PUBG Mobile partners with VOV Gaming, Endless Studios to launch KSA contest

PUBG Mobile partners with VOV Gaming, Endless Studios to launch KSA contest
Jerry Gamez, CEO of VOV Gaming
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Updated 26 February 2023

PUBG Mobile partners with VOV Gaming, Endless Studios to launch KSA contest

PUBG Mobile partners with VOV Gaming, Endless Studios to launch KSA contest

PUBG Mobile game has launched a contest in Riyadh in partnership with VOV Gaming, the experiential gaming company, and Endless Studios, a youth-centered game making studio.

The KSA PUBG Mobile Campus Design Contest is open to university and high school students across the Kingdom. Students are invited to create their own fan art and design concepts for game skins or a selection of in-game items and submit their artwork by April 12 online.

Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges to go through to a final stage of in-game voting, with PUBG Mobile players across Saudi Arabia voting for their favorite work. The winner will be announced in May.

The Saudi launch took place at VOV’s The Zone  gaming venue in Riyadh with students and game industry professionals gathering to hear about the contest.

The event combined the global phenomenon of PUBG Mobile, with VOV Gaming’s passion for creating communities in games, and was supported by Endless Studios’ dedication to gaming education for youth.

Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al-Saud, vice chairman of Savvy Games Group and chairman of Saudi Esports Federation, said on the occasion: “We seek to provide opportunities and participate in establishing partnerships in the gaming sector to empower talents and unlock the exceptional potential of Saudi Arabia.

“Attracting international companies to the Kingdom through investments and partnerships contributes to providing skills, knowledge transfer and capacity building in the gaming and esports ecosystem.

“This partnership will enable the company to bring together Saudi university and high school students, and video game experts, establish a platform to showcase the talents of students in designing video games, and provide video game developers with a unique opportunity to improve their knowledge and hone their skills.”

Jerry Gamez, CEO, VOV Gaming, said: “The gaming industry is growing rapidly in Saudi Arabia with a strong drive locally to develop homegrown talent. Part of our mission at VOV is to enable gamers of all genders, disciplines and abilities to fulfill their potential.”

Matt Dalio, founder, Endless Studios, said: “We are delighted to partner with PUBG Mobile and VOV Gaming at this event to reach out to students and invite them to join our growing community of young creators, designers, engineers, and artists.”

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, King Charles III open COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, King Charles III open COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum
Updated 01 December 2023

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, King Charles III open COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, King Charles III open COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum

For the first time at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of the Parties (COP), the COP28 Presidency of the UAE has launched the inaugural COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum, convening more than 1,000 CEOs and philanthropists from over 80 countries. The forum is being held alongside the World Climate Action Summit. 

Hosted by the COP28 Presidency and the Sustainable Markets Initiative, the forum launched today with a high-level reception in the presence of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, and King Charles III. 

The forum represents a paradigm shift in the COP process. With its strengths in low-carbon solutions and innovation, delivery and global networks, the private sector has — and continues — to invest trillions of dollars into the transition. With the objective of moving beyond commitments, the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum will showcase global industry-by-industry delivery together with opportunities to accelerate, replicate, and scale, particularly in the Global South.

Private sector actors will join heads of state and government to focus on showcasing private sector progress and joint delivery. 

Dr. Sultan Al-Jabar, COP28 president, said: “For the first time at a UNFCCC COP, and in line with the vision of the UAE, the global private sector has a seat at the table on the first day of COP28. No single party has all the solutions, and COP28 must bridge the trust gap between North and South, East, and West, and build a platform for action through partnership. This is what the Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum represents.”

Badr Jafar, chair of the forum and COP28 special representative for business and philanthropy, said: “There is no time to waste, and no need to wait. The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum showcases over 20 major actions that CEOs and philanthropists can take now demonstrating accessible ways for private sector leaders to move beyond pledges and declarations and into action and implementation in ways that are suited to their capabilities and competencies.”

Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, CEO of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, said: “Building on the vision of our founder, King Charles III, and the momentum of the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s CEO summits at COP26 and COP27, the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum’s purpose statement amplifies calls from the private sector to be at the table for all future UNFCCC COPs. It is time for a whole new model — one focused on real-world delivery and accelerated results.”

The Sustainable Markets Initiative is the strategic partner for the inaugural forum. Other forum delivery partners include the International Finance Corporation, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Economic Forum, Asian Development Bank, Africa Finance Corporation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank Group, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and XPRIZE.

Other organizations participating in the Nov. 30 reception and also at the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum include: UNFCCC, Food and Agriculture Organization, International Telecommunication Union, World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, UN Office of Outer Space Affairs, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Caribbean Development Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization.

The UN Council for Trade and Development estimated that $4 trillion is required annually to meet climate and biodiversity targets. To deliver, the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum commits to:

  • Supporting an annual Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum alongside the world leaders’ summit at every UNFCCC COP until at least 2030. This forum will serve as the foundation for the private sector to: enhance alignment of industry, finance and country roadmaps; conduct an annual industry-by-industry assessment on progress; and, raise the bar on ambitions, including alignment with science-based targets.
  • Engaging in private sector diplomacy and the creation of innovative private sector mechanisms to support cross-border transition efforts, including blended finance and trade instruments.
  • Demonstrating the moral courage required as decision-makers to boldly lead the transition to a sustainable, just, and prosperous future.
  • Adopting an authentic sustainable orientation, embedding sustainability in business models, decisions, and actions.
  • Investing in sustainability-aligned research, development, commercialization, technology, and innovation alongside youth and supporting the green, sustainably focused jobs of the future.
  • Aligning country, industry, and financial roadmaps. Moving together, create efficiencies and economies of scale that will enable collective progress and accelerate sustainable transitions.
  • Showcasing game-changing entrepreneurs, technologies and solutions that are emerging around the world. At the same time, remove barriers that are impeding progress in deployment and scale-up of these technologies.
  • Bringing sustainable markets from niche to norm by reimagining mandates, project pipelines, financial structuring, and models of return. In this way entirely new sustainable industries, products, services, and supply chains can be created, while in parallel helping to transition and transform existing systems to a more sustainable trajectory.
  • Building conservation and nature-based solutions into the asset base, supply chains, and disclosures.
  • Addressing market challenges and helping reorient economic subsidies, financial incentives, and regulations in support of global climate, biodiversity, and UN SDG targets across all industries.
  • Adopting common standards, metrics, working definitions and traceability within, and wherever possible, across industries.


Misk Schools students enjoy ‘BTEC in Esports’ lesson

Misk Schools students enjoy ‘BTEC in Esports’ lesson
Updated 29 November 2023

Misk Schools students enjoy ‘BTEC in Esports’ lesson

Misk Schools students enjoy ‘BTEC in Esports’ lesson

The Misk Global Forum in Riyadh, held from Nov. 15-17, showcased the talents and ideas of young leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs from around the world, but one of the most exciting highlights was the inaugural “BTEC in Esports” lesson, delivered to students from Riyadh’s prestigious Misk Schools.

Esports influencer Brandon Smith flew into Riyadh especially to deliver the lesson on behalf of the region’s leaders in educational esports, EStars. Accredited in the MENA region by Pearson Education, one of the world’s top education providers, the BTEC in Esports program is designed to provide students with the expertise they need to access opportunities in the fast-growing esports sector. The esports industry saw revenues of almost $2 billion in 2022 and has been growing at more than 20 percent per year.

Fittingly, the lesson was delivered in the Riyadh Schools’ Classroom of the Future, which has been designed and built in partnership with EStars. The concept provides a template for reinventing education using the best emerging technologies and teaching practices, to empower students growing up in a very different world.

