Saudi Arabia: Kingdom will require foreign firms to set up shop

Saudi HQ: Kingdom will require foreign firms to set up shop
A group of 24 international firms including Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bechtel and PepsiCo announced they were moving their regional headquarters to the kingdom at an annual investment conference organised by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund last month [File: Maya Anwar/Bloomberg]

Saudi Arabia has offered firms a package of incentives including tax breaks to urge them to set up shop in the kingdom under a plan dubbed ‘Project HQ’, which is also designed to shift the Gulf’s business hub away from Dubai.

Saudi Arabia said it will stop working with foreign firms that don’t base their Middle East headquarters in the kingdom, in its latest effort to shift the Gulf region’s business hub away from Dubai.

From Jan. 1, 2024 the government as well as agencies, institutes and funds owned by the state will no longer contract any companies or commercial institutions unless they have a regional hub in Saudi Arabia, according to a statement on the Saudi Press Agency attributed to an official source. The move is intended to encourage foreign firms to hire more Saudi nationals and limit “economic leakage,” according to the SPA report.