Kuwait plans region’s first city for electric carmakers

Kuwait plans region’s first city for electric carmakers
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has made huge gains after it invested more than $1 billion in electric carmaker Lucid in 2018.
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Updated 01 August 2021

Kuwait plans region’s first city for electric carmakers

Kuwait plans region’s first city for electric carmakers
  • Kuwait Ports Authority noted that electric carmakers do not use local distributors or dealers

DUBAI: Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) has approved a proposal to build the Middle East’s first city to serve electric vehicle manufacturers, the authority said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement does not make clear where the project, called EV City, will be located.

The design and construction tendering process will be during the 2011/22 fiscal year, said KPA General Manager Yousef Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah.

KPA noted that electric carmakers do not use local distributors or dealers and sell their vehicles directly to consumers, adding that it was common for ports to provide certain infrastructure to manufacturers.

“KPA is able to provide all port and logistics services to the biggest global companies manufacturing electric cars,” Sabah said, adding that the project was in line with Kuwait’s Vision 2035 economic diversification plan.

The Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, has made huge gains after it invested more than $1 billion in electric carmaker Lucid in 2018.

Lucid Group listed last month after a merger with a blank check company, Churchill Capital Corp IV, in February in a deal that gave the combined company a pro-forma equity value of $24 billion. PIF owns 62.7 percent
of Lucid.


Saudi Capital Market Authority seeks to double $213bn funds under management

Saudi Capital Market Authority seeks to double $213bn funds under management
Updated 12 sec ago

Saudi Capital Market Authority seeks to double $213bn funds under management

Saudi Capital Market Authority seeks to double $213bn funds under management
RIYADH: The Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) aspires to double the funds invested through managed channels from SR800 billion ($213 billion), SPA reported, citing the CMA’s Assistant Undersecretary for Strategic and International Affairs Ahmed Al-Enezi.

The CMA wants to create more jobs in the financial sector by increasing the assets under management in funds, portfolios or other innovative financial tools, including private equity funds, venture capital, and financial technology, he said.

To that end, Saudi Arabia has invested in infrastructure, including the Saudi Fintech initiative, launched by the Saudi Central Bank in partnership with the CMA in April 2018, as a catalyst for the development of the financial technology sector in the Kingdom, said Al-Enezi.

The Fintech accelerator is helping to build the capabilities and talent required by financial technology companies, and is supporting entrepreneurs at every stage of their development, Al-Enezi said.

Huawei CFO Meng to appear in court, expected to reach agreement with US — source

Huawei CFO Meng to appear in court, expected to reach agreement with US — source
Updated 3 min 17 sec ago

Huawei CFO Meng to appear in court, expected to reach agreement with US — source

Huawei CFO Meng to appear in court, expected to reach agreement with US — source
  • Meng is expected to appear virtually in hearing in Brooklyn federal court
  • The deferred prosecution agreement would remove one of several major disputes between the world's two biggest economies

WASHINGTON: Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou and US prosecutors are expected to appear in court to say they have reached an agreement to resolve charges against her, according to a source familiar with the matter, in a process that should allow her to leave Canada.
Meng is expected to appear virtually in hearing in Brooklyn federal court, according to the source. She was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a US warrant. She had been indicted on bank and wire fraud charges for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.
The deferred prosecution agreement would remove one of several major disputes between the world’s two biggest economies. The agreement could also potentially pave the way for the release of the two Canadians held in China, who were arrested shortly after Meng was taken in custody in 2018.
A spokeswoman for Huawei declined to comment. A spokesman for the US Attorney’s office in Brooklyn declined to comment. An attorney for Meng could not be immediately reached for comment.
Meng has said she is innocent and has been fighting extradition to the United States from Canada. Meng is confined to Vancouver and monitored 24/7 by private security that she pays for as part of her bail agreement. Meng – who also goes by her English names, Cathy and Sabrina – is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.
Judicial hearings in her extradition case in Vancouver wrapped up in August, with the date for a ruling to be set on Oct. 21.


Oil approaches three-year high as China dips into reserves

Oil approaches three-year high as China dips into reserves
Updated 14 min 35 sec ago

Oil approaches three-year high as China dips into reserves

Oil approaches three-year high as China dips into reserves
  • Brent near its highest since October 2018
  • China makes first public sale of state crude

Oil prices rose on Friday, nearing a three-year high, and were headed for a third weekly gain amid continued US supply disruptions.

Brent crude advanced 0.3 percent to $77.45 at 4:38 p.m. Riyadh time, while WTI, the US benchmark, was 0.1 percent higher at $73.35.

This week’s upward momentum was barely interrupted by China’s first public sale of state crude reserves.