Misk Schools is the first school in the Kingdom to adopt esports as part of its curriculum, which aims to produce future leaders, ready to embrace the knowledge economy embodied in Vision 2030.

Dr. Steffen Sommer, director general of Misk Schools, said: “Esports encourages young people to work together and play together, which is culturally quite new here. In addition to educating students about a rapidly expanding global industry, the BTEC also hones strategic thinking, teamwork and entrepreneurial skills — essential capabilities for emerging leaders navigating the world.”

The inaugural BTEC in Esports lesson and the Riyadh Schools’ Classroom of the Future were the subject of huge interest at the Misk Global Forum, visited by a number of Saudi dignitaries, ministry officials and VIPs, plus stars such as two-time world champion boxer Amir Khan, professional racing driver Reema Juffali and Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni.

EStars CEO Mags Byrne said: “We are proud to be delivering the BTEC in Esports to students at Misk Schools. EStars aims to provide a pathway to careers of the future for the students of today. Collaborating with such a pioneering partner as Misk Schools has given us a chance to showcase how the BTEC in Esports upskills students to forge careers in the growing esports sector.”

Founded in 2017 in the UK by CEO Byrne, EStars is the global leader in educational esports, providing students with the skills they need to succeed in one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. It has offices in Abu Dhabi from which it covers the Middle East and Africa region.

LuLu celebrates 14 years in Saudi Arabia with gifts, deals

LuLu celebrates 14 years in Saudi Arabia with gifts, deals
Updated 29 November 2023

LuLu celebrates 14 years in Saudi Arabia with gifts, deals

LuLu celebrates 14 years in Saudi Arabia with gifts, deals

The number 14 will be celebrated by LuLu Hypermarket across Saudi Arabia for 36 days as the retail giant welcomes shoppers for its 14th anniversary. The official announcement of the big celebration was made at a press conference at Riyadh Boulevard and flashed on giant video screens at the venue. 

To mark the occasion, one of Saudi Arabia’s favorite shopping destinations, LuLu Hypermarket has announced a bonanza of 1,400 valuable gifts worth SR2 million ($533,300) for its customers.

The gifts include VVIP tickets to much-anticipated football matches, Apple phones and tablets, TV sets, AirPods, Sony PS5, laptops, and other electronic goods like refrigerators, microwave ovens and washing machines, in addition to grocery hampers.

LuLu will select surprise winners across its hypermarkets in the Kingdom from Nov. 26 to Dec. 31.

As a mark of respect to all the staff of LuLu Saudi Arabia, the oldest Saudi national employed by the group for 17 years, Basher Al-Bish, and his son Yusuff, named after LuLu Group Chairman Yusuffali M.A., were invited to cut the 14th anniversary cake during the press conference. Al-Bish spoke emotionally about how he has been a LuLu employee since the start and even before the first LuLu Hypermarket opened doors in Saudi Arabia.

“I am proud to be the first employee of LuLu KSA — LuLu is a great place to work in and the group is so invested in Saudi Arabia’s progress that it inspires us all,” Al-Bish said. “Moreover, I am an admirer of our Chairman Yusuffali M.A., and I have even named my son Yusuff after him.”

The anniversary promotion comes packed with super deals — 14 promotions from 14 “Big Brands,” super-value deals on essentials such as rice, oil and sugar, in-store promotions, live demonstration, hourly offers and deals on “Products of the Day.” Shoppers can update their electronic devices with affordable prices on branded laptops, tablets, smart watches, mobile phones, high-end audio devices, printing consumables and accessories. 

LuLu Group currently employs 4,500 Saudi nationals in its retail network of 33 stores across the Kingdom.

“The success of LuLu Hypermarket is our bond with our Saudi Arabian customer base — their trust and their recognition of our quality promise has enabled our amazing 14-year growth,” said Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia. 

