Ronny Froehlich is a German entrepreneur that recently broadened his e-commerce business in Saudi Arabia, as the business was based in Dubai. He said:
“If you want to be big in the Middle East, you need to be in Saudi-full stop. Maybe in six months, we’ll stand here and it’s full.’’
The two allied countries in the Middle East share a kind of business rivalry that is expected to get bigger in the years that come, as the whole region is fighting with the idea that they rely only on oil.
Abdullah Altamami, a businessman from Saudi Arabia could not establish a stable business five years ago but now sees that the times had changed for the better.
“I don’t invest in a company now regionally that doesn’t focus on Saudi Arabia,’’ said Altamami.
According to Bloomberg, Michael Page, an international employment agency, has noticed a surge in executives particularly in the property industry, looking to relocate as Saudi Arabia unveils projects for entirely new cities that could yet eclipse the splashy developments, such as the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, on which Dubai built its name.
Tom Watson, a partner at Michael Page Middle East said:
“Over the last 18 months, we have seen many high profile leaders in the real estate sector moving from across the world looking to be involved in the giga-projects.’’
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business report for 2020, Saudi Arabia was one of the 10 best-improved countries because it made some policies that eased the starting of new businesses, getting permits, power, and credit and enforce contracts. The United Arab Emirates still leads in the region but the difference is not so big anymore.
Steffen Hertog, a Gulf specialist and associate professor at the London School of Economics said:
“There is definitely nervousness about Saudi Arabia’s opening in Dubai. I don’t think Dubai will lose its status as the region’s primary hub anytime soon as it is so far ahead. That said, Saudi-focused business at least is more likely to relocate to Saudi as social life and bureaucracy get easier there.’’