Riyadh hosts 9th edition of the International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition

Riyadh: The International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition, the largest gathering of entrepreneurs, specialists and those interested in the industry in the Middle East, announced its 9th edition to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.The premier trade show for the coffee and chocolate industry stakeholders will feature over 100 activities. It will be held from December 5 to 9, 2023 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.Among those confirmed to attend include The Saudi Specialty Coffee Association, which will host some of the activities that will be organized during the event. Top local and international companies are also expected to attend.Exhibition highlightsThe 9th exhibition’s schedule of events includes competitions and tournaments, most notably the Saudi Barista Championship, which is accredited within the World Barista Championship. It will also include the Saudi World Brewers Cup, which will be held for the first time in Saudi Arabia with global accreditation.In addition, an awards program is being organized to encourage innovation and the growth of institutions specialized in the field of coffee and chocolate manufacturing. “The Middle East Coffee and Chocolate Awards” will be awarded to the most successful coffee and chocolate establishments in the region, and is aimed at supporting the development of the local economy as well as the growth of non-oil export revenues.The exhibition will also be holding several workshops and discussions on global trends in the coffee and chocolate industry. One of the most important highlights of the exhibition will be “The Middle East Coffee Conference (MECO)”, which is one of the largest conferences dedicated to the coffee industry. It will bring together international speakers and includes major topics such as the future of coffee cultivation. The conference will delve into other relevant topics such as the different types of coffee and advanced techniques in roasting and preparing them, among others.Investment opportunitiesThe International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition will welcome a group of entrepreneurs interested in investing in the field of coffee and chocolate at the local and international levels. The event also seeks to provide a platform for communicating with major participating companies and thousands of interested individuals to learn more about the opportunities in this sector. Several sessions will address investment opportunities in the coffee and chocolate industry and the challenges facing this sector in light of climate change. Others will focus on the latest technological advances being used today in the coffee and chocolate industry.Unique and exclusive benefitsThe exhibition will showcase some of the most prominent products in the industry, including coffee and chocolate machines, equipment and accessories, coffee roasting and chocolate raw materials, franchise opportunities in the fields of coffee and chocolate, printing and packaging equipment factories and coffee and chocolate supplies. A variety of coffee and chocolate merchants, suppliers, and exporters will also participate in the event.Large turnoutLast year, the exhibition witnessed a large turnout of visitors, exceeding 220,000 visitors over five days. More than 400 local and international entities from more than 40 countries participated in the exhibition. The exhibition’s large turnout reflects the prestigious reputation and remarkable distinction it has achieved in recent years, making the exhibition one of the most important trade exhibitions hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.The event is the largest exhibition specializing in coffee and chocolate in the Middle East region. It is recognized by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) as an international exhibition that follows set specifications and standards and is accredited by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).

Spinneys partners with Al-Hokair Group to open second Saudi store in Riyadh

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Following a landmark partnership deal between Spinneys Dubai and The Al-Hokair Group to establish the Spinneys brand in Saudi Arabia, a second Spinneys store is set to open in the country’s prime business and lifestyle destination, the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), Riyadh.The second Spinneys store in Riyadh will span 1087 sqm and is slated for an opening in Q4 2024. In addition to the high quality of services and products that Spinneys’ customers have come to expect, the KAFD location will feature a complete deli offering for both cold and hot items, along with an in-store bakery that will serve freshly baked pastries and a patisserie menu.Set in the heart of the Saudi capital Riyadh, KAFD features 1.6 million square meters of state-of-the-art office space, world-class facilities and iconic luxury residences, designed to transform the way urban communities live, work, and play. A 22-kilometer drive from King Khalid Airport, KAFD is a key driver of Riyadh’s economic ambitions and is the largest LEED certified mixed-use financial district in the world. It is owned and managed by the King Abdullah Financial District Development and Management Company (KAFD DMC).The Al-Hokair Group, founded in Saudi Arabia in 1975, is primarily involved in entertainment centers, hospitality, and retail. Sami Alhokair, CEO of Abdulmohsen Al Hokair Holding Group commented on the partnership with Spinneys, stating, "Thanks to Spinneys' brand power and differentiated offerings, its growth potential in Saudi Arabia is immense. With preparations underway for a second store, we are committed to working with an established name like Spinneys to continue diversifying the sectors within which we operate."Spinneys Dubai CEO Sunil Kumar shared his enthusiasm for the expansion: “Our second Spinneys store in Riyadh is a sign of our commitment to the Kingdom, with plans to open stores in more cities in the coming years. We have ambitions to expand our geographical footprint within the Middle East, and this is one of the first few steps towards that goal”.Commenting on this latest addition to the KAFD retail scene, Gautam Sashittal, CEO of King Abdullah Financial District Development and Management Company (KAFD DMC), said: “Consumer preferences and food purchasing habits have changed with time, and the demand for healthy living has really driven our partnership with Spinneys. We see this with rising consumer spending in the Kingdom, having reached approximately 390 billion SAR in the first quarter of 2023. Our aim with signing on exemplary brands like Spinneys only serves to amplify the world-class experience we hope to offer the district’s residents and visitors.”KAFD has adopted the ‘10-minute city’ concept, which aims to create a walkable urban environment in which all necessary amenities are within 10 minutes of home and work. Today, KAFD’s many mixed-use buildings, combining office and residential, as well as shops, restaurants and entertainment options, are all located within a 10-minute walk of each other.Within this vibrant and holistic environment, the new Spinneys store will offer office-going professionals the option to shop from its deli for their on-the-go meals. The district’s residents will also be able to take advantage of the comprehensive grocery offering with high-quality products sourced from across the world.Currently, within the UAE and Oman, Spinneys is known for its superior offering of fresh produce, made possible by the company’s sourcing strategy, with owned purchasing offices worldwide and direct relationships with farmers and growers. More recently, the group has applied this buying strategy to its broader grocery offering, giving customers an abundance of exclusive products within the food-to-go, frozen, and grocery categories.Spinneys has also successfully partnered with local farmers through initiatives like the Spinneys Farmers’ Club, with the broader goal of assisting with the UAE’s national food security strategy. Similar initiatives can be expected in Saudi Arabia as the group establishes itself within the market.The partnership between The Al-Hokair Group and Spinneys was launched on 2nd March 2022 with the signing of a multi-year agreement. Scoping plans are now underway, and the locations of further stores are expected to be announced in the coming months.

