Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Hundreds of companies consider Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia expansion companies flags Reuters/Nicholas Maeterlinck/Belga Photo
Hundreds of companies from more than 50 countries say they are considering expanding into Saudi Arabia, according to a survey

A survey of 660 companies described as high-growth and from more than 50 countries around the world found more than two thirds were considering expanding into Saudi Arabia.

Of the 450 across 37 sectors looking to move into the kingdom, half of them plan on doing so within the next six months.

Ease of doing business in Saudi Arabia has dramatically improved since 2018, according to the survey, which was conducted by AstroLabs, a company that advises businesses on entering Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“As we stand at the midpoint of Saudi Vision 2030, the kingdom has become a pivotal hub for global and regional companies,” the 2023 Saudi Market Entry Report concluded.

“Amid rapid infrastructural advancements, the demand for cutting-edge technologies is being met by visionary companies entering the market, contributing to the development of Saudi Arabia’s smart cities,” it said. 

Thirty percent of companies who have already expanded into Saudi Arabia are from the United States and Britain, Astrolabs said.   

Astrolabs, which is based in Dubai, added that red tape reduction meant companies can set up within two months, against the eight to 12 months it took in 2018 when Saudi Arabia was first embarking on a massive reform plan to diversify its economy away from oil. 

The Saudi government is trying to drive up annual foreign direct investment to $100 billion, from $33 billion in 2022. 

Regional companies are now required to open Saudi offices for access to any government contracts worth SAR1 million ($270,000) or more. A new commercial code was introduced in December to ease an opaque legal system. 

“Companies looking at Saudi Arabia as their next leg of expansion are motivated by the sheer size of the market, a supportive business environment and economic stability,” the report said. Companies also feel a sense of urgency to seize a piece of the pie. 

Saudi Arabia was described by one real estate consultancy as the world’s biggest ever construction site as the country pushes ahead with mammoth projects such as Neom, Qiddiya, Diriyah, Jeddah Central and Red Sea Global, as well as a series of special economic zones. 

The government wants to make Riyadh a welcoming global capital by 2030, when it is due to host the World Expo

Astrolabs said the technology, construction and consulting sectors were attracting the most interest, and companies were able to find and hire local skilled labour with ease. 

Although Saudi Arabia ranked first in regional venture capital funding, securing a total of $1.4 billion in 2023, the report said there was still room to provide more funding for incoming businesses. There was also a need for more office space, it said.

Latest articles

Alstom's upgraded passenger transit system will help reduce emissions at King Abdulaziz International Airport

Alstom to upgrade driverless transit system at Jeddah airport

French train maker Alstom will upgrade the automated and driverless passenger transit system at King Abdulaziz International Airport, as the Jeddah airport aims to receive 114 million passengers by 2030. As part of the contract, Alstom will design, engineer, supply, integrate, test and commission a complete system upgrade of its Innovia automated people mover (APM) at the airport’s terminal […]

The Al Dhafra solar PV project. Ewec plans to increase Abu Dhabi’s solar production capacity to 7.6 GW by 2030

Abu Dhabi to generate 50% power from green sources by 2030 

Abu Dhabi plans to generate more than half of its electricity from renewable and clean energy by 2030, a senior Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec) official has said. The state-owned entity is increasing the emirate’s solar energy production plan to 7.6 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, the UAE state-run Wam news agency reported, quoting CEO Othman Juma […]

An Acwa Power solar facility in Saudi Arabia. The Bank Of China loan will help finance its solar projects in Uzbekistan

Acwa Power takes China bank loan in first for Saudi Arabia

Saudi energy major Acwa Power has secured an $80 million loan from the Bank of China as the appeal of the Chinese Renminbi as a trade currency gains traction in the GCC. Acwa Power, the world’s largest private water desalination company and a first mover into green hydrogen, has received the equity bridge loan to […]

Solar power panel

Cost of Xlinks Morocco-UK project balloons by a third

The cost of an ambitious project to deliver green energy from the south of Morocco to power homes in the UK has ballooned by more than a third to $30 billion. Xlinks First is behind the Morocco-UK renewables project, which would construct the world’s longest high-voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea power cable between the North […]