In July, the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council organized a visiting delegation from the Saudi Economic Cities Authority (ECA). Executives from the ECA participated in a round table discussion in New Brunswick, New Jersey on July 18th where they highlighted investment opportunities and business incentives for American companies.
Mohanud Helal, Secretary General of the ECA, addressed American business leaders and provided a detailed overview of the developments taking place in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). He further noted that “gatherings such as [the round table program] provide an important platform for key policymakers, enablers, and investors to come together and engage in meaningful discussions and will play a pivotal role in bringing the ambitious roadmap for the future outlined in Vision 2030 to fruition.”
Business Council CEO Edward Burton stated that “KAEC is extremely attractive in terms of incentives and location for American companies looking to expand their footprint in Saudi Arabia. As we have seen today, there is huge interest in the Kingdom and a lot of curiosity. The Council will continue to provide a platform where Saudi leaders can educate industry leaders here in America.”
The investment opportunities and incentives available for companies choosing to set up business in KAEC’s Industrial Valley (IV) were one of the main topics of discussion program, which was attended by representatives from American companies involved in the pharmaceuticals, logistics, fast-moving consumer goods, building materials, automotive, and packaging industries with an interest in expanding their operations in Saudi Arabia.
Following the event in New Jersey, representatives from the ECA and the Business Council traveled to Los Angeles for a meeting with Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO), the only hyperloop company in the world to successfully test its hyperloop technology at scale. During the visit, VHO and the ECA announced an agreement to conduct a study to build the world’s longest test and certification hyperloop track, as well as a research and development center and hyperloop manufacturing facility north of Jeddah.
The study will take place at KAEC and include a 35-kilometer test and certification track and is expected to create opportunities for the development of specific hyperloop technologies and develop local expertise in Saudi Arabia. The study will also facilitate the development of localized hyperloop supply chains and the acceleration of innovation clusters across the Kingdom.
Commenting on the agreement, Jay Walder, CEO, Virgin Hyperloop One said “with Vision 2030, the Kingdom has demonstrated bold leadership to advance game-changing solutions. A hyperloop system could help enable Saudi Arabia to become a global transportation powerhouse, nurture the nation’s innovation and entrepreneurial culture, and grow an innovative knowledge workforce.”