Anthology hosts EdTech conference in Riyadh

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:– Anthology, a leading provider of education solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle, is hosting their annual conference for clients in the Middle East for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.More than 150 instiutional leaders, industy experts and instructors from 56 institutions across the Middle East are expected to attend the the two day conference on 13 – 14 November. The event is hosted by senior executives of Anthology, including Chief Executive Officer Bruce Dahlgren; President of Global Markets Joe Belanardo; and Senior Vice President of EMEA, Oleg Figlin.Anthology Together Middle East will feature keynotes by Anthology leaders and panel discussions on the most important issues facing higher education today, including the ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI).Executives from Anthology will be joined on stage by leaders in their fields from universities across the Middle East.“Saudi Arabia is home to some of the world's leading higher education institutions,” said Anthology Chief Executive Officer Bruce Dahlgren. "We believe that these institutions, with their commitment to academic excellence, are at the forefront of shaping the future. Our choice to host this conference in Riyadh reflects our commitment to our clients in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, and our dedication to building solutions in direct partnership with our clients and the learners they serve.”Product and Report Launches at EventAnthology will launch their latest AI-facilitated feature, Authentic Assessments, at the event. Set for release in December, the feature in Blackboard Learn Ultra utilizes learning objectives and course material to develop prompts aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy that promote critical thinking like analysing, creating, and evaluating. The feature addresses the evolving challenges of academic integrity in the era of artificial intelligence.News at the event also includes the results of a global survey conducted by Anthology on the use and perceptions of AI in higher education. More than 5,000 higher education leaders and current students from countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Brazil, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, participated in the survey.Key findings of the report highlight the positive approval of AI in Saudi Universities:49% of students in Saudi Arabia feel that artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionise education.Students in Saudi Arabia are among the most frequent users of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, with 32% saying they use the tools weekly. Students in Saudi Arabia reported the highest likelihood that their use of generative AI tools will increase significantly in the next six months.  Download report: AI in Higher Ed: Hype, Harm, or Help, Spotlight on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  Anthology Together will conclude with an awards ceremony, recognizing excellence in education. The following institutions will be honoured on Tuesday, 14 November:Saudi Electronic University: Excellence in Inclusion and DiversityKing Faisal University: Excellence in InnovationAl-Qassim University: Excellence in InnovationKing Khalid University: Excellence in Community EngagementAl-Baha University: Excellence in Community Engagement "Rafed"Tabuk University: Excellence in Training and DevelopmentNajran University: Excellence in Training and DevelopmentHa'il University: Excellence in Advancement and TransitionShaqra University: Excellence in Advancement and TransitionBoard Middle East: 2023 Strategic Channel Partner

Qatar Airways expands presence in Saudi with two new gateways

Qatar Airways, the World’s Best Airline, is proud to announce its expansion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the launch of services of two new gateways: AlUla, Tabuk and the reopening of Yanbu. These additions to the airline's rapidly growing network mark a significant milestone in Qatar Airways' commitment to connecting travellers across the globe.Effective 29 October 2023, Qatar Airways will commence operations to AlUla, followed by Yanbu on 06 December 2023, and Tabuk on 14 December 2023. These new routes will offer passengers even more options to explore the rich cultural heritage and natural wonders of Saudi Arabia.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: "We are thrilled to introduce AlUla, Yanbu, and Tabuk as our newest destinations in Saudi Arabia. These cities offer a wealth of cultural, historical, and natural experiences, and we are proud to connect travellers from around the world to these remarkable places."AlUla, known for its breath-taking landscapes and historical treasures, will be serviced with two weekly flights. Travelers can look forward to experiencing this UNESCO World Heritage Site's wonders, including the ancient rock formations and archaeological marvels.Yanbu, a vibrant port city, will be connected with three weekly flights. With its beautiful beaches and diverse marine life, Yanbu is the perfect destination for those seeking sun, sea and adventure.Tabuk, nestled amidst stunning mountains and valleys, will see Qatar Airways operate three weekly flights. Travelers to Tabuk will have the opportunity to explore its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.Qatar Airways now operates to nine cities in Saudi Arabia, operating more than 125 flights weekly. These cities include AlUla, Dammam, Gassim, Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh, Tabuk, Taif, and Yanbu, providing travellers with a comprehensive network to explore the diverse landscapes and cultures of this dynamic country.Passengers in Saudi Arabia traveling from these exciting new gateways will enjoy seamless connectivity to over 160 destinations worldwide, including the China, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States. Qatar Airways continues to be a global leader in connecting travellers to some of the most sought-after destinations across the globe.Qatar Airways' new routes to AlUla, Yanbu, and Tabuk are expected to facilitate business and leisure travel, further strengthening economic ties and cultural exchanges between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The airline is dedicated to providing passengers with the highest level of service and comfort during their journeys.Tickets for flights to AlUla, Yanbu, and Tabuk are now available for booking through the Qatar Airways website, mobile app, and travel agencies.

