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Saudi Arabia's giga-projects to offer 'testing ground' for British technology

Saudi startups and fintech firms are looking to tap into the United Kingdom's $1 trillion tech market.
Saudi-UK tech hub

LONDON — Saudi businesses, buoyed by regulatory reforms, are on a push to adopt new technology, and Britain is one of the most attractive foreign markets. 

With a tech market worth more than $1 trillion, the United Kingdom has been drawing more interest from Saudi Arabia as the Gulf kingdom under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 project looks to diversify its economy away from oil by heavily investing in other industries, with tech forming a pillar of the reform plan. "In technology, we will increase our investments in and lead the digital economy," the government says in its Vision 2030 overview.

One of the platforms that's helping realize Vision 2030's tech ambitions is the Saudi-UK Tech Hub. Formally launched in 2022, the hub aims to establish a framework to enhance bilateral cooperation in the tech sector. The nonpartisan hub is not a physical structure but a platform under the Saudi British Joint Business Council umbrella used for joint initiatives and events in the two countries’ tech sectors. SBJBC has roughly 200 UK and Saudi members, 35% of whom operate in the tech sector. 

Matt Jones, project officer at the tech hub, said that its establishment came in response to a significant increase in the importance of the tech sector across the Saudi economy, as mandated by Vision 2030. “So much of it is about digitalizing and transforming existing sectors in the economy, whether it be finance and the need to embed fintech as mandated by regulatory change led by the Central Bank and Capital Markets Authority,” Jones told Al-Monitor. 

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