Tuesday 22 January 2019

Apple, Amazon in key Saudi licence talks

RIYADH, December 28, 2017

Global giants Apple and Amazon are in licensing discussions with Saudi government, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s push to give the conservative kingdom a high-tech look, reported Reuters citing two sources.

A third source confirmed that Apple was in talks with Sagia, Saudi Arabia’s foreign investment authority.

The news comes timely as Riyadh has been easing regulatory impediments for the past two years, including limits on foreign ownership which had long kept investors away, since falling crude prices highlighted the need to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

Both companies already sell products in Saudi Arabia via third parties but they and other global tech giants have yet to establish a direct presence, said the Reuters report.

Amazon’s discussions are being led by cloud computing division Amazon Web Services (AWS), which would introduce stiff competition in a market currently dominated by smaller local providers like STC and Mobily.

Luring Apple and Amazon would further Prince Mohammed’s reform plans and raise the companies’ profile in a young and relatively affluent market, which already boasts some of the highest internet and smartphone use in the world, stated the report.

Amazon’s talks are in earlier stages and no specific date has been set for investment plans, the sources said.

A licensing agreement for Apple stores with Sagia is expected by February, with an initial retail store targeted for 2019, they added.

Tags: Saudi | Apple | Amazon |

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