Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Saudi Arabia says 180 HQs moved to Riyadh so far

Construction of the Riyadh metro Reuters/Faisal Nasser
The Riyadh metro, due to open next year with 84 stations, is part of a drive to make the capital more attractive to companies as the base for their HQs
  • Firms must move to access contracts
  • Deadline of January 1
  • Drive for HQ openings passes target

Saudi Arabia has issued licences to 180 companies to set up regional headquarters inside the country, as a January deadline approaches for international businesses to move or be cut out of lucrative contracts. 

The kingdom’s investment minister, Khalid al-Falih, gave the figure, which he said exceeds the target of 160, at the Bloomberg New Economic Forum in Singapore. 

In 2021 the ministry set a target of January 1 2024 for companies to move their regional headquarters to Saudi Arabia, the leading Middle East economy and world’s top oil exporter, in order to gain access to government contracts worth SAR1 million ($266,000) or more. 

Around 80 companies had been granted licences by March 2023, with many expected to be based in King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh. 

Many companies have been finding workarounds to boost their presence in the kingdom without sacrificing their ties to the United Arab Emirates, which has built itself up over the past two decades as the region’s main international business centre. 

The Saudi government is offering tax incentives and a simplified regulatory environment to multinationals, especially if they locate inside special economic zones, economic cities and Riyadh’s financial district. 

Earlier this week the government announced that a new Center for Riyadh Special Economic Zones will oversee new special economic zones in the capital, issue licences to investors within the zones and manage services. 

Riyadh is striving to become a global city, although it still lacks a public transport system. The Riyadh metro is expected to open over the next year with 84 stations, according to the Royal Commission for Riyadh City.

Latest articles

Spinneys CEO Sunil Kumar and chairman Ali Al Bwardy. The company operates 75 grocery retail supermarkets in the UAE and Oman

Spinneys to offer 900m shares in Dubai IPO

Supermarket operator Spinneys will sell 25 percent of its business in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), according to an intention to float document released on Tuesday. The company’s offering will be open from April 23 to April 29 for retail investors, while institutional investors can subscribe until April 30, according […]

Airport, Terminal, Aircraft

DXB remains world’s busiest international airport

Dubai International (DXB) has maintained its status as the world’s busiest international airport, beating London and Amsterdam, the Airports Council International (ACI), an association of world airports, said in a new report. DXB has secured the top place for the 10th consecutive year, with the number of international passengers reaching nearly 87 million in 2023, […]

Architecture, Building, Cityscape

World Bank raises UAE’s economic growth outlook

The World Bank has raised its UAE economic growth forecast for 2024 and 2025, citing robust non-oil sector growth and higher oil output. The real GDP growth projection for the Gulf state was revised to 3.9 percent this year, up from its previous forecast of 3.7 percent in January, the World Bank said in its […]

Robots on the production line of an EV factory in Guangzhou, China. Saudi Arabia has yet to open its first EV manufacturing facility

EV imports rise in Saudi Arabia, but only to 779 cars

Saudi imports of electric vehicles rose sharply in 2023 – but to a total of just 779 EVs, despite government hopes that it can become a green economy leader through the manufacture and use of electric cars. The kingdom imported only 210 EVs in 2022, showing the mountain it has to climb to realise ambitions […]