Saudi market at the forefront of digital transformation

 Anne-Laure Malauzat, partner at Bain and Company Middle East
Anne-Laure Malauzat, partner at Bain and Company Middle East
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Updated 27 October 2021

Saudi market at the forefront of digital transformation

Saudi market at the forefront of digital transformation
  • Kingdom leading consumer trends in the region, says Bain & Company Middle East partner

The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world to a whole other level of digitalization and the youth are the driving force behind the ongoing digital transformation, said Anne-Laure Malauzat, partner at Bain and Company Middle East.
Talking on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh on Tuesday, she said Saudi Arabia is one of the leading countries in terms of contactless payments and other innovative solutions.
“We’ve seen the Kingdom lead in a number of things, the first one, for example, is everything that has to do with social media penetration. The Kingdom is known to have some of the highest social media utilization in the world,” Malauzat told Arab News.
She said YouTube utilization in Saudi Arabia is also one of the highest in the world. “With over 85 percent of people who have access to YouTube and watch YouTube on a regular basis, which is quite high,” she said.
Malauzat also pointed out that the region is also leading the way in terms of millennial and younger customers that are dictating change in market behavior and consumption pattern. 
She said that people in the Kingdom no longer want to spend time in making payments. “They want seamlessness and convenience and if it’s not convenient they might actually drop the purchase that’s how demanding our consumers are here,” she said.
The entrepreneur said the coronavirus pandemic has changed several things in the world and has forced companies rethink their strategies to deal with the changed environment focussed on digitalization.
“The main question we kept asking ourselves is we’re seeing the world changed especially in the last two years with the COVID-19 pandemic and we were wondering whether the change in the region was going to be different than around the world. What we found is actually there are quite a lot of similarities between the global and regional trends,” she said.
“We thought we were digital before COVID-19 now it’s a whole other level of digitalization,” Malauzat said.
“For example, we’ve seen that in Saudi Arabia, there are over 90 percent of people who said that they started shopping online more frequently following the COVID-19 pandemic and over 50 percent of those people said they would stick to their behaviors even after the pandemic.”
She said what happened was a structural change in how people purchase and shop.
Another example that occurred mainly due to the pandemic, she added, is that more people have started giving preference to their local products. 
“People were traveling less due to the pandemic so they spend more and more money locally and as a result the local offerings have grown; there has been a growth in local brands in different sectors whether it’s food or fashion. We’ve seen a rise of the local supply to meet the growing demand,” she said.


Saudi M3 money supply grows in October: SAMA

Saudi M3 money supply grows in October: SAMA
Updated 8 sec ago

Saudi M3 money supply grows in October: SAMA

Saudi M3 money supply grows in October: SAMA

RIYADH: The M3 monetary aggregate, known as “broad money,” posted an annual growth rate of 7.9 percent in October, having decelerated slightly from the September value of 8.4 percent, according to data published by the Saudi Central Bank.

On a monthly basis, the M3 indicator grew by SR10.6 billion ($2.8 billion) in October, or 0.5 percent from the previous month.

The monthly increase in M3 money supply was driven mainly by the SR15.1 billion increase in time and saving deposits, which grew 3.3 percent month-on-month, the fastest rate of growth since October 2020. Demand deposits fell by SR4.5 billion, or 0.2 percent, to SR1.324 trillion as of Oct. 31. 


Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market
Updated 28 November 2021

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

Sajwani buys 15.6% of DAMAC shares through Dubai Financial Market

RIYADH: Maple Invest, owned by businessman Hussein Sajwani has bought a 15.6 percent stake in Damac Properties through the Dubai Financial Market.

It is part of a plan by which the Emirati businessman aims to acquire up to 100 percent shares of the company he established in 2002 and de-listing it  from the Dubai market, Asharq reported on Sunday.

According to Damac Properties’ disclosure to the Dubai market on Sunday, Maple executed approximately 944 million shares, representing 15.6 percent of the property firm's issued capital, at a price of 1.4 dirhams per share.

Maple made a conditional offer to buy the rest of the shares of the firm — which is not owned by Maple or its subsidiaries — on June 9. The offer included a price of 1.3 dirhams per share. Damac shareholders rejected the offer and called on its board of directors to appoint advisers to assess the fairness of the offer's value.

In late October, Maple announced that it intends to purchase 800 million shares of Damac Properties through the Dubai Financial Market, provided that the purchase process is outside the offer made by Maple to acquire all of Damac’s shares.

