IDC to host CIO Summit in Qatar as digital transformation accelerates ahead of World Cup

General view inside the stadium ahead of the World Cup. (REUTERS)
General view inside the stadium ahead of the World Cup. (REUTERS)
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Updated 25 September 2022

IDC to host CIO Summit in Qatar as digital transformation accelerates ahead of World Cup

General view inside the stadium ahead of the World Cup. (REUTERS)

The significant acceleration of digital agendas over the past two years has resulted in a continuously changing and increasingly digitally driven world. As Qatar prepares to host the FIFA World Cup later this year, unprecedented technological innovations within the country have reached an all-time high. In fact, recent research from International Data Corporation suggests that 57 percent of Qatari organizations have introduced new digital products and services over the last 12-18 months, while 70 percent have increased cost efficiencies through the digitization of operations.
“CIOs in Qatar have rapidly digitized operations and enabled new digital business models and ecosystem partnerships for the FIFA World Cup and beyond,” said Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC’s group vice president and regional managing director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. “They have carried out widespread technology implementations, ranging from enabling cloud operational excellence and developing agile infrastructure to supporting application modernization, process automation, and security. Leveraging the FIFA World Cup as a catalyst to drive its digital economy and expand its ICT ecosystem, Qatar is ideally positioned to attract investments in emerging industries and drive innovation while showcasing itself as a digital-first country.”

HIGHLIGHT

The IDC Qatar CIO Summit will explore the increasing pace of innovation in Qatar and examine the country’s evolving technology landscape.

Against this backdrop, the 2022 edition of the IDC Qatar CIO Summit will explore the increasing pace of innovation in Qatar and examine the country’s evolving technology landscape. Taking place on Sept. 27 at the Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel and Villas, the event will reveal how technological innovation has created a more competitive, diversified, and productive ICT sector that can meet the demands of the country’s rising digital economy.
Ranjit Rajan, IDC’s vice president for research in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, will open the day’s proceedings by presenting the event’s keynote address, “Innovating in a Digital-First World,” in which he will urge organizations to respond to the unprecedented uncertainty of the last few years by embracing a digital-first approach to building resilience into their operations.
“The journey to the future digital enterprise has accelerated, driven by significant investments in new customer experiences, new digital ecosystem business models, digital supply chains, and ‘future of work’ initiatives,” said Rajan. “All of this must be supported by resilient cloud-enabled digital infrastructure and applications, rapid app development, digital platforms, data-driven and AI-enabled intelligence, and security and trust. Strong leadership, an appetite for innovation, and a sound strategy for addressing regulations will all be key to driving the future digital agenda.”

 


With eye on inflation, Panda hosts event for suppliers

With eye on inflation, Panda hosts event for suppliers
Updated 30 January 2023

With eye on inflation, Panda hosts event for suppliers

With eye on inflation, Panda hosts event for suppliers

Panda Retail Company recently held its first annual event for suppliers, which was attended by more than 300 company executives and members of the media.

The Panda Annual Collaborative Event, or PACE, took place at The Venue Jeddah Corniche, and aimed at empowering people to live a better life, spotlighting the local and international impacts of inflation, and finding solutions to ensure consumers are protected from the worst inflationary effects.

CEO of Panda Retail Company Dr. Bander Talaat Hamooh said PACE comes as an extension of the support provided by the Kingdom’s wise leadership to facilitate better customer experience in the retail sector. He highlighted a number of initiatives taken up by the Saudi government to reduce the effects of inflation on consumers in the Kingdom.

Underlining Panda’s role in these initiatives, Hamooh said the company was a key participant in the “Ma Tegla Alik” campaign launched by the Federation of Saudi Chambers in collaboration with the regional commerce chambers to provide basic food commodities at reduced prices, including more than 40 basic items such as chicken, eggs, rice, milk, oil, meat and others.

In addition, Panda launched an innovative campaign, titled “Thabatn’aha,” to reduce the prices of more than 300 commodities in all its branches across the Kingdom, assisting families to cut down on costs and providing solutions that ensure a more efficient shopping experience.

“The company is working with its strategic suppliers for practical solutions to absorb the effects of global inflation on customers so that they do not feel its repercussions, in line with its national duty based on being the leading and most widespread chain of stores in the Kingdom,” Hamooh said.

Food security was among the key discussions that took place at the PACE. The company works closely with its partners and suppliers at both local and international levels, to address the shortage in food supply and provide affordable prices for customers.

Among the other topics discussed at the event was the importance of supporting national industries to strengthen the Saudi economy. Panda has been a keen supporter of the “Made in Saudi Arabia” program launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March 2021. The program aims to stimulate national industries, encourage consumers to buy local commodities and boost the Kingdom’s exports to global markets.

Panda has deployed several strategies to promote local products, which include displaying them prominently in stores, in addition to a number of marketing campaigns. The company also facilitates SMEs to market their products across all its branches.

The event also witnessed an awards ceremony, with Panda honoring a group of suppliers for their contributions to national economic growth.


