Businesses & Financial News

Saudi invests S$1.1 Billion on local, regional startups

By Seth Emmanuel

Saudi Arabia Wednesday announced Ignite, a new program for digital content creation and production; new investments and support for next generation connectivity and communications infrastructure.

The latest round of announcements was made on day two of LEAP22, the biggest global technology platform taking place in Riyadh.

Ignite aims to triple digital content market size in gaming, audio, video and advertising. The program is backed by a US$1.1 billion investment and will include incentives including financial support for local, regional and international companies and start-ups; infrastructure development; talent development programs and improved policy and regulations to enable the sector to grow rapidly.

The new program and investments are all part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to accelerate its digital ecosystem and leverage its position in the Middle East and North Africa region to become a leading international digital economy.

The program aims to create a comprehensive ecosystem which will attract digital content companies and grow media production and content creation sector paving way for the Kingdom to become a leading digital entertainment and media production hub.

To further attract local and international partners to Ignite, Saudi Arabia will also enhance intellectual property protection measures. International and local partners will be able to benefit from an investor’s ‘one stop shop’ that will streamline the process for investment into the Saudi digital content economy.

Additionally, the Kingdom announced the launch of WiFi 6E, supported by the largest amount of spectrum available for WiFi of any country worldwide. The combination of state-of-the-art technology and record amount of spectrum will allow Saudi Arabia to benefit from the fastest achievable WiFi speeds globally (2.4 Gbps). Enabling this advanced connectivity is expected to quadruple WiFi’s overall contribution to Saudi Arabia’s GDP rising from US$4.7 billion in 2021 to more than US$18 billion by 2030.

The Kingdom’s WiFi upgrade is to be accompanied by other connectivity-boosting initiatives, including the first regional trial of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology to extend reliable coverage to remote areas of the Kingdom. CITC will also hold a frequency auction during the first half of this year, a development which is likely to place Saudi first globally for spectrum available to fifth-generation (5G) networks and mobile communications. The contribution of 5G technology to GDP is expected to increase from US$1.4 billion in 2021 to more than US$15 billion by 2030.

Moreover, Trend Micro announced the opening of its regional Middle East & Africa (MEA) headquarters in Riyadh, a security data lake, and other investments in Saudi Arabia totaling over US$50 million. The investments aim to amplify Trend Micro’s continued commitment to protect public and private organizations in the Kingdom and across the entire region.

Trend Micro announced a cybersecurity Software as a Service (SaaS) data lake for cloud security, endpoint security, network security as well as extended detection and response solutions which will all be provided locally from inside the Kingdom. This demonstrates commitment to serve the country and the entire region as the first global cybersecurity company to launch its MEA HQ and a local cloud data lake inside Saudi Arabia.

The first edition of LEAP is set to become the world’s largest debut technology platform, putting a spotlight on the global innovation ecosystem, connecting pioneers and disruptors with business and government leaders, entrepreneurs and investors to experience and learn about the technologies of the future.

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