Huawei to build largest shop outside of China in Saudi Arabia

'Immersive' branch will be located at the Riyadh Front, a prominent business and shopping destination in the kingdom

Huawei Technologies Co. smartphones and tech products on display inside the AliExpress plaza retail store, operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2020. U.S. officials deliberated but ultimately decided against banning American investment in Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd., a person familiar with the discussions said, removing a cloud of uncertainty over Asia’s two biggest corporations. Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

Telecoms manufacturer Huawei has partnered with Saudi developer Kaden Investment to set up its largest flagship shop outside China in Riyadh.

The shop will be located at the Riyadh Front, a prominent business and shopping destination in the kingdom's capital.

It will showcase how connectivity will integrate 5G and artificial intelligence into every aspect of daily life, said Huawei.

The Chinese telecoms company did not disclose the timetable for the project or how much has been invested.

Huawei has played an instrumental role in Saudi Arabia's development

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Finance Khalid Al-Falih called Huawei one of the “most valued and long-standing digital partners” that is ahead of the curve in recognising the investment potential of the kingdom’s telecom sector.

"Huawei has played an instrumental role in Saudi Arabia's development, collaborating with government and private enterprises ... it continues to share our commitment to talent development, innovation and ambition ... the values which underpin Vision 2030."

The kingdom is the biggest economy in the Arab world and is undergoing a significant digital transformation.

The country's rate of internet penetration is expected to rise to 82.6 per cent of the population in 2022. The figure stood at 73.2 per cent in 2017.

The Huawei shop will give the telecoms company direct access to Saudi consumers and provide an “immersive full-scenario experience”, according to Terry He, chief executive of Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Arabia is an important market for us and we are dedicated to providing the very best communications technology to the kingdom, as well as to investing in the growth of the local information and communications technology ecosystem,” he said.

As a central driver of Vision 2030 reforms, the telecoms industry is now the fastest growing in the Mena region, and the world’s 13th largest. It is valued at $20 billion and set to hit $35bn by 2030.

Kaden Investment owns the Riyadh Front, one of the latest additions to Saudi Arabia’s growing retail and commercial property landscape. The retail and property sectors have been prioritised for development in line with Vision 2030 objectives to boost private sector growth.

“This strategic partnership with Huawei is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to attract international partnerships that strengthen our position as a leading investment force in the Mena [region], a centre for innovation and entrepreneurship and a digital hub that connects three continents,” said Abdullah Bin Amer, the kingdom's Minister of Communications and Information Technology.

Huawei’s revenue rose in the first nine months of last year, despite fighting US trade sanctions and the business disruptions caused by Covid-19.

It posted a 9.9 per cent rise in revenue to $98.57 billion, the company said. Its net profit margin during this period was 8 per cent.