Majid Al-Futtaim to market Italy’s Poltrona Frau in region

Majid Al-Futtaim to market Italy’s Poltrona Frau in region
Updated 30 January 2023

Majid Al-Futtaim to market Italy’s Poltrona Frau in region

Majid Al-Futtaim to market Italy’s Poltrona Frau in region

Majid Al-Futtaim, a leading retail, shopping mall, communities and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has announced a strategic partnership with Poltrona Frau, the century-old luxury Italian furniture brand.

As part of the agreement, Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle has acquired the rights to Poltrona Frau products in the UAE, marking its first entry into the luxury home category.

Poltrona Frau’s worldwide expansion strategies have seen the brand become an internationally influential benchmark, boasting 15 flagship stores, 165 single-brand stores and around 280 multibrand stores across five continents. Continuing on its success, Poltrona Frau saw a 20 percent growth in revenue in 2022, compared to 2021, due to a strong increase within the brand’s residential unit and a strong recovery of public projects.

Fahed Ghanim, chief executive of Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Poltrona Frau’s Italian masterpieces into Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle’s burgeoning collection of world-class international brands. This partnership supports our geographical and brand expansion strategy at a time of recording year-on-year double digit growth and is designed to accelerate Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle’s journey of transforming the customer experience in the region. At Majid Al-Futtaim, we continuously seek unique diversification opportunities that complement our existing portfolio with brands that require their own distinct strategies.”

As part of Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle’s expansion plans for Poltrona Frau, the company will bring the legacy of Italian excellence to some of the best shopping destinations in the region, including the opening of a Poltrona Frau flagship showroom in Mall of the Emirates later this year. In addition, the brand’s existing Jumeirah store will be expanded and transformed, inspired by the iconic Poltrona Frau Via Manzoni showroom.

Founded in 1912 in Turin, Italy, Poltrona Frau has given more than a century of life and culture to leather, meticulously following an industry-leading 21-step tanning process to create timeless pieces which express universal yet personal elegance and stand out for their savoir-faire. The brand’s leadership in the global leather industry led to the coinage of the term Poltrona Frau Leathership and its exquisite craftsmanship adorns some of the world’s iconic museums, hotels, theaters, embassies, travel lounges, airline interiors as well as the bespoke upholstery of automotive giants such as Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Land Rover, to name just a few.

Nicola Coropulis, chief executive of Poltrona Frau, said: “The partnership with Majid Al-Futtaim is the first step of a journey that aims to cement Poltrona Frau as the ultimate luxury lifestyle brand in the UAE, and the Middle East, and provide the most elite customers with exclusive solutions for their homes, offices and public spaces based on excellent quality and service. We believe Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle’s vast ecosystem and its ability to interpret the true spirit of a brand and, ultimately, their people, will help elevate Poltrona Frau to the next level and accelerate our growth strategy across the region.”

The expansion of Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle compliments the group’s existing portfolio, which includes eight franchise brands, two homegrown brands and more than 70 stores across the GCC spanning fashion, home, multibrand, specialty retail and beauty, as well as 18 online platforms.


Alta Real Estate Development announces new Dubai high-rise

Alta Real Estate Development announces new Dubai high-rise
Updated 28 January 2023

Alta Real Estate Development announces new Dubai high-rise

Alta Real Estate Development announces new Dubai high-rise

Alta Real Estate Development has announced its newest high-rise tower, AIRE Dubai. Located in the heart of downtown, the building is set to become a landmark within the iconic Dubai skyline.

With design by internationally known Miami-based Arquitectonica and interiors by Australian studio McKimm, AIRE Dubai claims wellness is the new luxury. The spaces are designed for people living in them, well-rooted in how we flow and behave as individuals and as a family. 

“These are homes of equilibrium, a sanctuary of calm, high above the energy of one of the world’s most exciting cities,” a statement said.

Extensive amenities also bring wellness to the forefront, starting with a large hotel-style pool, state-of-the art gym, yoga and Pilates rooms, indoor spa, ice bath, saunas and golf simulator. There is even an entire indoor running track with lush green meditation hubs wrapping around the 57th floor.

“We have considered an extensive array of amenities, spacious layouts, generous ceiling heights, and an abundance of light. We want everyone who steps into the building to truly feel the ‘AIRE’ around them,” said Abdulla Al-Tayer, managing director of Alta Real Estate.

AIRE offers a range of two-, three- and four-bedroom single-level residences, duplexes, a triplex and full-floor penthouses. All share a design-forward aesthetic that is minimal, elegant and carefully composed to capture both natural light and sweeping views of the city, sea and Burj Khalifa

As a boutique, family-run developer, Alta is committed to delivering one-of-a-kind projects that are meant to not only add value to the existing real estate market, but also set an entirely new way of living in the city. 

“We focus on one development at a time, which allows for unmatched attention to detail, uncompromised delivery schedule and tight-knit partnerships with international consultants and brands,” the company said.

“We are creating a new community with AIRE. It is extraordinarily global, multicultural, healthy, balanced and creative.”


