Qatar invests $1 billion in local startups through new VC fund

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country's sovereign wealth fund, is launching a $1-billion initiative to support local and regional startups through its first-ever Venture Capital (VC) Fund of Funds.This programme aims to:Boost innovation in Qatar: By investing in international and regional VC funds, focusing on tech sectors like fintech, edtech, and healthcare.Empower startups: QIA CEO Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud explains, "This program ensures innovative businesses have access to capital and support from VC funds to scale and expand across Qatar, the GCC, and internationally."Bridge the funding gap: QIA fills the gap for startups that have passed seed funding and require Series A to C investments.While the programme primarily invests indirectly through VC funds, it can also make targeted co-investments. It emphasizes not investing in private equity, debt, or other funds.The initiative has two key objectives:Generate market-competitive returns: This aligns with QIA's mandate of securing long-term financial gains.Foster a thriving VC and startup ecosystem: This contributes to Qatar's National Development Strategy, aiming to increase local startups and VC funding availability.Overall, this $1 billion VC Fund of Funds signifies Qatar's commitment to fostering innovation and supporting the growth of promising startups in the region.Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Visit Qatar launches all-new ‘Hayyakum Qatar’ destination campaign

Visit Qatar has launched a brand-new destination campaign that showcases Qatar’s diverse attractions and invites GCC nationals and residents to experience Qatar this winter season.The ‘Hayyakum Qatar’ destination campaign has been launched Out-of-Home and on social media platforms. The campaign highlights four main angles, each of which is reflected by images of specific destinations or events. The campaign humorously tracks a family visiting from the region as they explore what Qatar has to offer and celebrates the experience with the messages: Here’s to Your Joy, Here’s to Your Gatherings, Here’s to Your Laughter, and Here’s to Your Excitement. The video depicts the close bond between GCC countries and the warm, authentic hospitality that Qatar extends to its neighbours.Commenting on the new destination campaign, Eng. Abdulaziz Ali Al-Mawlawi, Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer at Qatar Tourism said: “We are thrilled to reveal this special campaign to everyone across the GCC. Qatar demonstrated its hospitality to millions of visitors last year and we are proud to continue welcoming even greater numbers this year from the region and beyond. Our eased travel policies, which include no visa requirements for GCC nationals and simplified processes through the Hayya application, mean that visitors can seamlessly travel to Qatar while choosing to arrive through land, sea or air. Our ‘Hayyakum Qatar’ campaign highlights the exciting experiences we have for visitors and the family-friendly fun that guests can enjoy during our beautiful winter season.” Here’s to Your JoyVisitors can head to Qatar for a spot of retail therapy. The country’s state-of-the-art retail venues, such as the Parisienne-inspired mall, Place Vendôme, the luxurious Al Hazm Mall, and the famed 21 High Street in Katara Cultural Village, which comes complete with outdoor cooling, all offer holistic retail, dining and entertainment experiences fit for the whole family.As part of Qatar’s extensive retail offering, visitors can look forward to Shop Qatar – the country’s biggest shopping festival which is set to make a return this winter season. The festival sees the country’s most prominent and popular malls participating in a range of exciting events including fashion shows, makeup masterclasses and other forms of exceptional entertainment. Lucrative promotions are also in store with prizes to be won like luxury cars, apartments, and cash. Here’s to Your GatheringsFrom budget street eats to restaurants by Michelin-starred chefs, Qatar’s food scene is wide-ranging and can be tailored to suit every itinerary. The campaign highlights the joy of gathering over a shared meal at one of the many leading restaurants available in the county.Qatar’s gastronomic largesse is best witnessed at the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), an annual tradition that brings together leading chefs from the region and internationally. The upcoming winter season will see the festival’s 13th edition, and bring to audiences live entertainment, cooking masterclasses and a chance to meet global top chefs.Here’s to Your LaughterQatar celebrates fun and thrills with Lusail Winter Wonderland and Meryal Water Park. Located on Al Maha Island, Lusail Winter Wonderland boasts over 50 rides and attractions, culinary options, and live entertainment. Meryal Water Park, located on the newly developed Qetaifan Island, is home to the 85-meter high ‘icon tower’ and offers visitors a selection of exciting attractions including a total of 36 waterslides.Here’s to Your ExcitementThis winter, Qatar promises a line-up of live performances, concerts, and comedy shows, creating the ultimate festive atmosphere. There will also be a number of renowned events including 5th edition the Qatar Hot Air Balloon Festival and maritime experiences at Hamad Port.Qatar welcomed over three million visitors by mid-October 2023, registering a five-year high. Figures are led by visitors from Saudi Arabia, while all GCC countries feature in the Top 10.Conveniently positioned between East and West, Qatar boasts an award-winning national carrier and an international airport that has been voted the Best Airport in the World for two years in a row. Qatar is also one of the most open countries in terms of visa facilitation, with visa-free access for GCC citizens, and visa-on-arrival granted to citizens from 95 countries. Qatar also launched the “Hayya” platform to ensure easy visa facilitation to all other nationalities. GCC nationals can register companions on the Hayya application and pre-register their vehicles for faster entry at the Abu Samra border.