Ongoing disruptions in US Gulf Coast production following Hurricane Ida and other storms could last for months and have led to large inventory drawdowns in the US and globally.

US oil refiners looking to replace crude from the Gulf of Mexico have been turning to Iraqi and Canadian oil, while Asian buyers have been pursuing Middle Eastern and Russian grades, analysts and traders told Reuters.

Some OPEC+ members have struggled to raise output because of under-investment or delays to maintenance work during the pandemic.

Brent oil prices could hit $80 a barrel by the end of September, analysts at UBS said in a research note.

Gains were briefly interrupted by China’s first public sale of state oil reserves. State-owned PetroChina and private refiner and chemical producer Hengli Petrochemical bought four cargoes totalling about 4.43 million barrels, sources with direct knowledge of the auction told Reuters.

An energy crunch continued in Europe as some Shell gas stations ran out of fuel in the UK. A shortage of truck drivers forced BP to close some filling stations this week, sparking concern among some consumers that they would be unable to fill up.

Germany’s E.ON will take on customers from a Lower Saxony firm that has decided to quit gas sales as prices have tripled in Europe this year. Surging gas prices have hit consumers worldwide and have squeezed out a number of companies in Britain.


SDAIA aims to put Saudi in global top 10 for data and AI

SDAIA aims to put Saudi in global top 10 for data and AI
Updated 24 September 2021

SDAIA aims to put Saudi in global top 10 for data and AI

SDAIA aims to put Saudi in global top 10 for data and AI
  • Digitization is not a luxury, minister says
  • Kingdom is training 25,000 Saudis youth in digital skills

RIYADH: The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) plans to position Saudi Arabia as one of the top 10 countries in data and AI, and is training 25,000 data and AI specialists, according to Mishari Almishari, the head of the authority’s strategy office.

Speaking at the Saudi Arabia CIO summit held earlier this month in partnership with International Data Corporation (IDC), the aim is to attract SR20 billion ($5.3 billion) of investments into data and artificial intelligence, said Almishari.

“Our role is enabling digitalization. I don’t think it’s a luxury; it’s a key and an answer to many challenges,” he said.

The future will be challenging and “the key element is readiness, readiness and readiness,” he said.

SDAIA contributed to containing the pandemic with the launch of Tawakkalna, a smartphone application that allows the government to trace people infected with COVID-19, Almishari said.

It took only three weeks to develop as the groundwork in digital transformation had already been laid before the pandemic. Today the application has more than 22 million users and more than 75 services, said Almishari.

The CIO summit follows a number of initiatives taken by SDAIA, including the global AI summit held last year and August’s LAUNCH event, where it was agreed with 10 global technology companies to establish academies to train the Saudi youth.

Other speakers at the event included Richard Heitmann, vice president automation at IBM, who said those organizations which started earlier with AI technology did not suffer as much during the pandemic.

Fawaz Al-Harbi, deputy chairman of the Saudi Cloud Computing Association, highlighted the importance of cloud technology in terms of flexibility, innovation support and cost reduction.

“We were able to witness how important the cloud is, as many organizations would have suffered in dealing with the changes brought about by the pandemic” if it were not for the cloud, he said.

Business leaders are making fundamental changes in terms of operations, among these is to connect systems across the complex hybrid cloud environment, IBM’s Heitmann said.

Khasim Anwar, from Samba Financial Group, pointed out that this approach is not always possible in Saudi Arabia. For example, the financial sector is one of many that are not permitted to use hybrid clouds.

SDAIA is hoping to host the second global AI summit before the end of 2021, said SAAIA strategy consultant Areej Alamri. Final arrangements are being made and, unlike last year which was a virtual event, “this year it will be hybrid where some people will attend in person, and others will attend online,” she said.


Saudi Arabia sets brokerage rules for off-plan property sales

Saudi Arabia sets brokerage rules for off-plan property sales
Updated 24 September 2021

Saudi Arabia sets brokerage rules for off-plan property sales

Saudi Arabia sets brokerage rules for off-plan property sales
  • Brokers must have written permission from project owner to market property

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s off-plan sale or rent program, known as Wafi, has announced the rules governing the licenses of real estate brokers marketing small and medium-sized projects as it seeks to increase transparency and reliability in the sector, SPA reported.

Wafi requires that real estate brokers have an electronic deed of ownership of the project to be marketed, said head of Wafi Abdulaziz Al-Muhaimid.

Real estate brokers must also obtain prior written approval of the owner or its beneficiary to market off-plan projects, as well as the statutory licenses, engineering plans and architectural designs approved by the relevant authorities, he said.