New SABB service eases transactions to worldwide HSBC accounts

New SABB service eases transactions to worldwide HSBC accounts
Updated 28 January 2023

New SABB service eases transactions to worldwide HSBC accounts

New SABB service eases transactions to worldwide HSBC accounts

SABB has announced the launch of a new international payments service for its customers, a first phase of new services resulting from the memorandum of understanding signed between SABB and HSBC in 2022. The MoU focuses on cooperation and development of new foreign exchange and payment capabilities in Saudi Arabia.

SABB customers can view the balances of their HSBC accounts in 17 countries and transfer funds instantly to their linked accounts, through the SABBNet and SABBMobile e-banking platforms.

“Our customers, both Saudis and expatriates, asked SABB to offer the best foreign exchange and remittance services, and as the Kingdom’s most international bank, we worked closely with HSBC to help customers manage their worldwide finances seamlessly,” said SABB Managing Director and CEO Tony Cripps.

“HSBC and SABB jointly announced in 2022 that we would work together to bring the next generation of payment capabilities to the Kingdom, and today’s launch shows the significant progress we are making for customers,” said HSBC Chief Executive Officer of Wealth and Personal Banking Nuno Matos.

SABB’s Global View and Global Transfer service comes as foreign currency transactions continue to grow in the Kingdom with customers increasingly seeking easier ways to manage their money, whether in Saudi Arabia, or beyond.

“The relationship between SABB and HSBC is important, and our first implementation of the Global View and Global Transfer service is unrivaled in the Kingdom. This helps expand our ability to support customers to manage their international wealth and make money transfers even easier, highlighting our strategy to grow our wealth management services,” said Bandar Al-Ghashyan, SABB’s chief retail banking and wealth management officer.

“This initial launch allows instant movement of money between international linked accounts, and uses innovative technology and payment methods to improve customer experience and reduce the time taken for funds to arrive to a few seconds,” Al-Ghashyan added.

Evolution of digital and wealth capabilities is a focus of SABB’s five-year strategy, and this new service aligns with other activities undertaken by the bank that were recognized by Global Finance, which named SABB the best private bank in Saudi Arabia in 2023, and International Business Magazine, which awarded it the “Best Bank for Wealth Management 2022” award.

HSBC’s origins in Saudi Arabia date back to 1950 and it has been the largest shareholder in SABB since it was formed in 1978, today holding a 31 percent stake. Through this partnership, SABB customers have unique access to HSBC’s international network that covers 64 countries and territories worldwide and around 90 percent of global trade and capital flows.


Mobily renews partnership with 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix

Mobily renews partnership with 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix
Updated 28 January 2023

Mobily renews partnership with 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix

Mobily renews partnership with 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix

Etihad Etisalat, popularly known as Mobily, renewed its partnership to sponsor the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship Season 9 of the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix, which took place on Jan. 27-28. The event was organized by local promoter CBX, Ministry of Sport and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation. The partnership agreement follows the great success of Season 8 of the event, for which Mobily was the local partner.

The agreement was signed by Princess Nouf bint Khalid Al-Saud, director general of marketing at the Ministry of Sports; Nora Al-Shiha, SVP, corporate brand and communications, Mobily; alongside Carlo Boutagy, founder and CEO, CBX, and Formula E’s event director Nacho Calcedo, plus a number of senior representatives of all concerned parties.

“This partnership reflects Mobily’s commitment to supporting sustainability as part of its broader corporate strategy via enhancing sustainability initiatives adopted by the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship,” a statement said.

The sports scene in the Kingdom has seen substantial achievements and milestones, including the hosting of several world-class events, thanks to the unlimited support of its wise leadership.

“We are delighted to welcome Mobily back as a partner for the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix, which represents one of the key international events in Saudi Arabia,” said Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation.

“Mobily is one of the largest technology companies in the Kingdom, and with technology at the heart of Formula E, the ongoing partnership truly brings together two organizations with the same values.”

Mai Al-Helabi, general manager of events at the Ministry of Sports, said: “Having Mobily support the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix is a great addition to the partnership roster for this year’s event that was part of Diriyah Season — a series of events across a variety of sports showcasing what the region has to offer.”

“Mobily seeks to consolidate sustainability across all its business sectors, as well as to empower the community to adopt sustainability standards, and have solid environmental awareness in all aspects of life, which is reflected in the various leading solutions and services Mobily offers to its customers,” said Al-Shiha.

She said that Mobily also inked an agreement with Ericsson to recycle expired and discarded electronic devices in ways that contribute to preserving the environment. It also inaugurated the first renewable energy-powered telecom tower as part of Mobily’s program for renewable and sustainable energy.

Alberto Longo, co-founder and chief championship officer, Formula E, said: “We are excited to welcome Mobily’s return as a local partner for the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix. The race weekend is a highlight of the Formula E calendar and Mobily played a key role in bringing the event to life for the thousands of motorsport fans who were there to witness the Middle East debut of the all-new GEN3 race car.”