Al-Futtaim IKEA embraces circular sustainability

United Arab Emirates, Dubai: Al-Futtaim IKEA, the region’s leading Swedish home furnishing retailer, today unveiled a 30-meter-long community table to celebrate Dubai Design Week. Made out of used furniture that would otherwise go to the landfill, the table will be open for public use from November 7th to the 12th in Dubai Design District. Not only is the community table a bold piece of art, but it is also functional, well-designed and signifies Al-Futtaim IKEA’s unwavering dedication to the Year of Sustainability, Innovation and the path leading to COP28.Thoughtfully designed and curated by IKEA designers and co-created with Adimas Bayu, an illustrator and upcoming doodle artist, along with Grade 5 and Grade 6 students of the Universal American School, this initiative is a testament to the Swedish retailer’s vision of using only renewable or recycled materials to offer fresh solutions to customers, extending the lifespan of products and materials. The table has a story to tell. It aligns with the core themes of conserving energy, preserving water, reducing food waste, and safeguarding biodiversity.Al-Futtaim IKEA has a vision and ambition in the markets it operates in - the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman; to inspire and enable more than 70 million people to live a better everyday life within the boundaries of the planet by 2025. It also aims to become a circular climate positive business by reducing more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the IKEA value chain emits by 2030. Dubai Design Week served as an ideal platform to showcase the retailors vision. Aligning with the UAE’s sustainability vision, it seeks to educate and encourage people to make choices that lead to a better everyday life.Vinod Jayan, Managing Director of Al-Futtaim IKEA in UAE, Qatar, Oman and Egypt said, ‘At Al-Futtaim IKEA, sustainability is one of the most important pillars that sets the foundation for what we do. We’re on a mission to make sustainability accessible to all, ensuring that sustainable living is not a luxury but a choice everyone can afford. For example, by changing to IKEA LED bulbs, we save 80% energy as compared to conventional bulbs. By using IKEA showers and taps, we can save up to 40% water with the special inbuilt aerator.’The community table is a great example of raising awareness among consumers on the importance of sustainability and the role they can play in contributing towards a circular economy. It encourages consumers to think about the life cycle of products and the value of reusing and recycling materials.‘As we craft this community table, IKEA's mission is crystal clear: we're championing Circularity. Our approach for designing and developing IKEA home furnishing products is to ensure that they integrate good function, beautiful form of long-lasting quality, while also securing sustainability and low price. We want to not only encourage people to protect the planet but also fosters a sense of community amongst artists. Together, we worked to inspire others to craft affordable, creative pieces off used and unwanted furniture’, he continued.In addition, Al-Futtaim IKEA has taken a step further by launching a Maker Space at Dubai Design District. This dynamic environment will showcase IKEA's sustainable furniture range, providing consumers with hands-on education on the functionality of these eco-conscious products. The space will allow customers with opportunity to gain valuable insights into energy conservation, water preservation, and food waste reduction, contributing to the crucial goal of protecting biodiversity.The Maker Space will also include workshops that will take visitors into the world of creativity. From transforming cushions to crafting collages from old catalogues, there's something for everyone. Come visit the Maker Space at building number 8 daily until November 12th, and experience these workshops for free. Don't miss this opportunity to unleash your artistic potential.

