Saudi boosts bid to become region’s corporate hub

More than 180 companies granted licenses to operate in the kingdom
Saudi boosts bid to become region’s corporate hub
Saudi encourages multinational firms to set up their regional headquarters in the country

More than 180 companies have received licenses from Saudi Arabia to establish regional headquarters (RHQs) in the country. This is according to statements made by Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih to Bloomberg. 

Al-Falih noted that this number exceeds the original 2023 target of 160 firms. Moreover, he revealed that the approval rate has accelerated to approximately 10 companies per week, with attractive incentives on offer.

While specific company names were not disclosed, the minister mentioned that certain banks have chosen Saudi Arabia as their regional headquarters. Additionally, industrial and professional companies have also relocated their central operations to the largest economy in the Middle East. 

Setting up regional headquarters in Saudi

When businesses set up regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia, they can access a comprehensive range of services. These include relocation support, concierge services, facilitation services and professional assistance. Exclusive discounts on various essentials such as airlines, office space and accommodation are also available.

Saudi’s RHQ program encourages global companies to relocate to the country. This initiative was collaboratively launched by the Ministry of Investment (MISA) and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC).

Read: Saudi non-oil sector records highest employment rate since 2014

EAI Systems CEO Kailas Lovlekar noted that since visiting Saudi as part of an international delegation, he has “witnessed a dazzling transformation in the kingdom under the Vision 2030 roadmap.” This led the UK-based consultancy-led systems integration company to choose Riyadh as their RHQ.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta commented on the ease of doing business in Saudi and shared, “The country is facilitating the simplicity of doing business and that always helps with our investment decisions. Companies like ours like simplicity and the incentives to keep growing and create more jobs.” The food and beverage giant is one of the firms with an RHQ in Saudi.

January deadline pushes through

Earlier in October, Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan confirmed that the government is moving forward with its requirement for multinational groups that seek government contracts in Saudi to establish their regional headquarters in Riyadh by January 2024. Riyadh serves as the political, business and cultural capital of Saudi. It contributes to about 50 percent of the country’s non-oil gross domestic product.

Back in February 2021, Saudi revealed its plans to discontinue contracting with firms that do not have their RHQs within the country by the aforementioned date. For several years, foreign companies have used the neighboring United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a launching point for their regional activities, including those related to Saudi Arabia.

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