Deloitte hosts inaugural financial crime symposium in Riyadh, KSA

Riyadh:– Deloitte hosted its first Financial Crime Symposium in Riyadh, KSA, bringing together key stakeholders and representatives from across different sectors within the Anti-Financial Crime ecosystem.This symposium served as a platform for industry experts to actively participate in panel discussions, where they explored the most recent regulatory changes and emerging trends shaping the financial crime landscape. These discussions included topics such as the strategies and regional challenges related to Anti-Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) and fraud, the adaptation of AML/CFT and fraud practices to suit the digital economy, and the advancement of innovation through technology."As highlighted during our Financial Crime Symposium in Riyadh, the pursuit of financial crime compliance is not merely a legal obligation; it is a moral and strategic imperative. We need to embrace technology, stay vigilant to the ever-changing risks in the region, and develop innovative solutions to address them, all while managing the risks of the digital economy. Together, we can ensure a prosperous, secure, and compliant financial landscape that will not only serve the interests of Saudi Arabia but also contribute positively to the global economy," said Muzzi Ebrahim, Partner and Leader of Financial Crime and Data Analytics at Deloitte Middle East.The symposium brought to the forefront the critical role of technology in addressing AML/CFT and Fraud typologies. Regulatory mandates now require the implementation of monitoring systems to detect financial crimes. Successfully deploying these systems involves a customized approach that takes into account the organization’s unique characteristics and risk factors. With SAMA actively promoting open banking initiatives throughout the Kingdom, a wealth of data points becomes accessible, allowing for the creation of robust customer risk profiles. The symposium discussions highlighted the importance of such profiles in identifying instances of financial crime.Rana Shashaa, Partner and Forensic Leader at Deloitte Middle East commented, "In a rapidly evolving regulatory and innovative environment, the Financial Crime Symposium shed light on how leveraging technology, analytics and collaboration optimize detection, prevention, and monitoring processes. This approach not only provides a transparent and efficient platform, but also contributes to supporting the Kingdom’s undeniable growth and emerging position as a global leading economy."

Saudi consumers conscious of cyber risks: Cisco survey

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — Cisco’s latest Broadband Survey has revealed that internet users in Saudi Arabia are conscious of cyber risks, with only 3% of respondents not taking any measure to protect the security of their home connection.The survey of more than 21,000 people in 12 countries, including 2,000 respondents from KSA, looked at how consumers use their broadband connectivity.In Saudi Arabia, 91% of total survey respondents ranked broadband as critical national infrastructure; while 68% of respondents rely on their home Internet to work from home or run a business.Security is a Priority as More Move Online The emergence of hybrid work and the ever-increasing blur between the professional and personal lives of employees brings new risks into the home. Despite most consumers using their broadband for tasks like banking and work, passwords are still the most popular way (52%) for survey respondents in KSA to protect home networks and devices, while only 28% have switched on their router’s firewall.Commenting on the findings of the survey, Salman Faqeeh, Managing Director, Cisco Saudi Arabia, said: “Our survey has confirmed that consumers in Saudi Arabia are increasingly prioritizing cybersecurity when using their broadband service, and this is aligned with the results of our previous study that revealed that 73% of consumers in KSA worry about cybercriminals hacking their devices. Today, with the prevalence of hybrid work models and the evolution and complexity of cyber-attacks, usage of sophisticated means for protection like multi-factor authentication (MFA), is more important than ever.”While speed is still the main priority among those planning to upgrade their broadband in the next year (selected by 40%), security is now a close second, ranked by 38% of consumers as a top priority when choosing their broadband package. The survey has shown that consumers in KSA feel secure while using the cloud, with more than three-quarters (76%) of internet users believing that using the cloud is secure and only 6% stating that they do not feel the cloud is secure.Last month, Cisco announced plans to establish a data centre for cloud-delivered security in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to help customers protect their users, infrastructure, and investments against threat actors. The announcement is part of Cisco’s continued effort to empower organizations locally and in the region with flexible security services and data protection for devices, remote users, and distributed locations.

Savvy Games Group welcomes new chief financial officer

Riyadh:  Savvy Games Group, the games and esports company founded to drive the long-term growth and development of esports and the wider games industry worldwide, announced today the appointment of Saleh Alfadhel as Chief Financial Officer.Saleh Alfadhel has been appointed Savvy’s Chief Financial Officer. Alfadhel brings a wealth of experience in finance and accounting to his new role, having served most recently as the Group Chief Financial Officer at Saudia, the national carrier and one of the largest airlines in the Middle East. He has also served as a member of many listed and close joint stock companies boards and audit committees, including Riyadh Airports, Flyadeal and AXA insurance.In his new role, Alfadhel will oversee Savvy Games Group's financial strategy and operations, sitting on the executive team to drive the company's growth and profitability.Savvy is 100% owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, PIF.Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group said:“We are thrilled to welcome Saleh Alfadhel as our new Chief Financial Officer. With his impressive track record and wealth of experience in finance and strategy, I know he will play a critical role in driving Savvy’s development and growth. As we continue to invest long-term capital to grow the community and the sector, Saleh's expertise will be invaluable to us.”

