India’s Telangana state eyes Saudi investment

India’s Telangana state eyes Saudi investment
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Telangana’s Minister of IT, Industries, Municipal Administration and Urban Development K.T. Rama Rao addresses the two-day Telangana Investment Seminar.
India’s Telangana state eyes Saudi investment
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Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed addressing the seminar.
India’s Telangana state eyes Saudi investment
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Hamna Mariyam Khan, consul (commerce) at the Indian Consulate in Jeddah, conducted the proceedings.
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Updated 16 June 2021

India’s Telangana state eyes Saudi investment

India’s Telangana state eyes Saudi investment

A two-day Telangana Investment Seminar, organized by the Indian Embassy in Riyadh and Indian Consulate in Jeddah, in partnership with the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnership (SCISP) and the Telangana government, was held on Monday and Tuesday.

Held on a virtual platform, the highlight of the seminar was the keynote address delivered by Telangana’s young and dynamic Minister of IT, Industries, Municipal Administration and Urban Development K.T. Rama Rao. He is the son of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.

KTR, as he is popularly known in India, outlined the salient features of his state and pointed out that Telangana ranks near the top on all development indices, including ease of doing business. “The world’s major tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, have massive footprints in the Telangana capital Hyderabad,” he said.

“We are a very young state. In fact, it has only been seven years since the state was created in June 2014. We have excellent infrastructure and the fact that the world’s best tech giants have set up bases in Hyderabad is proof of our government’s business-friendly credentials,” said KTR.

He welcomed Saudi business investment in India, especially in Telangana. He said the laws of the state stipulated that the licensing for new businesses must be completed in only two weeks. According to him, most of the requirements and licensing details are online and they all follow a certain procedure called “self certification.”

“If, for any reason, the registration is delayed, then the official/bureaucrat has to pay a fine on the 16th day for not clearing the file. As per the law, if the licensing for a business/project has not been completed in 15 days, then on the 16th day, it is automatically assumed that the license has been approved,” he said.

KTR said Telangana has become the vaccine capital of the world and there was every possibility that one in every three human vaccines worldwide is produced in Hyderabad.

He appreciated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 program and said India in general and Telangana in particular stood ready to collaborate, and cooperate in creating new openings for two-way business opportunities.

KTR said that his government and his state would be more than willing to provide all answers to queries from Saudi business people and promised total transparency in business dealings.

Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed thanked KTR and extended an invitation to him to bring his delegation to Saudi Arabia some time soon in order to take further steps to enhance and strengthen Indo-Saudi business ties.

The ambassador stressed the strategic partnership agreement signed by India and Saudi Arabia during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019. “The agreement gave an additional impetus to the already formidable political and economic partnerships between the two friendly countries,” said Dr. Sayeed.

Saudi Indian Business Council (SIBC) Chairman Abdul Aziz Al-Qahtani described KTR’s presentation as “impressive” and said the webinar would go a long way to making Saudis look at Telangana as a profitable and sustainable investment destination.

Responding to different queries, KTR said answers to most of the frequently asked questions were available at the Telangana government’s investment dashboard, which can be accessed at https://invest.telangana.gov.in/.

The seminar concluded with Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan’s detailed presentation entitled “Invest in Telangana.” Other speakers included NITI Aayog’s Rakesh Sarwal and SCISP Executive Vice President Yasser Aldohaim.

The events on the first day were followed by several presentations which focused on agriculture, food processing, IT, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and fertilizers. Companies attending included Saudi Aramco, Juffali, Ma’aden,Tronox, SALIC, Almarai, Al-Munajem Cold Stores, STC, Cigalah and Jamjoom.

Hamna Mariyam Khan, consul (commerce) at the Indian Consulate in Jeddah, conducted the proceedings with aplomb.


‘Polish Table’ highlight of pavilion at Expo 2020

‘Polish Table’ highlight of pavilion at Expo 2020
Updated 57 min 23 sec ago

‘Polish Table’ highlight of pavilion at Expo 2020

‘Polish Table’ highlight of pavilion at Expo 2020
  • Visitors to the Poland Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will be welcomed by a spectacular installation

Visitors to the Poland Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will be welcomed by a spectacular installation titled the “Polish Table.” The installation will be a unique work of art, created from the raw materials characteristic of the country, such as copper, glass, wood, ceramics and carbon fibers, with the joint effort of Polish craftsmen, artists and engineers.

Moreover, a total of 150 students from top Polish universities (speaking 50 languages altogether) will be showing visitors over 2,000 square meters of the pavilion through its five zones, inviting guests to their cuisines, businesses, achievements and tourist attractions. Outside the pavilion, a kinetic sculpture representing hundreds of migrating birds from Poland all the way to the Arab countries, emphasizes the pavilion’s theme of “Creativity Inspired by Nature.”