“We have always put customers first and this anniversary celebration combines our promise of customer care, quality and affordability and is our way of saying thank you to all our customers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Huawei summit builds bridge for business growth in Middle East and Africa for global partners

Huawei summit builds bridge for business growth in Middle East and Africa for global partners
Updated 29 November 2023

Huawei summit builds bridge for business growth in Middle East and Africa for global partners

Huawei summit builds bridge for business growth in Middle East and Africa for global partners

The HDC·Together Huawei MEA Ecosystem Summit, held in Dubai, showcased a seamless fusion of collaboration and innovation. The first day of the exclusive event was on Nov. 27 at the illustrious Dubai Opera. It brought together Huawei Ecosystem partners from China and across the Middle East and Africa.

Building bridges for future growth

Organized in partnership with Dubai Economy and Tourism and Saudi Tourism Authority, the summit combined the strengths and initiatives of both entities, fostering innovation, economic growth, and developments in technology and tourism.

In the convergence of technology and opportunity, HDC.Together becomes the bridge connecting the MEA region and China, fostering innovation, partnerships, and business exchange across markets, paving the way for growth and a better future.

Throughout the summit, speakers emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts within Huawei’s Ecosystem for advancing technology and innovation. Maryam Al-Balooshi, vice chair and UAE representative of the Committee of Aviation Environment Protection — ICAO, said: “In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, Huawei’s ecosystem stands as a testament to transformative collaboration, enriching experiences by building bridges into a better future.”

Ali Khalifa bin Thalith, secretary-general of HIPA, said: “Through the lens of innovation, Huawei Themes has not just adorned our digital spaces but has become a platform to globalize the beauty of art and photography, making creativity universally accessible to users with an impressive download of over 1,000,000 on the official Huawei Themes store.”

Acclaimed Emirati artist Mahmood Al-Abadi shared the story of his successful journey with calligraphy and arts as well as his collaboration with Huawei Themes, and how it elevated his digital experience to new heights. He expressed excitement over the vast array of customizable themes and the seamless integration with Huawei smartphones, foldable phones, tablets and smartwatches.

Strategizing for the year ahead

The event outlined a comprehensive 2024 action plan with HMS’ strategic partners, formalizing commitments to innovation and growth with 24 partners from across the region like Emirates, Arabian Oud, Jahez and Viu, who expressed their dedication to these shared goals.

The summit featured dynamic discussion panels and round tables, engaging industry experts in profound conversations. They explored the collaborative potential of Huawei AppGallery and Petal Ads, uncovering shared capabilities.

Unveiling prospects with AppGallery

With a focus on fostering new growth opportunities in gaming, Huawei AppGallery is strategically leveraging the rapid expansion across the MEA region and China. The summit served as a dynamic platform for facilitating partnerships and collaboration between local and global players, fostering an environment of innovation and mutual growth. Participants were treated to crafty presentations sharing insights, case studies and success stories from top regional and global gaming partners, offering a comprehensive overview of the latest trends in the market. The discussions were enriched by the participation of esteemed guests in the MEA Game Business Trends panel, talking about esports, government support, payment landscape and importance of localization. Together, they set the stage for AppGallery to further elevate its role as a driving force in the gaming industry, uniting key players for a future of unprecedented success and collaboration.

Global perspective

Emirates provided an insightful account of its journey with Huawei Ecosystem, highlighting the successful collaboration and providing valuable benchmarks for the broader travel industry, emphasizing the power of strategic partnerships within evolving technological landscapes. This year, Emirates App successfully released a version for Huawei’s smartwatches that allows users to use QR codes as boarding passes.

Petal Ads and regional insights

Additionally, Middle East Communications Network provided a comprehensive analysis of global and regional advertising trends tailored for regional advertisers. This included an in-depth exploration of the current global advertising landscape, emerging trends, consumer behavior patterns, and effective strategies. These testaments highlighted Petal Ads’ advanced capabilities for offering enriched user experiences, setting the stage for a new era in this sphere.