Mastercard launches second season of ‘Her Voice’ podcast series

Riyadh : As part of its commitment to empowering women and championing female entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and the wider region, Mastercard has announced the launch of the second season of its award-winning podcast series ‘Her Voice’.Building on the success of the first season, ‘Her Voice’ Season Two will profile a diverse range of inspiring Saudi female pioneers, innovators, and business leaders, spotlighting their groundbreaking achievements and amplifying their unique, compelling stories.To further extend the value to SMEs across the Kingdom, Mastercard partnered with SAB to offer an outstanding female entrepreneur the opportunity to be featured in the final episode of the season.The winner will be chosen by Mastercard and SAB as the exclusive issuer for the nomination round, starting from May 17th. In addition to appearing on the podcast, the winner will receive a grant worth USD 30,000 to develop and scale her business. Meanwhile, the top 15 nominees will get to attend an SME masterclass co-hosted by the two partners.“At SAB, we realize the pivotal role of the banking sector in enabling SMEs to take their business to new heights. From facilitating access to financing to providing capacity-building opportunities, we are here to support them every step of the way. We are delighted to join forces with Mastercard to help build the next generation of future female entrepreneurs in the region,” said Yasser Al-Barrak, Chief Executive Officer of Corporate and Institutional Banking SAB.“As a company that works to build an inclusive digital economy, we are passionate about women’s empowerment. By charting the journeys of incredible female pioneers across various fields, ‘Her Voice’ aims to motivate women in Saudi Arabia and beyond to realize their full potential. Our audiences that have come to love the podcast in its first season are in for a treat. We are launching a new video format, introducing an interactive and competitive element, and offering added value to women-led small businesses in the form of an SME grant and masterclass in partnership with SAB,” Maria Medvedeva, Country Business Manager, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Mastercard.Set to premiere on May 21st, this season will switch to a video format and focus on designing a better world for everyone. In line with Mastercard’s efforts to connect people to their passions, each episode will explore a different passion point. The guests will chronicle their journeys in their own voices in conversation with the host, the trailblazing broadcaster Weam Al Dakheel – the first female anchor to present an evening news program on Saudi TV’s Channel 1.Mastercard has pledged to bring 25 million women entrepreneurs worldwide into the digital economy by 2025, connecting them to the digital tools, training, insights and solutions that will empower their business. Mastercard has also partnered with Women Choice to launch the Social Innovation Incubator (SII) For Women’s Employment. The program will help create one million jobs for women across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), supporting inclusive economic growth in the region.

L’azurde asserts its leadership in the gold and jewelry sector

Riyadh: L’azurde Company for Jewelry (“L’azurde”, “the Company”, “the Group”), the leading gold and jewelry designer, manufacturer, distributor, and retailer in the Middle East, has asserted its leadership in this vital sector with positive financial results for the first quarter of 2023.The Company achieved a net profit of SAR 11.6 million following the increase in its operating revenues to SAR 126.1 million. The Company generated an operating profit of SAR 25.1 million asserting its steady growth, and its strong performance that reflects the effectiveness of its transformative initiatives that have contributed to an increase in revenues and profits on the one hand, and a decrease in financial costs on the other hand, putting the Company on the road to remarkable growth and financial stability.In addition to that, the Company’s e-commerce business has generated revenues of SAR 7.9 million. This underscores the success of the Company's endeavors to expand its e-commerce business through further investments in technology, infrastructure, and systems.In KSA, wholesale operating revenues increased by 20.4% year-on-year, the noticeable increase being mainly attributed to the successful sales of L’azurde gold in gold souks. In Egypt, wholesale operating revenues increased by 4.0%, and Retail operating revenues grew by 47% compared to the same period last year.Commenting on that results, Mr. Sélim Chidiac, CEO of L’azurde said: “L’azurde has succeeded in achieving constantly positive results, due to generating new and various revenue streams, whether through digital channels that bring accelerated growth, or through opening of new outlets, launching modern products that offer great value to consumers and provide us with strong profit margins”.He added: “In 2022, the Company provided its clientele with a variety of brands including L’azurde, Tous, and Miss L’ and we work on promoting and innovating our products to adapt and win in times of changing consumer shopping behaviors”. Mr. Chidiac explained that the plans of the Company include expanding its Miss L’ brand of modern jewelry, through new retail selling points and promoting the role of agents, and through e-commerce. In addition, the Company will be developing the international Tous brand in KSA through e-commerce and an innovative product assortment, meeting the requirements of the modern woman.

ROAA Media Ventures joins Saudi Cultural Development Fund and MEFIC Capital

Riyadh: ROAA Media Ventures, a pioneering holding company at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s rapidly evolving media and entertainment industry, has announced an agreement in principle with Saudi Cultural Development Fund and MEFIC Capital to establish a Film Investment Fund for the Kingdom. The partners announced the agreement this morning (17 May 2023) during an exclusive industry breakfast hosted by Saudi Cultural Development Fund at the 76th Edition of the Cannes Film Festival.The $100m Film Investment Fund is the first capital injection initiative to be revealed under Saudi Cultural Development Fund’s Investment Track, part of its recently launched Film Sector Financing Program.The Fund will help stimulate investments in film projects, companies and media infrastructure, support the growth of talent and create new opportunities for job creation and development of the film industry in Saudi Arabia and internationally.Mohammed Bindayel, CEO, Saudi Cultural Development Fund said, “We hope that our partnership with ROAA Media Ventures and MEFIC Capital to establish the first investment fund, marks the beginning of more public-private sector collaborations and a new chapter for the Saudi film sector, where the private sector takes the leading role in investing in its growth.”ROAA Media Ventures will be the Technical Partner of the Fund and was selected by Saudi Cultural Development Fund because of its deep industry expertise and shared vision to create a dynamic media and entertainment industry that drives growth, innovation, and creativity across the entire value chain.Established in 2022, the media venture builder fosters local media projects, develops and nurtures regional talent and forges strategic international alliances and partnerships in alignment with the Kingdom’s cultural transformation and goals of Saudi Vision 2030. Its subsidiaries include some of the region's most exciting and innovative media companies. Among them are Hakawati Entertainment, a leading film and TV production company, and Meridian-Hakawati Pictures, a groundbreaking international partnership with Hollywood's Meridian Pictures.Commenting on the new agreement, Redha Alhaidar, Chairman, ROAA Media Ventures said: “ROAA Media Ventures is honored to partner with Saudi Cultural Development Fund and MEFIC Capital to establish the Film Investment Fund. Through this collaboration we will be able to foster partnerships that support the expansion and diversification of the film industry, creating valuable synergies between international expertise and the rich resources and talent present in the region.“The establishment of this fund signals confidence in the region’s media and entertainment industry and will help attract more private sector investments, greater international collaboration and improve the availability of talent in the region and abroad.“Our appointment as technical partner to the Fund is testament to the experience and capabilities of the ROAA Media Ventures team and we are pleased to be recognized as a positive driving force cultivating and growing the media and entertainment landscape in the region and beyond.ROAA Media Ventures is led by a distinguished senior executive team and board with exceptional track records delivering media and production, management, communication, investment and policy in Saudi Arabia and around the world. Combining this local market expertise with its global experience, perspective, connections and financial resources, the company is helping accelerate the growth of the Saudi media and entertainment industry.As a key partner in the Fund, ROAA Media Ventures will play a pivotal role in facilitating connections between international partners and local opportunities for filming, investment, or co-funding. It will also provide investment evaluation and management related services to the Film Investment Fund’s manager as well as technical and business assistance to the Fund’s portfolio companies, projects and assets.“Cannes is one of the most important and prestigious film festivals in the world and we are thrilled to be here to announce such a great initiative to the international film community. We firmly believe that the power of cinema lies not only in its economic potential but also in its ability to share local cultures and values with the rest of the world, breaking down barriers and building bridges of understanding and respect. With the right financial backing, we can help unleash the full potential of talent from the Middle East to create authentic, high-quality content that can compete on the global stage,” Alhaidar added.