Elev8 showcases AI-driven business future at Qatar AI Summit

Doha: Reiterating its commitment to uniting people with technology, elev8, the world’s leading partner for digital skilling and transformative education, sponsored the 5th edition of the Middle East Enterprise AI & Analytics Summit held in Doha, Qatar, on October 5, 2023. The company’s participation aligned with its mission to empower the workforce of tomorrow by equipping them with the digital skills needed to successfully transition to the jobs of the future.Under the theme "Accelerating Innovation in Enterprises through Applied AI and Analytics Strategies," the summit brought together leading decision-makers and tech experts from the GCC region to explore opportunities in AI and Advanced Analytics and facilitate their real-time implementation across strategic industries. Guided by its commitment to being a driving force in shaping the future of AI-powered business, elev8 proactively demonstrated its capabilities while engaging with prominent players in the sector to enhance its strategic partnerships. Furthermore, it leveraged the platform to raise brand awareness among government bodies and large corporations by highlighting its prominent AI skilling programs that empower diverse sectors in Qatar to stay competitive in the AI era, as envisioned in the nation's AI strategy.The event emphasized the significance of upskilling present-day workforces to effectively embrace AI technologies. Indeed, according to most speakers and attendees to the Summit , the largest influence of AI adoption will be the development of complementary human skills as AI technology advances. elev8 spotlighted its reskilling programs that focus on transformative skills, learning, and employability initiatives that support enterprises and governments in meeting the future demands of the digital economy.Commenting on the growing impact of elev8’s strides in facilitating lifelong learning, professional growth, and collaborative excellence in the technology-enabled realm, Maria Balbas, President at elev8 Education and Executive Vice President of YNV Tech Talent, said: “As we witness an intense race for AI talent and a substantial deficit in specialized AI skills, it becomes imperative to train and upskill present-day professionals and develop new talent to harness the full potential of AI technology. As a global learning partner for innovative skilling programs, elev8 is committed to continually bridging this skills gap. Our innovative skilling programs and partnerships are designed to empower both individuals and organizations, in line with Qatar's digital transformation strategy.”As embedded in its core values, elev8 strives to create role-based learning pathways that empower businesses to advance competitively in the modern era. This is especially significant in view of the massive demand for AI-focused roles like Data Scientists and AI Software Engineers. The company firmly believes that a solid AI strategy for education and training should be the first strategic pillar for the companies driving the digital transformation journey of the country.With its competitive suite of training solutions, elev8 empowers the next generation of digital experts in the public and private sectors and assists modern-day organizations in turning digital disruption into competitive advantages. The company’s growing partnerships with key government entities and global leaders in technology and education empower it to catalyze digital transformation while actively supporting the digital transformation agendas of governments worldwide.

Flydubai's business suite adds lustre to ongoing campaign

The travel industry, once steadily growing, faced a major setback during the global pandemic, causing disruptions to the global GDP. However, according to forecasts by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), numerous international travel markets are projected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2023. Amidst this optimistic outlook, low-cost airline Flydubai has taken proactive steps to expedite the recovery by launching a compelling summer campaign and introducing an enticing premium business suite, all aimed at enticing travelers and reigniting the industry.Dubai, renowned as a global travel hub, particularly during summers, serves as the perfect backdrop for Flydubai's strategic summer campaign. This initiative focuses on promoting travel through Flydubai and its vacation division, Holidays by Flydubai. With a meticulous plan to attract both existing and potential travelers, the campaign seeks to elevate brand awareness and subsequently drive bookings.Geared towards a broad audience across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain, Flydubai's creative marketing approach effectively captures the essence of its summer offerings. Collaborating with their in-house design team, the airline employs visually striking content to showcase the beauty of destinations, incorporating illustrations that evoke the playful charm of the season. <img src='\0d79acba0d1f503cefdf8dee1bd88f18.png' class='content_image'>Multifaceted approach to attracting travelers Harnessing the power of online services, Flydubai's campaign capitalises on the widespread digital presence in people's lives. However, the airline's promotional efforts extend beyond the digital realm. Utilising outdoor placements, bridge banners, lamppost displays, and other avenues, Flydubai maximises its outreach. Recognising the potency of radio advertising in reaching diverse audiences, the airline orchestrates activations and competitions, granting customers opportunities to engage with the brand and experience its offerings firsthand.A highlight of the campaign was the collaboration with Virgin Radio in the UAE, where every caller emerged as a winner, securing a holiday package for two to Thailand. Such interactions foster excitement and engagement among customers, enhancing brand loyalty.In May this year, Flydubai unveiled its premium business class seat – the Business Suite – a testament to the airline's dedication to enhancing passenger experiences. This seat, exclusively designed for single-aisle aircraft, ushers in a new era of comfort, privacy, and luxury in Flydubai's Business Class. Collaborating closely with Safran Seats and JPA Design, Flydubai has crafted a unique and unparalleled Business Class seating product that aligns seamlessly with the airline's commitment to excellence.Commenting on the new launch, Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai, had said, “flydubai is committed to exceeding expectations. Our business and product offerings have evolved from the initial no-frills model over the past 14 years to cater to the ever-growing needs of our customers and the markets we operate to. We have come a long way since the introduction of our first Business Class offering in 2013, which has served us well. Today, we are proud to unveil a new premium product which rivals the Business Class experience offered by many airlines on wide-body aircraft. We will continue to invest in innovation to enhance the customer experience across our growing fleet.”Victoria Foy, CEO of Safran Seats, said: “we are very excited to have flydubai as our launch customer for flydubai’s “The Business Suite” VUE seat, it has been an exciting journey working together to bring this product to the market for the first time on a Boeing aircraft. flydubai will operate with an outstanding Business Class seat designed for the best onboard experience on single-aisle longer haul flights". <img src='\584277aa68056b5a839d0509c65c6fa3.png' class='content_image'>Synthesising luxury with the campaignFlydubai's campaign not only embraces the joys of summer travel but also spotlights the allure of its new business class offering. The campaign message revolves around the unparalleled comfort passengers can indulge in while flying business class with Flydubai. This addition underscores the airline's commitment to delivering elevated experiences and extends an invitation for travelers to rediscover luxury in the skies.Through creative marketing endeavours, strategic collaborations, and the introduction of a premium business suite, the airline not only reconnects travelers with their love for exploration but also reinvigorates the industry's prospects.