HMS introduced new solutions and innovations, underscoring a commitment to connecting with customers, enabling brand growth, and embracing future challenges. The HDC·Together Huawei MEA Ecosystem Summit stands as a testament to Huawei’s unwavering dedication to fostering collaboration, innovation, and a connected future. Ultimately, the summit served as an annual showcase for knowledge-sharing and cutting-edge solutions within Huawei’s thriving ecosystem, uniting partners from China and the MEA.

Dar Al-Arkan launches Elie Saab’s first branded villas in Riyadh

Dar Al-Arkan launches Elie Saab’s first branded villas in Riyadh
Updated 28 November 2023

Dar Al-Arkan launches Elie Saab’s first branded villas in Riyadh

Dar Al-Arkan launches Elie Saab’s first branded villas in Riyadh

Dar Al-Arkan, a real estate company in Saudi Arabia, has announced the launch of “Etoile by Elie Saab,” paving the way for the renowned designer’s first branded residence in the Kingdom.

For the first time in Saudi Arabia, the iconic flair and elegance of Elie Saab can be found in Etoile at SEDRA, the first integrated community of its kind in Riyadh.

“A sanctuary of opulence and tranquillity, Etoile by Elie Saab features homes that emanate luxury, while engraved in tradition,” a statement said. “It entails an assortment of three- and four-bedroom villas with the very unique Wadi Villas offering uninterrupted views of the immersive wadis.”

The grandeur of Etoile by Elie Saab is further exemplified by its architecture. The monolithic structures with their window boxes done up in ancestral textures and hues, straddle a cosmopolitan lifestyle amidst a serene community. It is signature couture living at its best with warm wood finishes, cool flawless marble and a luxe cream palette offering an atmosphere of pure splendor. From bedrooms boasting spacious walk-in closets and en-suite bathrooms providing the perfect setting to unwind, rejuvenate, and reconnect with the beauty of nature, the design elements of the development seamlessly marry practicality with regal aesthetics. 

Yousef Al-Shelash, chairman, Dar Al-Arkan, said: “Luxurious living in the heart of Riyadh will elevate the Kingdom’s appeal for discerning residents and global investors keen on setting up base here. We are more than proud to join forces with Elie Saab, a long-standing partner to bring their first branded residence to the Kingdom. Etoile by Elie Saab offers a truly luxurious experience for those seeking peace and sanctuary in the midst of a bustling environment. With this project, we hope to bring a unique mix of traditional architecture with haute couture finish that is synonymous with the signature style of Elie Saab, while setting a new benchmark within the real estate sector in the country.”

Elie Saab Jr, CEO of Elie Saab Group, said: “We are excited to start a new journey in Saudi Arabia with Dar Al-Arkan. Luxury, elegance, and craftsmanship are key to our brand’s timeless appeal, and we are delighted to bring these to Etoile by Elie Saab at SEDRA. Designing bespoke living that reflects the heritage and culture of the Kingdom while providing aesthetically pleasing modern amenities is a challenge that we were more than happy to take on. Etoile reflects all that Elie Saab as a brand stands for today — it is elegant, classic yet sleek and modern and is designed to elevate one’s living experience.”

Housing Etoile by Elie Saab, SEDRA by Roshn combines modern and aspirational living with the unique heritage and history of Saudi Arabia with Salmani architecture at its heart. Located north of Riyadh, the world-class community is strategically situated close to the city’s prominent destinations with easy access to the main roads. Vast green spaces, parks, sports facilities, community centers, state-of-the-art education and medical centers ensure the self-contained community offers a holistic lifestyle to all residents.

With an enviable portfolio of elegantly designed residences, Dar Al-Arkan has cemented its standing as a much sought-after real estate solution provider in the country. The launch of this project further reinforces the commitment of the company to crafting experiences that resonate with the lifestyle and aspirations of the citizens of Saudi Arabia.