Riyadh to host world class AI and Data Analytics event

Dubai: Deloitte, the world’s leading provider of professional services, announced the return of its global flagship AI and Analytics event, Experience Analytics, to the Middle East. The event will take place on Thursday, May 18th, at The Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, offering a platform to explore emerging technology solutions tailored to address opportunities unique to the Middle East region. Experience Analytics will be attended by over 450 guests including C-suite, senior executives, leaders and experts in Data, Analytics and AI, who will address key issues and challenges, as well as explore strategies, solutions and best practices. Mutasem Dajani, CEO Deloitte Middle East said, “Experience Analytics is the ideal forum to engage in discussions and the exchange of ideas on the best means to leverage emerging technologies that are truly shaping our present and future. Leaders and experts across the public and private sectors will get together in Riyadh, which is the ideal place to host this forum, as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is experiencing today an unrivalled rate of development, and the resulting socioeconomic transformation will be surely accelerated by these emerging technologies.”The agenda will pivot around key themes that help better understand the impact of Data, AI and Analytics on businesses, society and individuals. Through over 30 sessions of Ted-X style talks, panel discussions, live demonstrations and interactive lab activities, this all-day event will allow attendees to engage with thought-leaders, learn from industry-peers and explore the latest insights and trends in data and AI.Data is everywhere, it is all around us. In our homes, our workplace and even our pockets. In fact, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created around the world, every, single, day. The pace of which this data is produced, is only going to accelerate with the further adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and future technological innovation. So, how do we make sense of this data? How do we make it accessible, clean, secure and usable to help drive insights, value, profits and sustainability within organizations? If you are interested in attending Experience Analytics