“The architecture of the pavilion clearly refers to mobility: It is an open, modular structure expanding upwards, which invites visitors to rest in the shade of a wide roof and to contemplate the installations,” a statement said.

The pavilion, designed by the Warsaw studio WXCA, will be inaugurated on Oct. 1 by Polish government officials.


Innovative ‘Anghami Lab’ to be launched in Dubai, Riyadh

Innovative ‘Anghami Lab’ to be launched in Dubai, Riyadh
Updated 03 August 2021

Innovative ‘Anghami Lab’ to be launched in Dubai, Riyadh

Innovative ‘Anghami Lab’ to be launched in Dubai, Riyadh

Ahead of its historic listing on Nasdaq New York via a proposed merger with Vistas Media Acquisition Company, a special purpose acquisition company, Anghami, the Middle East and North Africa’s largest music platform, has announced the launch of an innovative entertainment venue — “Anghami Lab” — in the heart of Dubai, to be followed by Saudi Arabia’s vibrant capital Riyadh and other major cities.

Anghami has partnered with Addmind, a hospitality company, operating nine leading brands such as White, Iris and Clap across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Qatar and London, to launch the new concept. Anghami Lab will be the first to combine both online and offline worlds, bridging digital and traditional entertainment. The venue will feature a lounge, stage and studio where creators can experiment by co-creating music inspired by both Arabic and international cultures to be performed in the venue. The resulting music will be made available exclusively on Anghami. The app itself will provide unique features complementing both experiences. 

The cuisine served at Anghami Lab will be a fusion of Arabic and international recipes, embodying the essence of Anghami and providing an international taste with an Arabic flavor. 

Eddy Maroun, co-founder and CEO of Anghami, said: “We are excited to partner with Addmind to create this unique, transformational experience for our users. Addmind is a leading expert in conceptualizing and operating hospitality spaces, and this is a great opportunity to further reinforce the value we provide digitally to be converged offline in a unique user-to-guest experience.”

The first venue will open in Dubai in early 2022. Following the Dubai location, Anghami Lab will launch in Riyadh, Jeddah, Cairo, Beirut and other global cities such as London, New York and Los Angeles.

Tony Habre, CEO of Addmind, added: “Anghami is more than just a streaming platform; they have elevated the value of the music industry in the Middle East as a whole. Anghami Lab is an amazing and unique concept that embodies our rich Arab culture with an international twist — which we are thrilled to bring to fruition and scale.”

Anghami recently announced it expects to become a publicly traded company via a merger with Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc.


UAE aquarium to house region’s largest shark collection

UAE aquarium to house region’s largest shark collection
Updated 03 August 2021

UAE aquarium to house region’s largest shark collection

UAE aquarium to house region’s largest shark collection

The National Aquarium (TNA), located in Al-Qana, Abu Dhabi, will showcase an astonishing biodiversity of species when it opens its doors later this year. The largest aquarium in the region, TNA houses more than 200 sharks and rays, representing 25 different species. Teaming with marine life, the aquarium will provide guests with a remarkable opportunity to delve into a submarine world and discover the awe-inspiring variety of species found within our oceans. 

It is also the only place in the UAE to house a school of iconic scalloped hammerhead sharks. Additionally, the bull sharks will also make their debut in the region and guests will be able to see first hand what is widely considered one of the most dangerous shark species in the ocean and rivers. Other species of sharks and rays will include sand tiger sharks, lemon sharks, zebra sharks, black tip reef sharks, eagle rays, shovelnose rays, cownose rays, and freshwater rays, among others. 

Sharks are one of the most misunderstood animals in the ocean with the misperception that they are dangerous, a narrative that has been reinforced by the film industry. With their numbers dwindling due to over-fishing, the team at TNA is seeking to turn fear into fascination and educate visitors around how well these apex predators can adapt to living peacefully. Guests will be able to observe how these beautiful animals interact with other species, including TNA’s team of world-class divers. 

An unmissable highlight will be the feeding demonstrations with both sharks and rays, as well as a one-of-a-kind public “Shark Encounter.” Guests will be able to hand-feed sharks as large as two meters long, which promises to be an unforgettable experience, especially for people who have a fear of sharks.

Paul Hamilton, general manager at TNA, said: “We cannot wait for our opening this year, to reveal our array of animals and animal-related activities. In general, people have a fear of sharks and we want to celebrate these fascinating creatures that are so crucial to the health of our oceans. We are hoping that through personal interaction, the aquarium will help people overcome any fears and perceptions that they might have. Most importantly, we look forward to providing our visitors with an unrivaled and memorable edutainment experience on each and every visit.” 

TNA signed a five-year partnership with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi in July 2020 with the aim to help create rehabilitation schemes to protect and rehabilitate wildlife in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The partnership has resulted in a large number of animals saved until today, including 200 sea turtles being successfully rescued and released.


