LuLu’s 29th hypermarket in Kingdom opens in Jeddah

LuLu’s 29th hypermarket in Kingdom opens in Jeddah
The new store was recently inaugurated by Khalaf bin Houssan Al-Otaibi, vice chairman of the board of Jeddah Chamber. Senior officials were present on the occasion.
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Updated 06 December 2022

LuLu’s 29th hypermarket in Kingdom opens in Jeddah

LuLu’s 29th hypermarket in Kingdom opens in Jeddah

The 29th LuLu Hypermarket in Saudi Arabia was inaugurated by Khalaf bin Houssan Al-Otaibi, vice chairman of the board of Jeddah Chamber. The new store is located on Jeddah’s busy Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Road in Al-Ruwais district.

With Jeddah facing the onslaught of floods last Thursday, LuLu Group immediately cut back on the expenses of the inaugural ceremony and donated the money instead, through Nafa Charity Society, to more than 1,500 needy families who were affected.

“LuLu Group stands by the community and we decided to share the humanitarian responsibility and support the 1,500 needy, flood-affected families,” said Executive Director of LuLu Group Ashraf Ali M.A. who was present on the occasion.

The 90,000-square-foot single-floor store is set in a spacious 190,000-square-foot area and boasts of all facilities for shoppers, including 16 checkout counters and 275 dedicated parking slots.

The latest store will bring to shoppers all the conveniences that the group’s hypermarket chain is known for: an abundant range of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood from around the world, an in-house bakery to serve up freshly baked breads and cakes, as well as shopping options that tap into new award-winning trends. These include a wide selection of plant-based meat substitutes and foods, a special organic and superfoods section, and an extensive “free-from” range.

The store also includes popular LuLu shopping stations such as LuLu Fashion, the electronics section LuLu Connect and the beauty and cosmetics division BLSH.

Ali said that the new store opening comes in line with LuLu Group’s commitment to the new economic energy that has made the Kingdom a vibrant investor destination; it is also a vital link in the group’s expansion. He praised the Saudi leadership’s vision and energy for a bright future. The group is already planning more store openings in the country.

“LuLu Group has aligned its ambitious growth goals with the vision of the energetic and far-sighted leadership of Saudi Arabia and as we near the close of a satisfying 2022, I am very happy to announce that our 2023 blueprint will see major expansion in Saudi Arabia,” said Ali.

“Certainly, LuLu Group is positioning itself as a catalyst of economic growth — we see that the country is preparing for a major business boost and we are keen to be the drivers of economic partnership in Saudi Arabia.”

Also present on the occasion were Shehim Mohamed, director of LuLu Hypermarket Saudi Arabia; Rafeek Mohammed Ali, regional director of LuLu Hypermarket, western province; and other officials.


SAS showcases latest in analytics and AI at LEAP 2023

SAS showcases latest in analytics and AI at LEAP 2023
Updated 08 February 2023

SAS showcases latest in analytics and AI at LEAP 2023

SAS showcases latest in analytics and AI at LEAP 2023

SAS, a leader in analytics, is participating in LEAP 2023, a global technology event, being held in Riyadh, from Feb. 6-9. In this four-day event, SAS is present at the Basserah booth, showcasing their comprehensive portfolio of artificial intelligence and data analytics-driven cutting-edge solutions designed to enable organizations in Saudi Arabia to harness their potential and leverage the capabilities for the betterment of the economy, environment and society.

Focusing on collaborations in Saudi Arabia, SAS had recently announced its partnership with Basserah, a Saudi company established by NOMD Holding. This strategic partnership will drive a new era of advanced analytics and AI in Saudi Arabia with a focus on data and robotics process automation. This initiative aims to help organizations in the Kingdom capitalize on business and customer intelligence and automate repetitive business and operational processes through its products and services in order to maximize return on investment, and meet commercial and strategic objectives.

With SAS industry-leading solutions a part of Basserah’s product portfolio, customers can experience the potential of analytics first-hand and its capabilities to solve problems, improve productivity, streamline operations, and support sustainable innovation faster for businesses of all sizes. These offerings range from scalable, cloud-native SAS Viya and advanced fraud detection solutions to AI, composite AI, and AI-driven decision-making with real-time analytics. Since Saudi Arabia has set specific goals to transform into a digital society and economy by leveraging data as a national asset, Basserah’s collaboration with SAS opened up an entirely new world of possibilities for Saudi organizations. Baseerah and SAS’ focus for LEAP this year is on the public sector, telecommunications and manufacturing.