E3 Customer Experience Conference 2023 opens in Riyadh

Riyadh: The third edition of the E3 Customer Experience Conference 2023, organised by Ejtemaat Saudi Arabia in partnership with the Saudi CX Association, opened today at the Crowne Plaza RDC in Riyadh.The E3 CX Conference is one of the largest platforms discussing customer experience in the region and is organised in strategic partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of KSA and Tamkeen Technologies. It addresses strategies and tools to accelerate customer-centric growth and innovation in the face of capricious developments in the experience economy, where consumers have started interacting with AI and demand fast services.The first day of the conference also saw the launch of the highly anticipated CX Saudi Excellence Programme, led by the Saudi CX Association, which recognised Saudi organisations, including, The National Center for Performance Measurement "Adaa"; Digital Government Authority; Communications, Space and Technology Commission; Ministry of Commerce, KPMG Saudi Arabia, Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha'at); Prince Mohammed Bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC); Flying Bisons; National Center for the Development of the Non-Profit Sector; and Quality of Life Program of KSA, with the ‘Saudi Customer Experience Awards’."The Kingdom lives in the light of its comprehensive development vision, a comprehensive renaissance that extends to all sectors. To keep up with this developmental renaissance, the CX SAUDI (Customer Experience Association) is building a CX professional community in the Kingdom to educate, innovate and exchange insights to develop and implement sustainable and successful Customer Experience programs across the region," said Eng. Abdullah AlGhamedi, Founder & Chairman of Saudi CX Association, in his welcome address.He continued to emphasise on the Association's mission to support the Kingdom's CX agenda saying, "In order to activate the role of the association and achieve its goals, we are here today as a main partner in the E3 CX Conference, and we continue to support and enable events and programs that aim to serve the customer experience field at the local and regional levels."The two-day event gathers key decision-makers, CX experts, technology leaders, and thought leaders to explore the theme "Revolutionising Your Customer Experience". Topics include the influence of AI on customer journeys, brand loyalty, and the $482.18M customer experience management market. They will present actionable strategies and initiatives to drive customer-centric growth and innovation in the evolving experience economy and aligns with Saudi Vision 2030, aimed at economic development and diversification.During an insightful keynote session, Dr. Muhammad Al-Shaibi, CEO of Tamkeen Technologies, expressed Tamkeen Technologies' keenness to participate with the Ministry of Communications And Information Technology (MCIT) and Saudi Customer Experience Association (CXA) in sponsoring this specialised conference and contributing to the development of the customer experience industry.In addition, the Vice President of the Customer Experience Sector of Tamkeen Technologies, Mr. Ali Al-Zubaidi, also confirmed that Tamkeen Technologies is working hard to apply the latest international methodologies in this sector, which prompted us to design "JSOUR TX", which was established with the aim of integrating all known experiences, "such as the Customer Experience (CX), Employee Experience (EX), User Experience (UX)," which has become traditional and cannot achieve the customers' expectations without homogenising and harmonising all experiences together.Dr Fahad Al Twaijry, Director of Ejtemaat KSA, the organiser of the event, said, "It has become evident that designing and delivering quality customer experiences requires KSA business and government organisations next level understanding in terms of technology, trained manpower and seamless integration across the organisations. This can be only achieved by breaking down complex customer engagement processes and aligning the business or government services around the customer. The conference has attracted great feedback and attendance this year, and this reflects that KSA organisations are determined to take customer experience practises to the next level, and this is in line with the nation's and our leaderships objectives."The conference is set to feature over 40+ industry-leading speakers from the region and beyond, including industry pioneer Abdulaziz Alshamsan, CEO of CXKSA, who said, "Customer experience is trending, and CXKSA is as well. We are dedicated to the age of customers with our vision and CX capabilities. Technology can enhance customer experience and aim to create a total experience (TX). We are joining E3 to demonstrate that CXKSA has the talent and will to support the industry towards customer-centricity adoption. We are proud to announce during the event the "Saudi Customer Experience Awards", with its international history now in Saudi Arabia, the country with a vision for the future. We will contribute to enhancing and building the CX community here."Addressing important industry topics, the conference also highlighted how trust and safety is a rapidly growing industry critical to all organisations and individuals who gather in digital space. The Teleperformance SVP, Camilla Hegarty, focused on the theme "What is Trust and Safety and what invest in this now ", where she shared extensive insights on crucial areas of content moderation, payment and transactions, anti-fraud and security and social media monitoring to increase the overall customer experience."Managing customer experience is no longer an option for brands; it has become a necessity. To be recognised as market leaders globally, brands in the region need to use solutions like Lucidya, to provide the best CX possible to their clients. We support and partake in events like E3 to spread awareness on the importance of customer experience management and the effect of AI on customer experience." said Abdullah Asiri, Founder & CEO of Lucidya.Supported by global partners Teleperformance, Lucidya, Qualtrics, Genesys, Fourth Dimension Systems, QuestionPro, New Metrics, Medallia, Emplifi, Survey2Connect, Sprinklr, KPMG, Sitecore, Delight, Zoho, Silah, Freshworks, Alnafitha IT, Horváth, RayaCX, Sandsiv+, Ziwo, CXKsa, Taqniyat, Kanari, Hansa Research, and CXBrand, the E3 Customer Experience Conference 2023 highlights regional and international CX success stories, bringing together over 500+ delegates from the Middle East CX community with recognised CX practitioners and thought leaders from around the world.

MEA’s largest customer experience conference to be held in Riyadh

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia will host the third edition of the E3 Customer Experience Conference 2023, the largest CX gathering in the region, on 16 and 17 May 2023. The Conference will explore solutions, discuss trends in the dawning AI era, and evaluate advanced technologies shaping customer service and digital workflows to deliver positive experiences.The two-day event, held in strategic partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Saudi Arabia and organised by Ejtemaat Saudi Arabia and the Saudi CX Association, aims to expand knowledge and build capabilities for businesses in the customer experience space. It is expected to attract over 500 delegates from the Middle East CX community, as well as recognised CX practitioners and thought leaders from around the world.The Conference will showcase practical strategies, tools, methodologies and initiatives that companies can use to accelerate customer-centric growth and innovation in a rapidly evolving experience economy.Recent research has shown that companies focusing on customer experience now generate 4% to 8% more revenue than their competitors. As approaches to excellent customer experience continue to change and AI slowly takes centre stage, customers are demanding fast and seamless services on the first try, leaving businesses today in the search for solutions and expertise to stay ahead of the curve.In line with these developments, the event will feature the CX Saudi Excellence Programme, led by the Saudi CX Association, which recognises excellence, innovative solutions and leaders in customer experience. The awards ceremony, adjudged by a prestigious panel, will highlight the best in the industry and serve as a platform to recognise their achievements."It is evident that the swift rise and fall of trends pose a true challenge for organisations to create an infallible plan for satisfying and retaining customers. With an overarching mission to establish the Kingdom as a CX excellence benchmark in the region, we at the Saudi CX Association look forward to welcoming the global CX community at the Conference as we work to explore and tap into the genuine potential of customer experience in ensuring the triumph of businesses and the formation of long-standing customer relationships across the Kingdom" remarked Eng. Abdullah AlGhamedi, Founder & Chairman of Saudi CX Association.“As advanced technology continues to shape customer service goals by streamlining digital workflows and improving overall experiences, it is essential to monitor customer feedback as the ultimate measure of success for businesses throughout the Kingdom. The upcoming event will provide an opportunity for CX professionals from different industries to explore solutions and gain insights into emerging trends from CX leaders across the globe,” said Abdulaziz Alosime, General Director of Customer Experience Improvement at Riyadh Municipality and the Vice Chairman of Saudi CX Association.The E3 Customer Experience Conference 2023 is a significant event for businesses and professionals interested in enhancing their customer experience capabilities. With a focus on the latest technologies and global best practices, the Conference is set to provide valuable insights and networking opportunities for attendees.