Huawei opens a new state-of-the-art office in Qatar

Qatar: In line with its expansion plans in Qatar and its commitment to support the country’s digital transformation, ICT ecosystem, and digital economy, Huawei today opened a new state-of-the-art Qatar office in the UDC tower, The Pearl Island, Qatar.The new 4,000 SQM office will house Huawei’s main Qatar operation team and will help meet the future needs of the company’s growing workforce. The move reaffirms Huawei’s long-term commitment to Qatar and is a milestone in the company expansion plan targeted at enhancing its presence, activities, offerings and contributions to the Qatar market to achieve its mandate to play a key role in achieving the country’s digital transformation goals.The new office inauguration was attended by His Excellency Mr. Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and senior representatives from the Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar (IPA Qatar), United Development Company (UDC), Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the State of Qatar and Huawei management team led by Mr. Steven Yi, President, Huawei Middle East and Central Asia.Commenting on Huawei’s new office opening, H.E. Mr. Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai said: “Huawei is considered one of our important partners and is among the top leading companies in the field of information and communication technology. I am pleased to welcome Huawei's new expansion in Qatar. There is no doubt that this will contribute to enhancing digital innovation and creating new digital opportunities in the Qatari market.”Mr. Steven Yi, President, Huawei Middle East and Central Asia, said: “Today’s new office opening is a commitment to our future in Qatar. We are proud of our history in the country and Huawei will continue to support Qatar’s digital transformation through its cutting-edge technology solutions. I look forward to welcoming customers, partners, visitors and Huawei team members to our new office. I am confident that this expansion will drive further recruitment of elite talent who will take the lead in achieving the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030, towards a leading sustainable digital society.”Huawei’s new office will host the company’s business operations, including Carrier Networks, Enterprise, Consumer, Cloud, and Digital Power. In addition, the new office will play a critical role in managing the company’s CSR programs and initiatives in Qatar, such as Huawei’s flagship program, Seeds for the Future, ICT Competition, and ICT Academy. The new office will also host an exhibition center that will function as an executive briefing center, showcasing many of the company’s products, solutions, and advanced technologies in the ICT industry.  With a seafront and Qatar skyline view, Huawei’s new office has broad and open collaborative areas with natural light and beautiful landscapes. Following the curves that were inspired by the ocean waves, spaces were created to hold meetings and demonstrate Huawei’s industry-leading technologies to clients.United Development Company (UDC), the master developer of The Pearl Island and Gewan Island, signed an agreement last year with Huawei to boost the smart city characteristics by designing and integrating innovative solutions at The Pearl Island. Last year, at Milipol Qatar 2022, UDC extended its partnership with Huawei to deploy its smart campus system at the new UDC development at Gewan Island.Huawei has been operating in the Qatari market since 2003 and currently works with both telecom providers – Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar – serving approximately two million people in the country. Huawei is also actively cultivating local ICT talents to contribute to Qatar’s ICT ecosystem. Huawei expanded its STEM and education initiatives last year through its flagship CSR program, ‘Seeds for the Future’, Huawei ICT Competition, and Huawei ICT Academy to further support the country’s core focus on innovation.

HBKU Press joins discourse on national artificial intelligence

Doha: Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press) recently launched a critical title in the world of communications and artificial intelligence (AI) with its new book Qatar Communication Strategies: From Managing a Crisis to Creating a Successful National Brand by Dr. Salim Zakhour and Dr. Nadine Mounzer Karam.HBKU Press officially launched the new title at an event at Qatar National Library on Tuesday May 16th, which saw one of the authors, Dr. Salim Zakhour, facilitate a large-scale public discussion exploring the intersections between national branding, communication strategies, and the increasingly prevalent question of AI with a fully developed digital AI personality addressing the audience.Joining via video, co-author and communications expert Dr. Nadine Karam asked the critical question “how can a nation that has worked on its brand for so long, turn a very unexpected regional crisis into an opportunity?” Dr. Nadine then emphasized that the question is the main focus point of  Qatar Communication Strategies.“In addition to interesting, related topics, we analyzed a major 21st century national/regional crisis and how through proper communication strategies and essentially prevention plans based on economic and political multinational relations, Qatar came out stronger than ever on the international scene, allowing a small country to rebrand and reposition itself on a whole other level,” she added.The discussion concluded with a dynamic Q&A session, with Dr. Zakhour taking questions and comments from the audience, as well as speaking on the intricacies of corporate branding and communications, the growing use of AI and its utilization in competitive political spheres. “The FIFA 2022 World Cup boosted Qatar`s image and position greatly. And this success should be followed with extensive work into creating Qatar`s national brand and promoting it,” he noted, acknowledging the pivotal role communications, branding, and rebranding played in facilitating a global sporting event.“Competition between nations is very high, especially with artificial intelligence technologies in place. Nations that understand how to use AI to create and boost their national brand will have the lead. In this regard, Qatar`s Government Communication Office proactive role is a necessity for the country’s national brand creation and adoption,” he concluded.The launch event saw notable success with over 100 guests in attendance. Audience members were then invited to meet with the author and get their personal copies signed by him. Qatar Communication Strategies: From Managing a Crisis to Creating a Successful National Brand is now available for sale.

