Some of the biggest names in the legal sector are finding Saudi a haven for their activities, including Kirkland & Ellis, the world’s largest law firm by revenue, which indicated it was “actively considering” establishing a presence in Riyadh, describing as “an important market for international business and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.”
It would be alone in this endeavor. US firms Latham and Watkins, Greenberg Traurig and Squire Patton Boggs, and UK-based Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith Freehills have already locked Saudi squarely as a major market in their crosshairs.
Saudi has restructured many of its laws to allow foreign companies to establish operations in the country without licensing which requires reliance on partnerships with existing entities in the Kingdom. These regulations aimed at enhancing the kingdom’s competitiveness and attracting wider foreign investments.
Saudi deal-making, headed by Saudi’s $650 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF) has acted as a launch pad for foreign interest.
The PIF is a major backer of Japanese technology group SoftBank’s Vision Fund and has large stakes in electric-car makers, ride-hailing apps, video gaming companies, and cruise line operators.
Boasting an $833 bn GDP, Saudi reached its highest GDP rate in over ten years at 8.7 percent in 2022.
One driver of growth has been foreign direct investment (FDI). In Q3 of 2022, FDI inflows of $1.9bn were reported by the Saudi Investment Ministry, and reflect the attractiveness of Saudi as an investment destination. By 2030, Saudi aims to reach $100bn in annual FDI.
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