New Murabba to bring Riyadh’s visionary downtown to life

The MoU to create New Murabba — the world’s largest, modern downtown — was signed by NMDC CEO Michael Dyke and TDF CEO Qusai bin Abdullah Al-Fakhri.
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Updated 03 March 2024
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New Murabba to bring Riyadh’s visionary downtown to life

New Murabba Development Company has signed an MoU with the Tourism Development Fund to spearhead the transformation of Riyadh. The agreement will see the two entities work closely together to create New Murabba: the world’s largest, modern downtown, serving as a model for future urban development and contributing toward Riyadh city’s evolution, in line with Vision 2030.

NMDC’s strategic partnership with TFD aims to fulfill Saudi Arabia’s potential as a leading investment destination — a go-to tourism and hospitality hotspot distinguished by a thriving tech ecosystem, an enabling business environment and a diverse and welcoming society.

The MoU was signed by NMDC CEO Michael Dyke and TDF CEO Qusai bin Abdullah Al-Fakhri. As part of the agreement, TDF will provide direct financing opportunities — in collaboration with its network of partners and contracted investors.

Al-Fakhri said: “We are pleased to have partnered with the New Murabba Development Company to bring this bold undertaking to life, an innovative undertaking that will enhance Riyadh’s status on the global stage as one of the commercial and financial capitals of the world. This is a future-focused partnership that extends our efforts to work in a fully aligned manner with the private sector to create a greater, more prosperous Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “In line with Vision 2030 and the National Tourism Strategy, our agreement with New Murabba Development Company marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Riyadh, one that adds to the richness of the Kingdom’s inspiring story of transformation. Together, we aim to create a modern downtown in the Saudi capital that provides even greater access to exceptional living, working and entertainment experiences. Representing the very best of Saudi excellence, we believe New Murabba will attract tourists — as well as investors — to the Kingdom, and improve citizens’ and residents’ quality of life.”

NMDC CEO Dyke said: “New Murabba will be a gateway to the future. We are confident that our partnership with TDF will enable us to play a transformative role in diversifying sources of income for the Saudi economy, aligning seamlessly with the objectives of Vision 2030. Together, we will create groundbreaking opportunities that will elevate the Saudi tourism landscape and drive New Murabba to the forefront of global innovation.”

He added: “Reflecting our commitment to the community and the environment, New Murabba has been designed in accordance with internationally established best practices and sustainability standards, incorporating green spaces, providing an extensive network of walking paths and promoting healthy living. Our goal is to make New Murabba a truly exceptional place to live, work, play, and visit. We will offer convenient access to a wide range of amenities and experiences that will enhance the lives of residents and visitors, fostering a sense of security and well-being. Accessibility is also a top priority for us, with New Murabba being just 20 minutes away from King Khalid International Airport by car. The Mukaab — a new architectural wonder — will, of course, serve as the centerpiece of New Murabba, redefining Riyadh’s skyline from the outside, while presenting a truly jaw-dropping experience within the inside.”

Established in 2022, NMDC is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, with its board of directors being chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


RUUD, Modern Electronics tap into growing HVAC market

Updated 27 May 2024
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RUUD, Modern Electronics tap into growing HVAC market

A strategic collaboration between RUUD — a brand in the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning industry under Rheem Middle East — and Modern Electronics, to become the exclusive distributor for RUUD’s air-conditioning products in Saudi Arabia, comes at a pivotal time when the HVAC sector in the Kingdom is witnessing substantial growth, driven by increased demand across various sectors including residential, commercial, and industrial markets.

The HVAC market in Saudi Arabia is projected to grow significantly, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.2 percent from 2021 to 2026. The surge in demand is attributed to the Kingdom’s rapid urbanization, extensive infrastructure projects, and a growing emphasis on energy-efficient solutions. Major infrastructure developments under Saudi Vision 2030 are further propelling the need for advanced HVAC systems.

Modern Electronics, well-known for its extensive distribution network, is well-positioned to meet this growing demand. The partnership with RUUD will enable Modern Electronics to deliver high-quality, reliable cooling solutions tailored to the specific needs of consumers in Saudi Arabia.

Brian Hempenstall, general manager of Rheem Middle East and Africa, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Modern Electronics as our exclusive distributor in Saudi Arabia. This collaboration underscores our commitment to providing premium HVAC solutions that meet the diverse needs of our customers in the region.”

Samer Bachour, general manager of sales at Rheem Middle East and Africa, said: “Modern Electronics’ market expertise and comprehensive understanding of Saudi Arabia’s HVAC demands make them an ideal partner. Together, we are dedicated to delivering innovative, energy-efficient cooling solutions that cater to the evolving needs of Saudi consumers.”

Wajih Beiruti, CEO of Modern Electronics, added: “We are delighted to join forces with RUUD to bring their best-in-class HVAC products to our customers in Saudi Arabia. By leveraging our local market knowledge and extensive distribution network, we aim to deliver the latest and most advanced cooling solutions, ensuring exceptional quality and value for our consumers.”