Google Cloud opens new cloud region in Doha

Doha: Today, Google Cloud announced the opening of its Doha cloud region at an official launch event attended by ministers from the Qatari Cabinet and executives from leading Qatari businesses, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZ). The new cloud region will meet growing demand for cloud services in Qatar and the Middle East region and support Qatar’s National Vision 2030 that aims to transform the country into a digital economy through innovation and digital transformation. According to research commissioned by Google Cloud and conducted by Access Partnership, the new Doha cloud region is expected to drive increased economic activity and is estimated to contribute a cumulative 18.9 billion USD in higher gross economic output to the economy of Qatar between 2023 and 2030 and support the creation of 25,000 jobs in 2030 alone. This new cloud region is the latest significant investment made by Google Cloud in Qatar, following the recent opening of a country office and virtual center of excellence (CoE) in Msheireb.The series of investments in infrastructure and resources demonstrates Google Cloud’s continued commitment to playing a pivotal role in advancing Qatar’s digital future and technological capabilities. MCIT and the Qatari government have helped enable the growth of cloud across the government through the adoption of cloud policies, which facilitated Google Cloud's market entry. His Excellency Mr. Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said: “The launch of the first Google Cloud region in Qatar fits into our comprehensive vision to achieve the desired goals of Qatar National Vision 2030, including the establishment of a strong digital infrastructure with internationally agreed standards and policies that will lead us all towards a more efficient economy based on digitalization and technology to facilitate quality of life and provide convenient solutions for various sectors. The new cloud region will contribute to giving impetus to economic and productivity growth, and will allow various government and private companies and institutions within Qatar the opportunity to achieve significant efficiency gains by adopting flexible features in dealing with digital technology.”H.E. Ahmad Al Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ) said: “The launch of the new Google Cloud region in Qatar marks a significant milestone in our growing partnership with Google Cloud that started in 2020 with an agreement to establish Google Cloud’s region in Doha. We are proud to provide world-class cloud services from the free zones in Qatar, this is in addition to QFZ’s pivotal role in introducing disruptive technologies and advanced digital infrastructure, creating opportunities for businesses to enhance their capabilities, foster innovation, and advance the technology sector in the State. This will further accelerate Qatar’s digital transformation and the realization of Qatar National Vision 2030 that aims to build a sustainable knowledge-based economy.”QFZ and Google Cloud’s strategic collaboration agreement to enable in-country Google Cloud presence was announced in early 2020. QFZ’s continued support of the launch of the Center of Excellence has helped the growth of the technology ecosystem in Qatar.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways is excited at the opportunity offered by Google setting up its Cloud region in Qatar. This gives us the ability to innovate jointly with Google and leverage their rich Cloud service offerings. We are particularly keen to use AI/ML driven data insights using Google Cloud as a platform for enhancing our world-acclaimed customer service whilst also improving our operational efficiencies. Areas like data driven predictive maintenance will now be much easier with Google Cloud being in Qatar and our data residing here securely.” His Excellency Mr. Nasser Ghanem Al-Khelaifi, Chairman of beIN Media Group, said, “We are delighted to enter this major new partnership with Google Cloud, which will help beIN embrace latest technologies and innovations. As a proud Qatari media group, we are always looking to innovate as a business and find ways to improve the experience of millions of our subscribers worldwide. In partnership with Google Cloud, beIN will help drive the continued digital transformation of the sports, entertainment and media industry, both in Qatar and globally.”Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Financial Center said: “Our partnership with Google Cloud affirms our shared desire to facilitate the growth of local businesses by providing opportunities and solutions that enable them to capitalize on the transformative benefits of technology and digitalisation. Working with Google in this field builds up the support we provide our clients, particularly those in the financial services sector, and takes us steps forward in our mission to support the transformation of Qatar into a digital and fintech hub and the country's sustainable development in line with the national development plan.”Ahmed AlFahad, Executive Director of Technology & Network Operations, Al Jazeera Media Network stated: “We are delighted to be among the group of companies leveraging Google Cloud’s new cloud region in Qatar. The new region will help Al Jazeera positively impact and empower more customers and partners around the world. Our collaboration with Google Cloud has helped us deliver tremendous value added services to news readers around the globe. We are able to capture and analyze how people engage with news in real-time and translate these insights into actions that help us keep the world better informed. We believe that with the cloud region now in Qatar, we are going to be strongly positioned to deliver exceptional news coverage and drive deeper engagement to all the information.”Adaire Fox-Martin, President, Google Cloud Go-to-Market, said: “We are proud to be delivering on the commitment we made in 2020 to the Government of Qatar and the business community to open a cloud region in the country. The economy of Qatar holds tremendous growth potential. The Doha cloud region will be a catalyst for economic development and will create more employment opportunities in the Qatari market as more businesses grow and expand with the power of cloud technologies. We are also humbled by the presence of Qatari Cabinet Ministers and leaders from Qatari businesses at the region launch event today, which reflects the endorsement of the new cloud regions' potential.”The new Doha region is part of Google Cloud’s global network of 37 regions and 112 zones that bring cloud services to over 200 countries and territories worldwide. The new region brings high-performance, low-latency services and products to customers of all sizes, from public sector organizations, to large enterprises, to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups in Qatar and the Middle East. Organizations in the region will benefit from key controls that allow them to maintain the highest security, data residency, and compliance standards, including specific data storage requirements.Today’s news was revealed as part of a keynote by Adaire Fox-Martin, President, Go-to-Market, Google Cloud, at the company’s launch event held at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC). The event was attended by over 1,200 participants from Qatar’s top decision makers, government officials, CIOs, CXOs and IT community.

