Startup Competition to compete under a single competition, organized and supported by Bab Rizq Jameel and Community Jameel Saudi and under the patronage of the governorate of Madinah.

The MITEF Startup Competition 2021-2022 pits entrepreneurs in three different tracks: Ideas, Startups and Social Entrepreneurship. The competition aims to enable entrepreneurs and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, with a special focus this year on Madinah. This year’s edition launches with the slogan “Empowering Today. Transforming Tomorrow” and takes participants through a seven-month journey, filled with exciting activities like top-tier training, mentorship, media exposure, and networking opportunities. Moreover, the winning teams benefit from equity free-fund cash prizes.

The MITEF Startup Competition 2021-2022 will conclude with a final conference and awards ceremony that will take place during the Start Smart Conference in March 2022 in Madinah, during which this year’s Startup Investment Forum will also take place.

Applications are open for submissions until Dec. 6. Entrepreneurs and innovators from Saudi Arabia and the Arab world of all ages and industries can apply to one of the competition’s three tracks through the competition’s website: www.mitarabcompetition.com or www.mitefsaudi.org. The competition’s organizers will be conducting several roadshows and informative sessions throughout several Arab countries and Saudi Arabia, introducing the competition’s criteria and application process and helping candidates perfect their applications.

Mohammed Sanad Al-Yousif, CEO of the Economic Development Center in the Madinah governorate, said: “Community Jameel Saudi’s MITEF Startup Competition contributes to the enhancement of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the success of the region’s startups, and the support given to ideas and investment projects. This is the role that serves the expansion and support of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

He added: “We are pleased to host the forum in Madinah as a global destination for launching businesses and attracting qualitative investments to achieve sustainable development.”

Hala Fadel, founder and chair of MITEF Pan Arab, said: “After running the Arab Startup Competition for 15 successful editions in different Arab cities, we realize the importance of empowering our entrepreneurs by providing them with the proper training and mentorship and the effect that they have on transforming the entrepreneurship ecosystem. According to the 2020 Arab Entrepreneurship Maturity Index: Insights and Forecasts report that we published, ASC startups’ customer base grew by 43 percent over the previous two years and 45 percent of startups expanded into new geographic markets, notably the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa and East Asia.”

Hassan Jameel, vice chairman of Community Jameel, said: “We are proud to be a partner and to take part in this exceptional edition of the 2021-2022 MITEF Startup Competition welcoming entrepreneurs across the Arab world. The MITEF Pan Arab and MITEF Saudi Arabia startup competitions have succeeded in establishing more than 550 startups and providing more than 15,600 job opportunities.”


Oppo raises the bar with Reno6 Series 5G

 Oppo launched the Reno6 Series 5G with brand ambassador Mohammed Salah. The superphones enable users to capture their emotions in portrait providing a professional-level experience. (Supplied)
 Oppo launched the Reno6 Series 5G with brand ambassador Mohammed Salah. The superphones enable users to capture their emotions in portrait providing a professional-level experience. (Supplied)
Updated 16 September 2021

Oppo raises the bar with Reno6 Series 5G

 Oppo launched the Reno6 Series 5G with brand ambassador Mohammed Salah. The superphones enable users to capture their emotions in portrait providing a professional-level experience. (Supplied)
  • The Oppo Reno6 Series 5G contains two powerful handsets, the Oppo Reno6 Z 5G and Reno6 Pro 5G, both of which offer powerful photo and video-taking capabilities complemented by smart AI algorithms.

RIYADH: Oppo, a global smart device brand, launched on Wednesday its newest Reno series, the Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G and Reno6Z 5G. The Reno6 series comes with an industry-first Bokeh Flare Portrait Video, industry-leading Reno Glow design, and AI Highlight Video to deliver a flagship-level performance that captures every emotion accurately in a portrait.

Richard Sun, president of Oppo KSA, said: “At Oppo, technological innovations lie at the ethos of our product development and growth trajectory and hence we have always been committed to delivering an all-rounder smartphone with best-in-class innovations for our consumers in the Saudi market, especially through the Reno6’s AI portrait video capabilities aimed to provide Oppo users superior portrait video experience, which is especially suitable for youngsters and aligns with their interests of social video scenarios. To cater to these demands, we are launching our most awaited Reno6 series — crafted and designed with passion. The 5G superphone will enable users to capture their emotions in portrait providing an ultimate professional-level experience. The Oppo Reno6 series is truly a smartphone of the future!”