RUUD’s parent company, Rheem Middle East, has a strong reputation for providing highly customized and engineered HVAC solutions. In addition to expanding its product offerings, Rheem Middle East is committed to supporting the local HVAC sector’s development. Earlier this year, Rheem Middle East launched an innovation learning center in Riyadh to train young Saudis, aiming to increase local expertise in the HVAC industry.

This partnership and RUUD’s dedication to expanding its market presence and delivering advanced cooling solutions to meet the growing demand in Saudi Arabia also highlights the Kingdom’s appeal as a key market.


Samaco Motors unveils new Porsche Panamera

Updated 27 May 2024
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Samaco Motors unveils new Porsche Panamera

Porsche Saudi Arabia and Samaco Motors have launched the new Panamera 2024, which challenges boundaries with more power, state-of-the-art technology, an enhanced driving dynamic, and new design features. The launch events were held in Riyadh and Jeddah.

The Panamera’s debut in Riyadh featured a glamorous reveal illustrating the seamless integration of luxurious design and digital innovation that defines the new model. Attendees experienced firsthand the advanced capabilities of the Panamera’s upgraded suspension systems and the robust performance of its e-hybrid powertrains, which promise an unmatched blend of power and sustainability.

In Jeddah, the event provided an exclusive opportunity for guests to take the wheel and experience the agility and power of the Panamera 2024. This hands-on experience highlights the vehicle’s enhanced driving dynamics and technological integrations, setting a new benchmark for what enthusiasts can expect from a luxury sports sedan.

Rashad Embaby, general manager of Porsche Saudi Arabia, said: “The new Panamera 2024 represents a pivotal evolution in our pursuit of combining luxury with performance and environmental consciousness. It exemplifies Porsche’s innovative spirit and our dedication to exceeding the expectations of our discerning customers in Saudi Arabia and around the world.”

The new Panamera 2024 showcases an array of advanced and sophisticated digital features, luxurious design elements, upgraded suspension systems, and enhanced e-hybrid powertrains, offering a superior blend of performance and efficiency.

Its four-liter V8 turbo engine paired with a 140 kW electric motor, delivers a combined output of 680 PS and a torque of 930 Nm. This configuration enables the car to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds, with a top speed of 315 km/h, while offering an electric range of up to 91 kilometers.

In line with global trends toward sustainability and efficiency, the new Panamera 2024 includes features designed to minimize environmental impact.

This regional launch signifies the expansion of Porsche’s strategic vision and its commitment to exceptional automotive experiences across the Middle East. Porsche Saudi Arabia and Samaco are encouraging luxury car enthusiasts to visit their showrooms to discover the features embedded within the new model and test drive it.


Jeeny to swap 50% cars for EVs by 2028, full electrification by 2030

Updated 26 May 2024
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Jeeny to swap 50% cars for EVs by 2028, full electrification by 2030

Saudi ride-hailing app Jeeny plans to swap all its cars for electric vehicles by 2030. Speaking at a media gathering in Riyadh on Wednesday, Hammad Ehtesham, Jeeny’s CEO, said: “At Jeeny, we are dedicated to sustainability: we will swap 50 percent of cars for electric vehicles by 2028 and aim for full electrification by 2030, supporting the government’s green initiatives and investing in the necessary infrastructure.”

Speaking to Arab News about the company’s contribution to Saudi Vision 2030, Ehtesham said: “Jeeny’s vision for the Kingdom is clear, we aim to integrate various mobility options within a single app, support the Saudi government and relevant authorities in achieving the objectives of Vision 2030, and reduce the carbon footprint of Jeeny and the overall transportation industry.”

“We aim to deliver unparalleled service quality across the Kingdom, ensure transportation is accessible and affordable for everyone, minimize cancellations and enhance car availability to provide the best transportation services in the region, and collaborate with regulatory authorities,” he added.

When asked if replacing regular cars with electric vehicles will cost extra to the riders, Ehtesham said: “In fact, it will be more profitable for the drivers, the prices will be unchanged for the riders, and it will help reduce the carbon footprint. I can say this from our experience in other countries.”

The CEO said that to meet the diverse needs of passengers in the Kingdom, Jeeny has introduced three distinct ride-hailing services: Ecolite — offering a quick and affordable ride, Smart — a reliable and convenient ride, and Elite — offering luxury and comfort.

“This strategic expansion allows us to cater to a broader audience, enhancing accessibility and satisfaction across the Kingdom,” Ehtesam added.

“Our mobility solution includes ride-hailing services across the Kingdom, facilitating seamless intercity transport. We offer diverse routes and integrate with metro and micro-mobility options for an efficient, interconnected travel experience,” said Ehtesham.

