Samsung joins Saudi Qiddiya project

Michael Reininger, left, CEO of Qiddiya Investment Company, and Lee Young-ho, president and CEO of Samsung C&T, after signing a MoU on constructing an entertainment complex in Qiddiya. (AN Photo)
Updated 01 November 2019

Samsung joins Saudi Qiddiya project

  • The project is designed to build a mega entertainment complex that is more than half the size of Seoul and twice the size of Washington D.C.
  • The complex will feature a hotel, an outdoor entertainment facility, a motorsports center, a speed part stadium and an indoor ski center

SEOUL: Saudi Arabia and South Korea’s Samsung Group have agreed to collaborate on the Kingdom’s city development project in Qiddiya, officials told Arab News on Wednesday.
Qiddiya, located 40 km west of Riyadh, is referred to as Saudi Arabia’s future “capital of entertainment, sports and the arts.”
On Tuesday, the Qiddiya Investment Co. (QIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Samsung Group signed an extensive memorandum of understanding (MoU) as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.
The MoU was signed by QIC CEO Michael Reininger and Lee Young-ho, president and CEO of Samsung C&T, a construction arm of the South Korean tech giant, at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh.
“The signing of this milestone MoU between Qiddiya and Samsung C&T, an industry leader and global pioneer, demonstrates our commitment to achieving our dual goals of creating an unprecedented destination that enriches the lives of Saudi citizens while driving social and economic diversification within the Kingdom,” Reininger said.
Kim Wan-soo, senior vice president of Samsung C&T, said the deal will further cement its strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia.
“We’re confident to leverage the full capabilities from both partners to deliver the most technologically advanced entertainment, sports and arts destination in the Kingdom,” he added.
Neither side revealed the value of the deal. The project is designed to build a mega entertainment complex that is more than half the size of Seoul and twice the size of Washington D.C., with the Saudi government investing nearly $8 billion.
The complex will feature a hotel, an outdoor entertainment facility, a motorsports center and an indoor ski center.
It is expected to attract about 17 million tourists from around the world once it is completed by 2030.
Under the MoU, Samsung C&T will collaborate on design, engineering and construction of Qiddiya’s sports complex, according to Samsung officials.
Samsung Electronics will become Qiddiya’s primary technology sponsor while building co-branding and naming rights for some of Qiddiya’ anchor facilities.
Other Samsung IT and security affiliates such as Samsung SDS will participate in the project as systems providers, the sources said.
“This is a very extensive deal to support Saudi Arabia’s up-to-date construction project, and is expected to be a stepping stone for boosting more businesses in the Kingdom and other countries in the region,” a Samsung spokesman told Arab News on condition of anonymity.
Samsung is prioritizing the Middle East, which the heir of Samsung Group has called “the land of opportunities.”
Lee visited Saudi Arabia in September to review Samsung’s ongoing construction works, including the Riyadh Metro Project.
During his stay, he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss expanding business cooperation in various fields, including technology, construction and energy.
Lee also met in Seoul with the crown prince, who was visiting South Korea’s capital for the first time to seal business deals worth $8.3 billion.


Saudi Arabia ends gender segregation in restaurants 

Updated 09 December 2019

Saudi Arabia ends gender segregation in restaurants 

RIYADH/MAKKAH: The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has ended the requirement for restaurants to have separate sections for males and families.

Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, the department’s minister-designate, also approved other updates to rules and regulations in different sectors on Sunday.

Dr. Khaled Al-Jammaz, undersecretary-designate for technical affairs at the ministry, explained that the move was part of a number of amendments that included 103 regulations, requirements, manuals, models, standards and applications for activities of all kinds.

Makkah Mayor Mohammed Abdullah Al-Quwaihis told Arab News that the amendments aimed to make life easier for investors, citizens and entrepreneurs.

“They will be positive and will ease many conditions and restrictions, but they will not affect the core of the work in terms of public health and food, and this decision will increase the flow of investment and the number and variety of restaurants,” he said.

Nasser Al-Shalhoub, one of the owners of the soon-to-be opened Chaoua coffee shop, said that ending the requirement to have separate sections for males and families was an excellent decision — “especially since we are facing a problem with increasing costs because we are obligated to make two counters for the two sections, and now with this amendment the ministry has helped us to start working and reduce costs.”

A good designer can provide clever solutions to offer privacy for customers in different ways; it doesn’t have to be by blocking the place with big walls.

Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, An architect

“This will benefit us because we will take advantage of the space, and the area will look better,” he said.

Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, an architect, said: “A good designer can provide clever solutions to offer privacy for customers in different ways; it doesn’t have to be by blocking the place with big walls,” Al-Harbi said.

Ruba Al-Harbi, who manages a restaurant and owns the Snapchat lifestyle account @Tasteandtell, also agrees with the amendment. “It’s a waste of money to open two sections for males and families because this segregation will do nothing when both sides meet outside the restaurant’s doors.” She said that she had noticed the change a while ago, even before it was announced on the ministry’s website.

“I have entered several restaurants that had only one section and it was fine to sit and eat there.”

Al-Harbi said that were many issues when restaurants were divided. “Family sections are usually crowded. You often can’t find a place to sit while male sections are always empty because they don’t go to restaurants as much as females,” she said. 

Dareen Rajeh, a compliance analyst, said that many people in Saudi Arabia needed to get used to the existence of both sexes in the same place without becoming confused or uncomfortable. “We need to open our horizons and focus on more important issues.”