Karaz Linen Partners With MoEngage

Riyadh: Karaz Linen, Saudi Arabia’s premium bedding and home products brand, has partnered with MoEngage, an insights-led customer engagement platform for engaging and retargeting customers.Founded in 2010, the bed and bath brand currently operates 24 stores across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Post providing an excellent in-store customer experience, Karaz Linen has also shifted its operations online.The brands plan to leverage MoEngage’s capabilities to collect data from its physical stores and online to provide a true omnichannel experience to its customers, which previously they were not able to achieve.“With presence across physical and online, we faced major challenges in collecting data under one place. Using MoEngage, we plan to curate all the data related to a customer to better personalize our offerings. Additionally, MoEngage will also help us in driving the communication”, said Abdulaziz Arjah, e-commerce Manager at Karaz Linen.Karaz Linen also plans to leverage the smart recommendations feature of MoEngage to understand the best time to send and the best channel to utilize for all the communications. Additionally, MoEngage will also assist Karaz Linen in understanding the customer journey flow and provide insights into the interaction that each customer is having, online and offline.Speaking about the partnership, Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success at MoEngage, said, “We are elated to welcome Karaz Linen as part of the MoEngage family. As a brand, Karaz Linen has always kept customers at heart and we are more than happy to support them in their journey of elevating customer experience and satisfaction”.Karaz Linen joins the growing list of 1200+ global companies across 35 countries, such as Azadea Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Landmark Group, Apparel Group, Airtel, Ola, Oyo, and Mashreq, that trust MoEngage to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices and touchpoints.

Burgeoning demand from KSA’s entertainment industry to propel AV technology

Riyad: KSA: From playing host to several international sports’ events, to putting on art exhibitions and live concerts with star-studded global icons, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is facing a rising demand for AV technology to support its burgeoning entertainment industry, which reached an estimated USD 308 million at the end of last year, according to Statista.With plans for Saudi Arabia to invest USD 64 billion in its entertainment industry over the next decade, there is a significant demand for AV technology, professional lighting equipment, and theatre and cinema operators to support the Kingdom’s ambitious entertainment goals.The rising demand will be the focus of this year’s Saudi Light and Sound (SLS) Expo taking place from the 28th – 30th May at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Co-located with the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement (SEA) Expo, SLS Expo will feature exhibitors from the pro-lighting and audio, live events, digital signage, AI, laser technology, and stage technology sector. In addition, the SLS Summit will include presentations and panel discussions from industry experts and leaders on how to advance the entertainment market as it works towards Vision 2030.“The country’s entertainment industry is expected to be worth USD 1.17 billion by the end of 2030. This explosive growth has placed an immense demand on the light and sound industry,” said Sarkis Kahwajian, SLS Expo Director.“Over the last few years, it has become the norm in Saudi Arabia to play host to some of the biggest international sporting events, from WWE to Formula One, in addition to theatrical shows, and concerts with internationally acclaimed artists. And while it has done this successfully and attracted huge tourist numbers from the region and across the world, it has also set the tone for the next decade in the entertainment space. This is where SLS Expo can really be the catalyst and meet the rising demand.”With one of the largest populations in the Middle East and with around half its residents under the age of 30, Saudi Arabia has a growing appetite for entertainment that has already seen plans for hundreds of new cinemas to explode onto the market by the end of the decade, a bevy of theme parks and new cities intent on showcasing entertainment to drive domestic and international tourists.Among the exhibitors at SLS Expo this year are Huda Lighting Trading, Kvant Show Production, Novelty Middle East Pro Lab Trading, TechnoCode and many others

Saudi Arabia launches first self-driving electric vehicle

Riyadh: The Deputy Minister of Transport and Logistics, Dr. Rumaih Al-Rumaih, launched the trial phase of ’Dhahaina’ (’Smart’), a new autonomous vehicle (AV) at the Riyadh Business Front. The launch event was intended to boost awareness and increase acceptance of AV technology in society and is the first step in in a longer process that will see the development of AV legislation, regulations, and supporting systems.The AV initiative is in line with the Ministry's efforts to facilitate and embrace contemporary transportation systems. In a statement during the event, Al-Rumaih highlighted the Ministry’s embrace of innovative transportation techniques, and its plans to utilize advanced technologies in the transportation and logistics industry, as per the objectives set in the National Transport and Logistics Strategy. This strategy aims to provide solutions for smart mobility and anticipate the future development of the market. By launching this trial, the Ministry aims to reduce the number of transport-related accidents and fatalities, improve intracity mobility, and minimize the impact of the transportation sector on the environment.The inauguration occurred at the Riyadh Business Front, owned by the ROSHN Group – which is taking a novel approach to incorporating modern technology into the integrated communities it is building across the Kingdom. ROSHN promotes sustainability by offering pedestrian-friendly streets and eco-friendly modes of transportation for commuting within its communities, while providing connections to a wide range of public and private transportation options that connect its customers to the wider city.Oussama Kabbani, the Group Chief Development Officer at ROSHN Group, expressed his enthusiasm in collaborating with the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services, stating, “The ’Dhahaina’ initiative is a significant leap in the technical development of transportation in the Kingdom. This trial aligns with ROSHN's commitment to humanizing the civil experience and adapting technology to serve people within the high-quality real estate environments of our communities across the Kingdom.”Al-Rumaih, meanwhile, emphasized that these trials align with the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services' ongoing efforts to establish a national regulatory framework for AVs in collaboration with relevant entities. The primary objective is to unify efforts and establish appropriate regulatory frameworks to enable autonomous vehicles while prioritizing user safety, simplifying procedures, and attracting investors.The Ministry of Transport and Logistics is striving to enable various modern technologies in all transport sectors, including land, rail, sea, air, and logistics services, through their initiative to embrace new transportation methods. They aim to develop suitable regulatory frameworks for each technology, conduct phased experiments, empower the private sector, attract investors, and enhance the technical capacity of the workforce by partnering with universities and educational institutions.