Earlier, making a powerpoint presentation at the media gathering, Ehtesham said that since launching their private car service in 2016, Jeeny has made significant strides: it has created more than 80,000 income opportunities for Saudi nationals, and continuously improved services to meet evolving user needs.

During the presentation, he said Jeeny was able to give back to society by supporting Saudization goals, as the company’s drivers are Saudi citizens.

Jeeny has undergone a remarkable evolution over the years, significantly enhancing both service offerings and the app itself.

Initially launched as Easy Taxi, the service onboarded 100,000 drivers across the Kingdom, greatly improving taxi services with features such as standardized pricing, car cleanliness, monitored driver behavior, enhanced security and safety, reducing idle kilometers, and boosting driver earnings.


Honor unveils ‘four-layer AI strategy’ at VivaTech

Updated 26 May 2024
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Honor unveils ‘four-layer AI strategy’ at VivaTech

Global technology brand Honor made its debut at VivaTech, one of Europe’s largest tech and innovation events. During its keynote, the company showcased its innovative approach to on-device AI and unveiled its “four-layer AI strategy.” Honor also announced upcoming gen-AI experiences with Google Cloud, which are set to be featured on its upcoming smartphones.

“At Honor, we firmly believe that, by combining the power of on-device AI’s personalization, intuitiveness, and privacy protection, everyone can unlock the full potential of AI safely and securely,” said George Zhao, CEO of Honor Device Co., Ltd. “We are also delighted to forge ahead with Google Cloud, leveraging our combined expertise to unlock the potential of this hybrid approach and deliver even more seamless AI experiences to our users.”

During the keynote, Honor unveiled its four-layer AI architecture and demonstrated its strategic focus on integrating AI into MagicOS. This four-layer architecture comprises distinct layers. At the base layer, Cross-device and Cross-OS AI form the foundation of an open ecosystem, which allows the sharing of computing power and services among devices and operating systems. Building upon this foundation, the Platform-level AI layer enables a personalized operating system, allowing intent-based human-computer interaction and personalized resource allocation. At the third layer, App-level AI is poised to introduce a wave of innovative, generative AI applications that will revolutionize user experiences. Lastly, at the top, the Interface to Cloud-AI services layer provides users with easy access to massive cloud services while prioritizing privacy protection, creating a truly holistic and future-forward AI experience.

Honor also announced that the upcoming Honor 200 Series will revolutionize portrait photography by bringing the mastery of Studio Harcourt, a legendary French photography studio known for its expertise in capturing classic portrait shots with iconic figures. 

The series will leverage AI technology to recreate the iconic studio’s legendary lighting and shadow effects.

By using AI to learn from a vast dataset of Studio Harcourt portraits, the Honor 200 Series has successfully broken down the entire portrait photography process into nine distinct steps, and perfectly replicates the full Studio Harcourt method, ensuring flawless and studio-quality portraits with every shot.

The Honor 200 Series is set to launch in Paris on June 12.


LuLu brings taste of British summer to Saudi Arabia

Updated 26 May 2024
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LuLu brings taste of British summer to Saudi Arabia

LuLu Hypermarket is celebrating summer with an array of British foods and other products in its “Best of Britain” festival. A range of seasonal goods, traditional favorites and top beauty products and fragrances is offering customers in Saudi Arabia the great taste of British summer.

The festival, which began on May 15 and runs until May 25, was formally inaugurated by British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Neil Crompton, at LuLu’s branch in the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh. 

With nearly 5,000 British items on its shelves, the LuLu stores are well stocked with a selection of popular and premium British products, many of which are on promotion for the festival. The event also spotlights the launch of 35 new products from six leading British brands. LuLu currently showcases 605 popular British brands.

The popular annual festival gives people in Saudi Arabia the opportunity to enjoy the extraordinary variety and high quality of British food produce and beauty brands. Shoppers will be able to make the most of the finest British summer treats, from freeze-packed berries to teas, British organic milk, cheeses, flavorsome yogurts and specialty breads. The promotion is running across the entire chain of LuLu outlets in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Crompton said: “I am pleased to inaugurate this year’s British food festival in LuLu. With the popularity of British FMCG goods growing, I understand there has been a growth of 25 percent in imports between 2022 and 2023. We have seen exciting growth in our range of goods, especially our organic range, our biscuits and chocolate. Over the last few years, this event has been very successful and I am particularly pleased that the festival is being held with active support from LuLu’s British subsidiary, the award-winning logistics and packaging center in Birmingham, which is a vital part of the LuLu Group’s strong partnership with the UK.”

Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Saudi Hypermarkets, thanked the British Embassy for their support, saying: “The LuLu Group’s Birmingham logistics and warehousing facility services our entire global hypermarket chain. LuLu Hypermarket’s long and delicious list of British products has won accolades from shoppers and our growing sales figures show that. Besides special promotions on British products, LuLu Hypermarket turns a spotlight on British food, cheeses and drinks from the UK that shoppers can enjoy.”