The Oppo Reno6 Series 5G contains two powerful handsets, the Oppo Reno6 Z 5G and Reno6 Pro 5G, both of which offer powerful photo and video-taking capabilities complemented by smart AI algorithms.

Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G has a 50 MP main camera, which includes the ultra-powerful imaging sensor — Sony IMX766, along with a 32 MP selfie camera. Oppo Reno6 Z 5G features a triple-camera setup on the back, including a 64 MP main camera, plus a 32 MP selfie camera on the front.

The industry-first Bokeh Flare Portrait Video provides a pioneering professional-grade cinematic quality bokeh effect for smartphone video. Powered by Oppo’s over-10-million portrait datasets and AI algorithms, Bokeh Flare Portrait Video delivers real-time video processing to capture portrait videos, all the while keeping the portrait subjects appearing natural and bright. Available on both the front and rear cameras, it also comes with video stabilization and video beautification features.

AI Highlight Video can automatically detect ambient light and make video optimizations accordingly. Whether you are shooting at night or with strong backlight in the day, AI Highlight Video helps you to capture clearer, brighter, and more vividly colored portrait videos.

Focus Tracking enables enhanced video auto-focusing by identifying and automatically tracking main subjects consistently.

Meanwhile, the dual-view video on the Reno6 Z 5G allows users to use both the front and rear cameras simultaneously, resulting in two perspectives within the same frame in videos. This feature in Reno6 Pro 5G enables users to record videos from the front and rear cameras simultaneously and supports three different split-screen layouts: Split, round and rectangle.


Giordano launches internship program in Saudi Arabia

Giordano launches internship program in Saudi Arabia
Updated 16 September 2021

Giordano launches internship program in Saudi Arabia

Giordano launches internship program in Saudi Arabia

Giordano Saudi Arabia recently rolled out its new internship program, in conjunction with the Jeddah Chapter of the Entrepreneur Organization.
The innovative internship program has been tailor-made for the Saudi market, offering participants a full range of site visits and tours, followed by work experience in both Giordano’s retail stores and in their preferred functional departments at the company’s regional headquarters. Participants will attend sessions on sales and marketing and visual merchandising, culminating with a final assessment and the issuance of a completion certificate.
Ahmedullah Abdul Hadi, chief operating officer of Giordano Saudi Arabia, said: “The Giordano KSA internship program is completely bespoke. We have taken elements from the Fast-Track Management Scheme operated by Giordano’s global headquarters, which has successfully produced a number of young senior executives, and injected our own local expertise and knowledge, culminating in a truly unique experience for participants.”
He added: “Our aim is to maximize the interaction between the company and the participants, striking a balance between conveying our core values while allowing the interns to make decisions about their participation early on, with a view to identifying potential talent for long-term development.”
The Entrepreneur Organization is a global, peer-to-peer network of more than 4,000 influential business owners with 198 chapters in 61 countries. Founded in 1987, the EO enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, with a view to creating greater success in business and beyond. The Jeddah Chapter of the organization was founded in 2004, and currently has 26 members, representing more than 16,000 employees.
Established in 1981, Giordano is an international retailer of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel. It now operates around 2,100 stores and counters in Greater China, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, India and the GCC.


Sidra Capital acquires Countryside PLC HQ in UK

Sidra Capital acquires Countryside PLC HQ in UK
Updated 15 September 2021

Sidra Capital acquires Countryside PLC HQ in UK

Sidra Capital acquires Countryside PLC HQ in UK

Sidra Capital, a GCC-based Shariah-compliant asset manager, has announced the completion of its acquisition of a freehold Countryside House HQ in the M25 submarket of Brentwood, UK. The transaction is valued at £19 million ($26.2 million).

The acquired property is fully let to Countryside PLC, a FTSE 250 company, on an unbroken 15-year lease and is undergoing a comprehensive £8 million refurbishment to transform the property into a state-of-the-art, future-proofed HQ building with excellent environmental credentials.