TAQA completes sale of JESCO stake to ArcelorMittal

TAQA completes sale of JESCO stake to ArcelorMittal
Updated 03 August 2021

TAQA completes sale of JESCO stake to ArcelorMittal

TAQA completes sale of JESCO stake to ArcelorMittal

The Industrialization and Energy Services Company (TAQA) has announced the completion of the sale of its stake in Jubail Energy Services Company (JESCO) to ArcelorMittal Tubular Products Jubail (AMTPJ), which has bought the remaining shares and now owns 100 percent of JESCO.  

TAQA’s chairman of the board, Ahmed Al-Zahrani, said: “The divestiture of JESCO is in line with TAQA’s 2021 strategy to become a major player in Vision 2030 realization by maximizing the value of local investment and creating a more diverse and sustainable economy. The transaction will result in a much stronger industry in the steel sector serving not only the Kingdom but also the rest of the world.” 

Khalid Nouh, TAQA’s chief executive, said: “Expanding our oilfield services and equipment (OFSE) portfolio is at the core of what we want to achieve. The divestiture of non-core businesses such as JESCO allows TAQA to expand its portfolio through acquisitions of additional services and technologies, complementing our current offering, and creating more value to customers and shareholders, as well as offering more job opportunities for the ambitious young generation in Saudi Arabia.” 

TAQA continues to expand its oilfield service offerings to Saudi Aramco and other customers in the MENA region. Starting with the acquisition of Sanjel Energy Services in 2017, followed by Cougar Drilling Solutions in 2019 and AZR Technologies in 2020, TAQA continues to build its capabilities focused on becoming a trusted partner to all oil and gas companies in the MENA region.

Founded in 2003, TAQA seeks to become the region’s own OFSE leader, delivering key well services from drilling through to completion, by increasing capacity, building capabilities and expanding into higher tier services. As a key supporter of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, TAQA is a catalyst for economic growth and diversification, expanding Saudi Arabia’s industrial base and local manufacturing capabilities, creating jobs and facilitating the growth and development of a pool of local talent in the OFSE sector.

Meanwhile, JESCO was established in Saudi Arabia in 2006 as part of the strategic industrialization path set by the Kingdom. The company operates a manufacturing plant in Jubail, which can produce up to 400,000 tons of seamless tubes per year in three main product segments: OCTG, line pipe and structural tubes.


New housing complex in AlUla to support film sector

New housing complex in AlUla to support film sector
Updated 02 August 2021

New housing complex in AlUla to support film sector

New housing complex in AlUla to support film sector

Red Sea International has signed an agreement with the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) to construct a residential and service complex to support the film production sector and specialized technical working teams. The scope of work includes design, prefabrication, supply and installation of 150 high-quality, prefabricated, and fully furnished residential units. 

The move is in line with the goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to meet urgent housing needs and provide innovative solutions in the field of modular buildings and facility management.

The agreement was signed by the company’s CEO Khalid Fagih and RCU CEO Amr Al-Madani at Maraya Hall, in the presence of a number of senior officials. 

During the signing ceremony, Red Sea International Company also announced its plan to establish a branch in AlUla, as part of its aspiration to support key development projects in the governorate and in other regions that satisfy the urgent needs of the tourism and entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia.

Fagih said the model adopted by the Red Sea International Company in constructing residential complexes with high-quality and innovative designs is a significant contribution to improving the quality of life and ensuring that products are specially designed to meet the needs of various sectors and communities throughout the Kingdom. He added that one of the project’s unique features is the use of modular construction solutions that adhere to international building standards, which means that the buildings preserve the environment and are built in a way that is environmentally friendly and able to withstand the harshest climate conditions.

Referring to Red Sea International’s plan to open its branch in AlUla, Fagih described this step as part of the company’s ambition to further enhance its future expansion efforts and bring a cultural shift fitting of the region, which complements the objectives of Vision 2030.

Phillip Jones, chief destination marketing and management officer at the RCU, said the partnership with the Red Sea International Company is an important step toward developing AlUla as a unique international touristic destination by integrating international know-how and local knowledge, which he said will make a qualitative difference in the development of the touristic infrastructure. 

The planned branch of Red Sea International Company in Al-Ula will be able to utilize all available innovative opportunities to successfully develop innovative urban projects in the region and foster tourism renaissance. In this regard, a joint agreement has been reached to establish an “Innovation Lab” to focus on all aspects of developing construction solutions in line with the urban nature of the region in collaboration with the RCU. The “Innovation Lab” is a unit dedicated to measuring and developing innovation and development, presenting knowledge exchanges and scientific research to launch new products and projects that reflect and represent the culture and life of AlUla region and at the same time preserve the traditions and identity of the region.