“SAS’ advanced analytics, cloud-native and advanced fraud detection solutions backed by AI will support organizations in Saudi Arabia to advance on their roadmap to achieve business sustainability in line with the goals of Vision 2030. We are excited to be part of LEAP this year, where we are addressing the most pressing challenges to improve decision-making, accelerate digital transformation across all industries, and open new doors for future customers and partnerships. Using SAS analytics and AI solutions, we at SAS aim to provide organizations with the capabilities to transform data into intelligence that propels the business forward,” said Bader Bahaian, country manager, Saudi Arabia at SAS.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see public sector use cases, such as smart city demos on air quality forecasting, traffic light monitoring and flood protection.

In addition, SAS is showcasing a use case on intelligent network operations in the telco industry and demonstrating how analytics can help prevent industrial accidents and ensure consistent product quality within the manufacturing industry.


Cigna Worldwide Insurance Company receives Saudi branch License

Jason Sadler, President of Cigna International Health
Jason Sadler, President of Cigna International Health
Updated 08 February 2023

Cigna Worldwide Insurance Company receives Saudi branch License

Jason Sadler, President of Cigna International Health

Cigna Worldwide Insurance Company announced that it has received an official branch license from the Saudi Central Bank to operate as a health insurer in the Kingdom.

The announcement makes Cigna Worldwide Insurance Company the first international insurance provider to receive a branch license to operate in Saudi Arabia. Cigna Worldwide Insurance Company is part of the global Cigna group of health services companies serving more than 180 million customers and patients in over 30 countries around the world.

This license will enable Cigna to offer its best-in-class high-quality, affordable, and localized health insurance solutions, backed by its global capabilities, to individuals, companies and government entities in the country.

Cigna is committed to the growth of the health insurance sector in the Kingdom, in line with Vision 2030. 

“This marks a significant milestone for Cigna in the Kingdom and across the Middle East and Africa region,” said Jason Sadler, president, Cigna International Health. “The license enables us to deliver a stronger value proposition, access, and service to our clients through a host of proprietary health and well-being products and services. Cigna has been in the region for nearly two decades, initially through local partners and then independently. We have a deep-rooted knowledge of the Middle East health insurance market, which helps us in offering a health insurance proposition ideal for clients in the Kingdom. This momentous occasion represents an exciting step along our growth journey in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region.”

“We are excited by the growth prospects of the health insurance sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, outlined in Vision 2030,” said Jerome Droesch, CEO of domestic health and health services at Cigna International Health. “We are also thankful to SAMA for their support in our mission to be able to offer high-quality, affordable health insurance solutions, focused on delivering excellent customer, client, and broker services to the citizens and residents of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” 

As champions of affordable, predictable, and simple health insurance solutions, Cigna is constantly exploring opportunities in markets with growth potential to enable it to deliver market-leading health and well-being services. “We are developing our proposition in the Kingdom to ensure we are able to improve the health, well-being, and peace of mind of people across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Details of our expected launch will be shared soon,” said Droesch.

Cigna is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being, and peace of mind. With a legacy of over 200 years, Cigna is committed to its promise of being together all the way in providing healthcare, clinical management, and wellness programs to employers, individuals and governments around the world. 


flynas launches program to inspire content creators

flynas launches program to inspire content creators
Updated 07 February 2023

flynas launches program to inspire content creators

flynas launches program to inspire content creators

Saudi air carrier flynas, the leading low-cost airline in the Middle East, announced the launch of the People’s Lens Program to inspire content creators interested in travel to go through unique experiences and share their works. The program aims to motivate innovative creators in photography, supporting talents and enriching media content, in addition to promoting the most prominent Saudi and foreign tourist and historical attractions in flynas routes.

People’s Lens Program will provide benefits, including tickets and accommodation for content creators who are active on social media to explore internal and international destinations throughout the year. flynas will publish the content like texts, photos and videos, on the company’s social media platforms and websites.

flynas connects more than 70 domestic and international destinations and has transported more than 60 million passengers since its inception in 2007. It targets reaching 165 direct destinations by 2030 within its expansion strategy launched last year under the slogan “We Connect the World to the Kingdom.” flynas has achieved record operational growth in 2022 compared to 2021.

Content creators who are interested in the program can apply via peopleslens.com, two weeks ahead of the flight date. All applications will go through an evaluation process for acceptance. The eligible applicants will include filmmakers, photographers and travel content creators. They need to provide an online portfolio to prove their specialty. 

Once the application is accepted, the duration of travel, accommodation and trip vouchers are determined by agreement between the two parties. Destinations are changeable.

flynas has been recognized by many international awards, including Skytrax International Award as the “best low-cost airline in the Middle East” in 2022 for the fifth year in a row. It is the highest award given in the aviation sector worldwide since its launch in 1999. flynas was also ranked among Skytrax’s top 10 low-cost airlines in the world.

