Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have been in talks with Riyadh about investment in Saudi Arabia, two sources informed Reuters. These discussions serve the vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to increase investment of tech companies in the country.
Another source confirmed that Apple has been in discussion with SAGIA, a foreign investment authority of Saudi Arabia. No tech giant has established its presence in the country directly. All of them sell their products through third parties.
Amazon has been discussing about establishing its cloud computing division Amazon Web Services (AWS). The presence of Amazon’s cloud division would present a fierce competition in the local market, which is currently dominated by local players such as Mobily and STC.
Riyadh has been smoothing out regulation from the past two years to attract foreign investors. It eased regulations that took off limits on foreign ownership after realizing the need for diversification of its oil-dependent economy since falling crude prices.
According to sources, Amazon’s discussion is in early stages and the date for investment has not been set yet. On the other hand, Apple would open its stores to gain leadership status by overtaking Samsung.
Both companies refused to comment on the matter when approached by Reuters, while SAGIA was not available to respond.
Nearly 70 percent of the population of Saudi Arabia is under 30 and active on social media. Attracting tech giants such as Amazon and Apple would help Crown Prince’s ambitions to establish Saudi Arabia as tech hub. Moreover, it would help tech giants make a mark in affluent market with high number of smartphone users.