Saudi Arabia launched a ‘Saudi Made’ brand on Sunday, aimed at boosting sales of local products at home and abroad.
As part of its wide-ranging Vision 2030 reform plan, Riyadh hopes to increase non-oil business and cultivate foreign investments in the kingdom.
Companies that meet the quality guidelines will be able to sell their products with an official logo that says "Saudi Made", Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Bandar Alkhorayef said at the virtual launch.
"Through this brand, the Saudi Made programme will provide a wide range of benefits and opportunities for member companies. The programme will enhance the spirit of national solidarity to support national establishments for the benefits of the kingdom," Mr Alkhorayef said.
"The logo will provide a unified identity for Saudi products and services, representing an official identity to promote Saudi products and services locally and internationally," the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.
A description of the logo on the Saudi Made website says: "At first glance, the Saudi Made logo appears simple – a silhouette familiar to many. But, look a little closer for a deeper understanding."
It features a white square with the cut-out silhouette of what appears to be a palm tree in the middle above the words Saudi Made.
The site says the palm fronds resemble a star, representing hope and prosperity, and the trunk and lower fronds form an arrow, pointing forward.
“Together they form a memorable and striking signature for a business community bursting with potential,” the website says.
The programme is key to business reforms and creating a clear Saudi brand.
Saudi officials see a distinct identity as vital to successfully marketing their local produce around the world.
“The National Industrial Development and Logistics programme is one of the most important for achieving the kingdom’s Vision 2030 and aims to diversify the sources of income and increase the private sector’s contribution in GDP from 40 to 65 per cent,” Mr Alkhorayef said.
The kingdom aims to boost GDP from non-oil exports from 16 to per cent to 50 per cent, while the country hopes to boost foreign direct investment from 3.8 per cent of GDP to 5.7 per cent, he said.
The Saudi Made programme will help achieve the targets above and will be essential in bringing the Saudi brand into global recognition, said Mr Alkhorayef.
The programme was created after looking at successful case studies from around the world, the minister explained.
“By achieving that, these countries have been able to create self-sufficiency throughout their local industries and have succeeded in entering new markets and accessing fruitful routes to research, development and innovation,” Mr Alkhorayef said.
Firms in the kingdom can register through the website for approval to use the logo, to access a community of producers and receive government assistance to market and sell.
In February, Saudi Arabia said from 2024 it will stop giving contracts to companies whose regional headquarters are outside of the kingdom.
“The cessation will include agencies, institutions and funds owned by the government and will take effect January 1, 2024,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, citing an official source.
In 2015, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority announced that it would allow non-Saudi nationals to fully own companies – removing the 75 per cent ownership cap that had existed earlier.
The kingdom has tried to isolate local business from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, after the kingdom shut to visitors and went into prolonged lockdowns.
It also offered small and medium-sized enterprises $4.5 billion in loans to support them through the pandemic.