NBK Automobiles launches the new Mercedes?Benz GLC SUV in Qatar

Doha: Nasser Bin Khaled Automobiles, the general authorised distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Qatar proudly launched the new Mercedes?Benz GLC SUV in Qatar. The vehicle is available now at NBK Automobiles showroom on Salwa Road.The completely newly developed model series impresses with modern design and technology, sporty performance and efficiency as well as comfort and agility. Whether on- or off-road, the GLC is at home on any terrain. The new rear axle steering also makes it even more agile and dynamic. With all its features and equipment, the new GLC defends its top position in the Mercedes?Benz passenger car portfolio: it has been the best-selling vehicle for more than two years.Performance:The new GLC comes in two variants: the GLC 200 4MATIC is equipped with 1,999 CC engine, with a system output of up to 150 kW (204 hp) and a maximum torque of 520 Nm, and the acceleration from 0 to 100 km is 7.8 seconds. The GLC 300 4MATIC comes with 1,999 CC engine, with a system output of up to 190 KW (258 hp) and a maximum torque of 600 Nm, and the acceleration from 0 to 100 km is 6.2 sec.Exterior and DesignThe new GLC is immediately recognisable as a member of the Mercedes?Benz SUV family. Different design and equipment lines lend the vehicle its very own characterThe vehicle is distinguished with its optional panorama sliding sunroof, allowing the passengers to experience an exciting feeling of freedom and enjoy a pleasantly bright ambience in the interior. When viewed from the outside, the generous sliding sunroof likewise makes a unique visual impression, as it lends lightness and exclusivity to the exterior.The new two-section taillights feature a high-quality, three-dimensional full-LED light design. The practical two-section design allows for a wider tailgate as well as a larger load compartment opening. At the same time, the modern, slimmer light design conveys more dynamism even when the vehicle is stationary.The combination of AIRMATIC air suspension and rear axle steering provides noticeably more ride comfort and agility. The air suspension fascinates with dynamics or comfort according to choose, while the rear axle steering enables supremely confident or agile handling and a smaller turning circle, depending on the speed.Aluminium-look running boards with rubber studsThe newly designed and optional aluminium-look running boards reinforce the SUV character of the GLC. They are mounted at the height of the side skirts and facilitate entry. The running boards have a sporty "shaped" design, which means they are narrower in the area of the front doors and become wider towards the rear.The new GLC is attractive from every perspective – but in a side view, the combination of sporty design and SUV details lends it a particularly expressive look. This is largely thanks to the extensive portfolio of large-dimension, externally flush light-alloy wheels ranging in size from 45.7 cm (18 inches) to 50.8 cm (20 inches).The SUV front of the new GLC underscores the vehicle's sportiness with its radiator grille with chrome surround and vertical louvres as well as the directly adjoining headlights that emphasise the width. The centrally positioned Mercedes star is, of course, one of the familiar elements of the striking front end design.Luxury and sporty improved InteriorThe interior of the new GLC SUV sets standards. Be it the central display tilted towards the driver, the multifunction sports steering wheel or high-quality trim elements: high-quality materials ensure luxurious comfort that you can feel - on every journey.The multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather has a flattened bottom section and deeply embossed grip area – excellent prerequisites for a sporty driving style. The high-quality, soft nappa leather is a quality experience in itself. Use the touch control panels to operate the most important vehicle functions without having to take your hands off the steering wheel.The MBUX multimedia system with central display is tilted towards the driver and operated by touch. It is the digital interface between you and the vehicle, through which you control many important functions of the vehicle - intuitively and comfortably.The luggage compartment capacity of the new GLC SUV comes with the EASY-PACK tailgate as standard. It is spacious, functional and equipped to a high standard. The new GLC becomes even more comfortable with the Boot Comfort Package as standard.State of the art TechnologyThe optional head-up display shows you all the essential information directly on the windscreen, so your full attention remains on the road and the traffic. In the new Mercedes-Benz GLC, the head-up display it is now even bigger, precise and comfortable.The central display is tilted towards the driver