Meanwhile, flynas won the “Best Low-cost Airline Award in the Middle East” from the World Travel Awards in 2022 for the eighth year in a row.

The airline came in the four-star category, which is the highest category for low-cost airlines in the world, according to an assessment by the nonprofit organization APEX, one of the most significant international airline associations, which included 600 airlines of various categories around the world.


Bupa Arabia marks 25 years of health insurance leadership

Bupa Arabia marks 25 years of health insurance leadership
Updated 07 February 2023

Bupa Arabia marks 25 years of health insurance leadership

Bupa Arabia marks 25 years of health insurance leadership

For 25 years, Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance has been at the forefront of the Kingdom’s health insurance sector, contributing to the development of the sector at all levels through the provision of distinguished healthcare services for millions of its customers.

Bupa Arabia offers a customer-centric experience that is fully tailored to each individual customer’s needs, using the most sophisticated technological tools. The company’s efforts are in line with its strategic vision as well as Vision 2030’s goals of improving the quality and efficiency of health services in the Kingdom.

Tal Nazer, CEO of Bupa Arabia, said: “The company has completed a quarter of a century with remarkable achievements, earning huge experience by serving the community. Bupa Arabia is today one of the most prominent, popular and innovative companies in the Kingdom. It plays a leadership role in the insurance market by focusing on customers’ needs.”

He added: “The company, in the beginning, faced certain challenges in a market driven by high costs, but we navigated through them successfully to become a leader in the health insurance sector in Saudi Arabia and the region.” 

Since its inception in 1997, Bupa Arabia has played a major role in the development of the insurance sector by providing the highest levels of innovation in its products and services, organizing campaigns and awareness events, as well as focusing on digital transformation. 

Bupa Arabia invested substantially in technology, where it established a department dedicated to digitization in 2018, incorporating a range of new capabilities and in turn, contributing to a significant increase in productivity.

The company constantly innovates its products and services taking into account the latest technologies to offer a seamless, digitally satisfying customer experience. For instance, the “Bupa Click” program offers a range of services through a single touch of the button while the Bupa Tebtom program provides services such as home vaccination, telemedicine, consultation, etc. 

The Rahatkom program provides an integrated end-to-end hospital experience for its members, in addition to a virtual telemedicine platform and exclusive services to facilitate the healthcare journey of its customers.

Bupa Arabia was the first company in Saudi Arabia to launch its services through an app. The “Bupa Arabia” app made it easier for customers to book hospital appointments, select clinics and pharmacies, receive approvals and book visual appointments with specialist doctors — all with the tap of a finger. It was also one of the first companies in the sector to send SMSes to the customer’s phone, updating them on the status of their requests.

Bupa Arabia increased its capital from SR1.2 billion ($320 million) to SR1.5 billion in December 2022, while the company’s issued shares increased from 120 million to 150 million.

It is worth noting that the health insurance sector has made good progress in terms of its contribution to the Saudi economy. Private health insurance is now alone expected to contribute more than SR60 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP by 2030, with the number of beneficiaries reaching 21.7 million.

“Bupa Arabia’s strategies have changed the face of the insurance industry in the Kingdom,” the CEO said, highlighting the insurer’s 3-billion-strong customer base, and its acquisition of more than 45 percent of the health insurance market.

Bupa Arabia received several accolades for its notable achievements in 2022 from both national and regional organizations, the latest of which are the Council of Health Insurance’s Excellence Awards in three categories, including the “C-Suite of the Year” award, which was presented to CEO Nazer. In addition, it also won the “Best Customer Service” and “NPHIES Health Insurance Services” awards. Overall, Bupa Arabia won 23 awards from 12 regional and local organizations in a variety of categories in 2022.


Sony announces new headphones for athletes

Sony announces new headphones for athletes
Updated 07 February 2023

Sony announces new headphones for athletes

Sony announces new headphones for athletes

Sony announced a new model of headphones designed with runners in mind. The new off-ear headphones Float Run offer a novel headphone style that positions the speaker near, but without touching the ear canal, leaving the ear safely uncovered while still delivering a rich sound experience. 

The Float Run headphones focus on the runner’s form, for a comfortable and stable experience without having to compromise sound quality. Float Run offers important features to runners or athletes, including a lightweight design with a flexible neckband that does not slip when in motion, and a pressure-free design that sits off of the ears, so runners no longer need to worry about sweat or chafing getting in the way of their workout. This product was well received by crowdfunding, which led to its official launch.

With a special off-ear design, runners would not have to worry about pressure or stuffiness on their ears. For extended comfort, the Float Run headphones sit on the ears of the wearer, so they can enjoy comfort for longer without disruption. Additionally, Float Run headphones only weigh approximately 33 grams, so runners can focus on their surroundings.