The Grade A office building is located in an established southeast submarket and benefits from excellent transport links to Central London and the rest of the UK. The three floors of office space comprise 38,878 square feet and the building provides 165 parking spaces, offering an excellent parking ratio of 1:1235 square feet, while enhancing an already extremely attractive working environment.

Commenting on the transaction, Hani Baothman, chairman of Sidra Capital, said: “We are pleased to have completed the acquisition of this exceptional HQ building whose value is enhanced by the long let to a strong tenant in an attractive M25 location.

HIGHLIGHT

The acquired property is fully let to Countryside PLC, a FTSE 250 company, on an unbroken 15-year lease and is undergoing a comprehensive £8 million refurbishment.

This demonstrates not only our commitment to the UK market but also to our belief that modern fit-for-purpose office buildings in strong locations will remain attractive to both tenants and investors. The transaction confirms our commitment to providing investors with attractive high-yielding investment opportunities in global mature markets that fulfill their investment objectives and aspirations.”

The transaction bolsters Sidra Capital’s real estate investment strategy in the UK, which is buoyed by the prospect of economic growth and renewed investor sentiment as the UK GDP returns to pre-COVID levels.

“An easing of COVID-19 restrictions has served to rebuild investor confidence, which in turn brought liquidity and positive sentiment back to the market,” Baothman added.
Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Saudi Arabia — with offices in Jeddah, Riyadh and London, Sidra Capital is a Shariah-compliant asset manager that specializes in income-generating real estate and private finance.
 


Huawei’s Petal Search among top 2 search engines in KSA

Petal Search is highly localized, providing users with information on nearby services, shopping deals, hotels, flights, local, regional and international news.
Petal Search is highly localized, providing users with information on nearby services, shopping deals, hotels, flights, local, regional and international news.
Updated 15 September 2021

Huawei’s Petal Search among top 2 search engines in KSA

Petal Search is highly localized, providing users with information on nearby services, shopping deals, hotels, flights, local, regional and international news.

Petal Search, an innovative application and search engine preinstalled on new Huawei smartphones, has emerged as the second most frequently used search engine in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, according to Statcounter — a web traffic analysis website.
Petal Search is available on Huawei smartphones as well as on Android devices. Launched in 2020 and inspired by Huawei’s logo, the search engine is highly localized, providing users with information on nearby services, shopping deals, hotels, flights, local, regional and international news, and curated content that is personalized using local data.
“Petal Search is an intuitive, results-oriented, and user-friendly search tool, providing users with a wealth of real-time information directly relevant to them, when they need it,” said Adam Xiao, managing director, HMS and consumer cloud service for Huawei Consumer Business Group MEA. “By becoming the second most-used search engine in key MENA markets following its launch just last year, we are on the right track with the development and evolution of Petal Search. To address the growing user demand, we will continue to improve the search engine with new features and local partners that generate results which are directly relevant to our users.”

By becoming the second most-used search engine in key MENA markets following its launch just last year, we are on the right track with the development and evolution of Petal Search.

Adam Xiao, Managing Director, Huawei Consumer Business Group MEA

Among the innovations in Petal Search is a visual search feature that can search for and detect multiple objects in an image simultaneously. To enhance ease of use and accessibility, integrated voice search functionality has been expanded to include Arabic and Turkish, in addition to English, Spanish and French.
The search engine’s integrated App Search feature allows users to search directly on Huawei AppGallery, the default application marketplace for Huawei devices, and other third-party app sources. With Shopping Search, consumers can search for favorite products they want to buy and then directly follow a link to make a purchase. Travel Search enables users to reserve flights from within Petal Search, book hotels around the world, and search for information such as flight arrival times, local shopping destinations, retail outlets for electronics, games and much more, providing a wholly reimagined search experience for users.
Petal Search’s innovation-driven strategy will continue to leverage Huawei’s cutting-edge technology and cloud synergy capabilities, allowing users to achieve a one-stop-shop experience from information acquisition to service acquisition. The search engine’s key driver is to focus on overseas markets and collaborate with local partners to build a new global mobile search ecosystem.