and operated by touch input. It is the digital interface between you and the vehicle, through which you control many important functions of the vehicle. It is as intuitive and comfortable as possible.Your profile can be used to pre-activate certain personalised settings, such as the colour of the interior lighting or the seat position. KEYLESS-GO puts an end to irritating searches for the vehicle key. Your key will be recognised when you have it on your person while close to or inside your vehicle: all doors can then be opened and locked simply by touching the door handle.GUARD 360° vehicle protectionURBAN GUARD vehicle protection Plus offers all-round monitoring of the vehicle's surroundings. Thanks to the anti-theft alarm system, as well as emergency key deactivation, you will be able to act quickly. On the road, the collision detection notifies you via the app. And the Stolen Vehicle Help service increases the chance of recovering your property if your vehicle is ever stolen.PRE-SAFE® Impulse SideWith the PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side, if the new GLC detects an unavoidable side collision, PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side initiates measures to move the occupants towards the centre of the vehicle. This way, the vehicle will reduce the force exerted in the event of an accident.With its continuously adjustable damping control on each individual wheel, AIRMATIC enables a particularly smooth ride. This will enable you to drive in outstanding comfort and arrive more relaxed at your destination. In addition, the air suspension can be raised by 15 mm if necessary and it automatically adjusts to different vehicle loads.Dual-voltage 12/48-volt on-board electrical systemThe new Mercedes-Benz GLC offers a dual-voltage 12/48-volt electrical system for vehicles powered by an internal-combustion engine. The additional 48-volt energy management as a step on the road to electrification generates efficiency, consumption and comfort benefits.Off-Road drive program and Off-Road CockpitYou can select the Off-Road drive program via DYNAMIC SELECT: traction, brake control and drive behavior are adapted to the driving situation. The off-road light of the headlamps is also activated if your new GLC has DIGITAL LIGHT.At the mere touch of a button, the central display turns into an attractive off-road screen. Off-road-specific displays, settings and functions are vividly presented here and in the driver's display and can thus be experienced visually.Optional SysremsMBUX Augmented Reality Navigation is optional in the new GLC. To enable you to find your way in complex traffic situations, MBUX Augmented Reality Navigation connects the virtual world with the real world. The technology incorporates graphic navigation instructions and traffic information into live images. You can reach your destination quickly, safely and stress-free.The MBUX navigation system can take into account that the GLC is driving in trailer mode when calculating the route. The route is even calculated according to the type of trailer – bicycle carrier, small trailer and large trailer. For example, steep gradients or tight bends on the route are avoided to suit the car/trailer combination.Parking Package with 360° camera: Detects available parking spaces and designated parking spaces as you drive past. After selecting a parking space, you can park in it effortlessly thanks to dynamic visualisation and acoustic feedback – or have the vehicle manoeuvre into the space with assisted parking.Driving Assistance Plus Package: Offers maximum comfort & safety on the road to autonomous driving. You receive Active Stop-and-Go Assist, which takes the strain off you on motorways. Another advantage: PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side can provide additional protection inside collisions caused by other vehicles.Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC: You will be grateful for the convenience of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC in flowing & stop-and-go traffic. It takes the strain off you by automatically adapting your own speed to that of slower-moving vehicles travelling ahead. The desired specified distance can be set at several levels.ENERGIZING Package Plus: This package bundles together a variety of premium equipment with innovative intelligence. Your Mercedes can invigorate and indulge you in targeted ways – for prolonged alertness at the wheel and an extremely pleasant drive. With seven varied comfort programs and attractive extras such as multicontour seats.DIGITAL LIGHT with projection function: The pioneering headlamp technology combines the familiar MULTIBEAM LED with innovative high-resolution lighting technology. Light projections in HD quality are projected directly onto the road surface and provide the driver with information.

