A total of 44 multinational companies (MNCs) have received licenses to move their regional headquarters to Riyadh.
Among the companies are multinationals in diverse sectors including technology, F&B, consulting and construction. An initial batch of companies signed MoUs at the last edition of FII in January, with more companies signing up in the following months. The names of the companies, however, were not disclosed.
The licenses were issued at the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), attended by world leaders in business and government.
Through the regional headquarters attraction programme of multinational companies, these companies now have direct access to the local economy, gaining financial and geographic opportunities. The programme also provides direct and indirect benefits for Saudi nationals, residents, and businesses, offering local talent employment opportunities. Every job attracted through the programme is estimated to create 2.5 jobs indirectly in the base economy.
The kingdom announced in February that starting January 1, 2024, the local government and state-backed institutions would stop signing contracts with foreign companies that base their Middle East headquarters in any other country in the region.
Read: Saudi to only award government contracts to firms that have an HQ in the kingdom
Since the launch earlier this year, regional headquarters have been legally defined as a unit of a multinational group duly established under the laws of Saudi Arabia for the purpose of supporting, managing, and providing strategic direction to its branches, subsidiaries and affiliates operating in the MENA region.
Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Investment, said: “I am delighted by the number of multinational companies that have chosen to relocate to Riyadh, demonstrating that our national capital is becoming an increasingly attractive place to do business and developing into an investment destination of choice. This comes two weeks after the launch of Saudi Arabia’s National Investment Strategy that will further unleash the opportunities on offer through a series of game-changing initiatives designed to improve the kingdom’s business environment.”
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz announced the launch of the National Investment Strategy (NIS).
Read: Saudi Crown Prince launches National Investment Strategy
Fahd Al-Rasheed, CEO of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC), said: “The RHQ companies will bring new expertise, research and development as well as innovation in a wide range of sectors, resulting in knowledge transfer in the medium to long term, and improvement in the local talent pool. By 2030, the programme will contribute $18bn to the local economy and create around 30,000 new jobs.”
“As an attractive city for MNCs, their employees, and their families to relocate, Riyadh is at the center of the regional headquarters attraction programme of multinational companies. We are undergoing a rapid transformation, as we look to double the city’s population and increase its economic footprint threefold by 2030. Four mega projects in the city are in progress to considerably advance quality-of-life rankings globally.”
Besides mega projects that include King Salman Park, Green Riyadh, Riyadh Art and Sports Boulevard, other initiatives such as the King Abdulaziz Project for Riyadh Public Transport, Qiddiya and Diriyah are also offering opportunities. Sustainability is an integral part of the kingdom’s transformation, with investments in the Riyadh Sustainability Strategy amounting to $92bn.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia also launched two new green initiatives as part of efforts to combat climate change.
Read: Saudi Crown Prince announces two massive green initiatives to combat climate change
Education is also one of the most important drivers in attracting talented individuals with multiple educational reforms approved by the Council of Ministers under the Regional Headquarters Attraction Program of Multinational Companies, enabling international schools to set up with their own personnel.
Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh, Minister of Education, said: “The Ministry of Education continues its efforts, with the support of our wise leadership, to achieve the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in providing modern and distinguished curricula that contributes to the development of a world-class educational system. The International Schools Attraction Programme provides exceptional added value for the exchange of knowledge and expertise to our distinguished national talents in the education sector and specialized international cadres.”