Huawei to build largest store outside of China in Saudi Arabia

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Chinese telecoms manufacturer Huawei has partnered with Saudi Arabia-based developer Kaden Investment to set up its largest flagship store outside China in Riyadh.

Huawei’s new store will be located in Riyadh Front, a prominent business and shopping destination in the kingdom.

It will provide an immersive experience which showcases how connectivity will integrate 5G and artificial intelligence into every aspect of daily life, the company said.

The Shenzhen-headquartered firm did not disclose the timeline for the project, nor how much has been invested in it.

“Huawei has played an instrumental role in Saudi Arabia’s development”. Khalid Al-Falih

Huawei is one of the “most valued and long-standing digital partners” and it was ahead of the curve in recognising the investment potential of the kingdom’s telecom sector, Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s minister of investment, said.

“Huawei has played an instrumental role in Saudi Arabia’s development, collaborating with government and private enterprises … it continues to share our commitment to talent development, innovation and ambition … the values which underpin Vision 2030.”

Saudi Arabia is the biggest economy in the Arab world and is undergoing a significant digital transformation. Internet usage in the country is expected to rise to 82.6 per cent of the population in 2022. In 2017 the figure stood at 73.2 per cent.

The Huawei store will allow the telecoms giant direct access to Saudi consumers and provide an “unprecedented immersive full-scenario experience” according to Terry He, chief executive of Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Arabia is an important market for us, and we are dedicated to providing the very best communications technology to the kingdom, as well as to investing in the growth of the local ICT ecosystem,” he said.

As a central driver of Vision 2030 reforms, the kingdom’s telecoms industry is now the fastest growing in the Middle East and North Africa region, and the world’s 13th largest market. It is currently valued at $20 billion and set to reach $35bn by 2030.

Owned by Kaden Investment, which is also the lease co-signee in the Huawei project, Riyadh Front is one of the latest additions to Saudi Arabia’s growing retail and commercial real estate landscapes.

Retail and real estate have been prioritised for development in line with Vision 2030 objectives to stimulate private sector growth.

“This strategic partnership with Huawei is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to attract international partnerships that strengthen our position as a leading investment force in the MENA, a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship, and a digital hub that connects three continents,” Abdullah Bin Amer Al-Sawaha, Saudi’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology said.

Huawei’s revenue rose in the first nine months of last year, despite fighting US trade sanctions and the business disruptions caused by Covid-19.

It posted a 9.9 per cent rise in revenue to $98.57 billion, the company said. Its net profit margin in this period was 8 per cent.

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