QDB, Microsoft Qatar partner to foster innovation, accelerate startups and SMEs

Doha: Entrepreneurs and innovators in Qatar will now have access to a wide range of technologies and tools to propel their success thanks to a new partnership between Qatar Development Bank and Microsoft. The partnership aims to accelerate the digital transformation of startups and SMEs and to foster innovation as part of QDB’s integrated efforts to bolster the local entrepreneurship ecosystem and talent pool as well as Qatar’s position as a regional innovation and technology hub.The partnership will enable SMEs to benefit from emerging technologies, leveraging Microsoft Cloud to improve performance, boost productivity, reduce costs, and develop innovative solutions.The initiative will also provide SMEs with the opportunity to build their digital skills through the Microsoft Learn platform, which equips entrepreneurs, leaders and employees with the necessary skills to leverage cloud technology to accelerate digital transformation and achieve growth in a knowledge-based economy.Startups under Qatar Development Bank’s umbrella will also now have access to Microsoft’s Founders Hub, a platform that brings together people, knowledge, and technology to help founders solve challenges in every stage of their ambitious journey.Microsoft will also offer access to learning tools to enable entrepreneurs and startups to leverage cloud technology such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and the Internet of Things to launch a successful business.Commenting on this partnership, Mr. Abdulrahman Hesham Al Sowaidi, Acting CEO of QDB said: “This partnership provides access to an advanced set of digital platforms, and guarantees the readiness of our innovators and startups to pursue aspirations that fall in line with our goals of developing Qatar's entrepreneurship ecosystem and strengthening the country's position as a center for innovation and technological excellence.”Lana Khalaf, General Manager, Microsoft Qatar, expressed her enthusiasm about the partnership with Qatar Development Bank which aligns with the company’s investments to empower in the startups and SMEs ecosystem in Qatar. She said, "Startups and SMEs play a pivotal role in accelerating Qatar’s digital economy and its position as an innovation hub for investment. Through this initiative, businesses will have access to the latest cloud technologies and digital skills needed to achieve their business goals and contribute to Qatar’s economic growth and development. This partnership supports our efforts to be the preferred and trusted partner for cloud innovation for all sectors of the economy in Qatar."QDB’s partnership with Microsoft is the latest in a series of initiatives to bolster capacity development and build a diversified entrepreneurship ecosystem that drives economic development.

Saudi plans English news channel to rival Al Jazeera

Riyadh: A state-backed media group in Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering the launch of an international English-language news channel, with the aim of expanding the country's global media influence and potentially rivaling Qatar's Al Jazeera. The Saudi Research and Media Group has already contacted media consultancies to study the viability the proposed venture, according to Financial Times. While it is still early days, sources close to the project have suggested that the initiative could be well-funded, with the intention of spreading the word of Saudi Arabia around the world. However, others have suggested that the project will only go ahead if it is found to be financially viable. Saudi Arabia is currently seeking to rivl Dubai as the Gulf region's financial hub and is investing heavily in gigaprojects aimed at diversifying its economy away from petrodollars. The Saudi Research and Media Group already runs 36 titles, which include Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and Asharq News, which has partnered with Bloomberg. It has partnerships with The Independent and operates its Middle East editions. Saudi Arabia currently owns Al Arabiya, an Arabic broadcaster that rivals Al Jazeera Arabic and Sky News Arabia. While concerns have been raised about editorial freedom following the sale of a 30% stake in The Independent to a Saudi businessman in 2017, media analysts suggest that the Saudi government is using a similar strategy to Qatar, which has used Al Jazeera to raise its global profile.

Knight Frank expands Middle East presence with new office in Qatar

Knight Frank Middle East has expanded its presence in the Middle East with the opening of a new office in Doha, Qatar.The new office in the Qatari capital, Doha will provide tailored consultancy advice and transactional services to investors, developers, owners and users of commercial property across key sectors.With the much-anticipated FIFA World Cup 2022 fast approaching this November, this is an extremely exciting time in Qatar’s history and an exciting time for Knight Frank to enter the Qatari market, with recent huge investment into infrastructure developments in the country and renewed confidence in further strong economic growth for the country over the next decade, due to its government’s spending pledge, as part of Qatar’s 2030 vision.Knight Frank’s operations in Qatar will be led by Adam Stewart, Partner – Head of Qatar, who has over 15 years of real estate experience.Having begun his career in the UK, Adam relocated to Qatar in 2014. With a background in valuation and advisory, Adam boasts an expansive client network including government entities, banks, listed companies, private companies and private investors.Speaking on his appointment, Adam commented: “I am delighted to be joining a real estate business with the global breadth and depth of Knight Frank. Knight Frank’s expansion across the Middle East over the last 13 years shows their commitment to the region and I am thrilled to be part of the team.“I look forward to combining my local market knowledge with the global expertise of the Knight Frank business to provide Qatar with unrivalled real estate advisory and transactional services across both the residential and commercial sectors of the market”.Partner and MEA Managing Director James Lewis said “For 13 years Knight Frank has been helping clients across the Middle East through the provision of real estate advisory and transactional services. Our global mindset and local market experts set us apart and Adam’s appointment is going to broaden the repertoire of our business.“We look forward to working with Adam and rolling out our core services, including Valuation & Advisory, Real Estate Consultancy, specialised Consultancy sectors such as Hospitality, Education and Healthcare, as well as International Prime Residential and Private Office transactional expertise to clients in Qatar”.