The data issued today is the implementation of a quantity higher than the target, bringing Sajwani’s direct and indirect share in the company to approximately 88 percent.


Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap

Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap
Updated 28 November 2021

Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap

Crypto exchange Coinstore enters India despite restrictions on trade: Crypto wrap

RIYADH: Singapore-based virtual currency exchange Coinstore has begun operations in India at a time when the Indian government is preparing legislation to effectively bar most private cryptocurrencies.

Coinstore is the second global exchange to enter India in recent months, following in the footsteps of CrossTower which launched its local unit in September.

Coinstore has launched its web and app platform and plans branches in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai which will act as its base in India for future expansion, its management said.

"With nearly a quarter of our total active users coming from India, it made sense for us to expand into the market," Charles Tan, head of marketing at Coinstore told Reuters.

Asked why Coinstore was launching India despite the pending clampdown on cryptocurrencies, Tan said: "There have been policy flip-flops but we hope things are going to be positive and we are optimistic that the Indian government will come out with a healthy framework for cryptocurrencies."

Tan said Coinstore plans to recruit about 100 employees in India and spend $20 million for marketing, hiring and development of crypto-related products and services for the Indian market.

The price of the world's biggest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has more than doubled since the start of this year, attracting hordes of Indian investors.

Industry estimates suggest there are 15 million to 20 million crypto investors in India, with total crypto holdings of around 400 billion rupees ($5.33 billion).

Coinstore also plans to expand into Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam, according to Tan.

Crypto payments

Newegg, one of the major technology-focused e-commerce platforms, has announced that SHIB is coming soon to its platform.

Newegg currently accepts cryptocurrency via Bitpay and the crypto payment service provider is expected to add shiba inu to its list of supported cryptocurrencies, which includes the rival meme cryptocurrency dogecoin.

Meanwhile, AMC theaters are also preparing to accept SHIB payments in the first quarter of next year, according to the CEO Adam Aron.

Daily trading

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded lower on Sunday, falling by 1.17  percent to $54,322. at 5:46 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $4,077, down by 1.52 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.


Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October

Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October
Updated 29 min 2 sec ago

Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October

Commercial banks’ lending to private sector up $6.42 bn in October

MOSCOW: Commercial banks’ October lending to the private sector grew by SR24.1 billion ($6.42 billion) from a month ago to SR2 trillion, data published by Saudi Arabia’s central bank on Sunday revealed.

This corresponded to a monthly growth rate of 1.2 percent from the previous month’s SR1.99 trillion in September. 

On the other hand, commercial banks’ lending to the government and quasi-government entities sector fell by a monthly SR13.1 billion to reach SR546.9 billion, reflecting a decline rate of 2.3 percent. 

Looking at the banks’ total assets, official data showed that they grew by SR42.1 billion compared to the previous month to hit SR3.19 trillion. The monthly growth rate stood at 1.3 percent.


TASI falls 4.5% to near 5 month-low: Market wrap

TASI falls 4.5% to near 5 month-low: Market wrap
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 28 November 2021

TASI falls 4.5% to near 5 month-low: Market wrap

TASI falls 4.5% to near 5 month-low: Market wrap

RIYADH: The Saudi stock market ended the session on Sunday, down 4.5 percent or 512 points, to close at 10,788 points.

Some 233.1 million shares changed hands in 407,000 deals, with heavy trading in Al Rajhi bank, Alinma Bank, SABIC.

Today’s decline is the largest in percentage terms and points since May 2020, when the market fell by 7.4 percent and 527 points.

On Friday, global markets suffered sharp losses after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant with numerous mutations, is likely to resist the current vaccines.

In addition, Brent crude dropped 11.6 percent to $72.72 a barrel, while WTI sank 13 percent to $ 68.15 a barrel.

The parallel Nomu index was down 790 points, or 3.41 percent, It closed at 22,374.24 points, after 313,000 trades.

Most of the shares declined today, led by Al Rajhi Bank and SABIC closing at SR133.80 ($35.6) down 5 percent and SR112 down 6 percent.

Saudi Aramco finished at SR34.90 down 2 percent amid trading of about seven million shares.

Saudi National Bank, Alinma Bank, Riyad Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Bank Albilad, Sipchem, Maaden, SABB and SABIC Agri-Nutrients declined between 3 and 6 percent.

Petro Rabigh, Saudi Kayan, JAZADCO and Tasnee were among the top decliners.

Meanwhile, Amana Insurance and Saudi Enaya were top gainers, rising to SR37.30 and SR33.35, respectively.