Flash Entertainment launches Saudi Arabia headquarters in Riyadh

Flash Entertainment, has officially opened its KSA headquarters in Riyadh with a commitment to contribute to rapid growth across Saudi Arabia’s entertainment industry and support the Kingdom’s Saudization goals.Leveraging a 15-year regional legacy, which includes delivering more than 400 major events in partnerships with global brands, associations and franchises, the strategic opening of Flash’s headquarters in Riyadh demonstrates the company’s alignment with Saudi Vision 2030 goals to foster a diverse economy and establish the Kingdom as a world-class live entertainment and tourism destination.“Saudi Arabia is witnessing major change in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and realising Saudization goals. The entertainment industry is evidently growing at a rapid pace and the goal in opening our KSA headquarters is for Flash Entertainment to become a key contributor to a priority trident of industry development, economy diversification and Saudization goals,” said John Lickrish, CEO, Flash Entertainment.“We will bring our learnings from the past 15 years in delivering major global events to meet market needs, while striving to create development opportunities for Saudi nationals to help shape the Kingdom’s entertainment industry. There is a huge appetite for a broad spectrum of entertainment concepts. It is an honour to be present in the Kingdom and hope we can contribute by leveraging our network of global IP partners and AAA talent.”Since its inception in 2008, Flash Entertainment has worked with global brands including Disney, FIFA, NBA, UFC, and WWE, as well as various international AAA music performers and more to create unmissable experiences. It has produced events of national importance, including the official UAE National Day celebrations, cultural festivals such as Abu Dhabi’s Mother of the Nation festival, and hundreds of community-centric showcases, bringing smiles to more than 10 million faces across the Middle East – from the UAE to KSA, Jordan, Bahrain, and Lebanon.While Flash Entertainment is no stranger to the Saudi market having delivered WWE Live! to Riyadh and Jeddah in 2014 and 2015, the company’s Riyadh HQ will enable an in-market team to broaden a diversified year-round event calendar for domestic, regional, and international audiences.In the past year, Flash has diversified into esports with events such as the award-winning Dota 2 MENA Cup, and organised an emirate-wide fitness initiative, Active Parks, in Abu Dhabi. In 2021, Flash also launched the Regional Artist Spotlight, which provides local musicians with a tailored platform to showcase their talent and enhance their exposure.

MBC Group inaugurates new headquarters in Riyadh

MBC Group, the Middle East region’s largest multimedia conglomerate, inaugurated its sprawling new headquarters complex in the capital city of Riyadh on Sunday.The colorful inaugural ceremony was held in the presence of Acting Minister of Media Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, Minister of Transport and Logistics Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MBC Group Waleed bin Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim, and several prominent figures including media professionals and officials.Addressing the ceremony, Al-Ibrahim expressed his happiness over the comprehensive renaissance and remarkable development that Saudi Arabia is witnessing under the wise leadership. He also highlighted the unlimited support being extended by the leadership for the sectors of culture, creativity, media and entertainment.Al-Ibrahim said: “We are working with determination to make the MBC Group one of the most prominent international media organizations. The coming years will witness global activities that draw their story from the Arab history, inspired by its slogan from the saying of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: ‘Our ambition is the sky.’A video, featuring the MBC Group’s brilliant television career spanning over three decades, was presented on the occasion. The Saudi-owned MBC Group (Middle East Broadcasting Centre) moved its base of operations from Dubai to a new complex in Riyadh.Saudi Arabia introduced its first channel, MBC 1, in London in 1991 and it moved to Dubai’s Media City in 2002. In 2020, MBC Group signed an agreement with Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Farhan under which MBC shift its headquarters to Riyadh as a hub for its 24-hour news channel Al Arabiya and its breaking news channel Al-Hadath.MBC Group is poised to become — in gradual phases spanning over the coming five years — a cornerstone in Riyadh’s new creative zone for art, media and entertainment.

stc and Alibaba invests US$ 238M to establish Alibaba Cloud in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:  stc Group, the leading national digital enabler announced the establishment of “Alibaba Cloud” in Riyadh, KSA, for high-capacity cloud services in partnership with the Chinese technology giant, “Alibaba Group”, eWTP Arabia for Technical Innovation Ltd., the Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI), and the Saudi Information Technology Company (SITE). The establishment of the new company in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, came in response to the significant increase in demand for cloud computing services and solutions in the region. The company will provide advanced cloud computing services to companies operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ensuring that they employ the highest standards of security and protection. The new company’s capital will amount to SAR 894 million, and the new company will benefit from the distinguished position of stc Group in the services and technology solutions sector and will employ the best talent and expertise to support the local capabilities of the Kingdom and enable it to enhance digital development and build an advanced ecosystem capable of meeting the future needs of the Kingdom. Alibaba, one of the best providers of cloud computing services and solutions in the world, will offer a wide range of cloud computing services and solutions, a step that will enable local companies and institutions to digitize their businesses, employ the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, raise work standards and enhance businesses. In line with the Kingdom’s efforts to enhance economic diversification and stimulate investment opportunities in the cloud computing sector, the new company will contribute to providing quality jobs, transferring knowledge and expertise to the Kingdom, and ensuring a safe work environment for entrepreneurs in the region. stc’s investment with Alibaba for cloud computing services, in cloud computing solutions in Riyadh, reflects the company’s future vision and its great role in pushing digital transformation efforts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and its commitment to forging strong partnerships with leading technology companies around the world in line with the Kingdom’s 2030 vision to attract foreign and international investments into the Kingdom, creating a secure environment for entrepreneurs, and enhancing information security by protecting data internally in the Kingdom. The establishment of the company specialized in cloud computing services and solutions in Saudi Arabia will contribute to developing the Kingdom’s digital infrastructure and preparing it to provide the latest digital data storage services and solutions and ensure its protection and security, which will enhance the Kingdom’s ability to provide cloud computing services to global companies.