Adidas’ latest campaign shot in Saudi Arabia

Time: 17 February, 2020

Adidas Originals decided to shoot its latest “Change is a Team Sport” campaign in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

DUBAI: In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its iconic superstar sneakers, Adidas Originals decided to shoot its latest “Change is a Team Sport” campaign in Saudi Arabia.

Featuring four talented women hailing from the Kingdom, the campaign images were photographed against the striking backdrop of the AlUla heritage site.

It is the first time a major brand has shot a campaign at the UNESCO heritage site. (Supplied)

For the campaign, the athletic giant tapped designer Alaa Balkhy, rapper Aseel Saraj, fashion blogger Jory Al Maiman and skateboarder and actress Sarah Taibah to showcase the sportswear brand’s iconic sneakers.

It is the first time a major brand has shot a campaign at the UNESCO heritage site.

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My Clinic lands two new global recognitions in health care

Time: 05 February, 2020

Eman Serafi, marketing and business development head at My Clinic.

My Clinic, a Saudi health care company, has been recognized once again for its services as a local health care powerhouse in 2019. For the second year in a row, International Finance Magazine awarded My Clinic with two accolades: “Best Clinic for Patient Care and Patient Experience” and “Most Innovative Corporate Wellness Initiative.”

The awards ceremony, which was recently held in Dubai, honored the winners of each category following a thorough evaluation led by an independent panel of certified research experts. The magazine collects data for each category and names the best performing entities who undergo a series of assessments prior to being titled winners in their respective lines of business.

“We have always strived to exceed expectations and provide our patients with the best possible services out there. We are pleased to be present here today and to be acknowledged for the second consecutive year as a top performer in Saudi and the region,” said Fehr Nazer, general manager of My Clinic. “We are proud to be named one of the best Saudi health care companies that abide by the highest global standards. We will also ensure a steady flow of excellent services easily accessible to all patients alike.”

He added: “Our patients stand at the top of our priorities. Since the company’s inception, we have made sure to employ a highly competent medical team that can attend to their needs. Today’s win reaffirms our commitment toward them, taking it a step further with the introduction of a myriad of innovative e-services that are both swift and accurate.”

Eman Serafi, marketing and business development head at My Clinic, said: “My Clinic is one of the very few in the market to have launched state-of-the-art health care programs curated to corporate businesses and their teams. It is within our mandate to provide them with a detailed report following the analysis of their health status. Our team of experts from doctors to consultants then recommend their interactive preventive and educational programs which are in turn carried on by the marketing team. The latter would fine-tune the programs prior to delivering the final material to our employees.”

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Suzuki agent Najeeb Auto opens new branch

Time: 05 February, 2020

Najeeb Abdullatif Al-Essa, chairman of Najeeb Auto, speaks at the event.

Najeeb Auto Motors and Suzuki Motors Corp. recently celebrated the opening of their second and main branch in Riyadh.

The opening ceremony was attended by senior executives from both sides, including Najeeb Abdullatif Al-Essa, chairman of Najeeb Auto, in addition to a large number of people interested in the automotive sector and media representatives.

Al-Essa said the occasion highlights the calculated geographical expansion of the company and confirms the company’s partnership with the Japanese company Suzuki Motors.

“Suzuki enjoys a high and solid reputation in the auto sector all over the world. As for the relationship, it will develop into a long-term strategic partnership that will ensure distinguished customer service at all levels of sales, maintenance and spare parts services,” he said.

“We are optimistic about the Saudi economy, and the growing demand for the auto sector, relying on the Almighty to be among the best and most wanted brands in this market,” Al-Essa added.

“One of the most important priorities that we have put in place is the recruitment and training of Saudi cadres in a manner that supports our national economy in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 … We have already finished preparing the first stage of the showrooms and service centers in Jeddah, and now we are focusing on Riyadh and soon on Dammam.”

Kiyoshi Suzuki, deputy general manager of global marketing at Suzuki Motor Corp., said: “We have no doubt that the great and wide experience enjoyed by the management of Najeeb Auto in the automotive world encouraged us to enter into a strategic partnership with them, and we are confident that the Suzuki brand will be serviced in an advanced and highly professional manner that honors its long history under the umbrella of Najeeb Auto.”

Suzuki added: “We are optimistic about the strength of the Saudi economy, and the volume of demand in the auto sector in particular. We will strive to be among the best and most wanted brands in this market.”

“From our side, we will supply all technical and logistical support in addition to providing the latest models required for the Saudi market.”

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Johnson Controls, IHCC partner to expand factory

Time: 05 February, 2020

Both companies signed an agreement on Feb. 2 in a ceremony that was attended by KAEC CEO Ahmed Linjawi.

HVAC company Johnson Controls (YORK) will expand its factory located in the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) to become one of the largest companies in the Middle East, in partnership with International Hospitals Construction Company (IHCC), which will execute the project.

Both companies signed an agreement on Feb. 2 in a ceremony that was attended by KAEC CEO Ahmed Linjawi.

Linjawi wished both the firms success for the project, describing Johnson Controls and IHCC as “permanent partners” of the KAEC.

Both the companies have previously implemented more than one successful project within the KAEC.

CEO of Johnson Controls Dr. Mohanad Al-Shaikh said the expansion would result in making the factory facility largest in the Middle East. He expressed his trust in IHCC for the execution of the project in accordance with world-class standards.

CEO of IHCC Sultan Sobhi Batterjee said the establishment of the project in KAEC aims at localization. “This is an initiative to establish the largest factory in the Middle East within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that would cater to the demand with Saudi products,” he said.

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STC honors local content partners

Time: 02 February, 2020

STC’S 9th Partners’ Day ceremony was held at the Hotel Fairmont in Riyadh to honor partners in the company’s ‘Rawafed’ program and ‘DARE’ strategy. The event was attended by 175 partners.

STC Group announced nine new awards to honor their partners in the company’s “Rawafed” program and “DARE” strategy, during the 9th Partners’ Day ceremony at the Hotel Fairmont in Riyadh. The event was attended by Prince Mohammed bin Khaled Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of STC Group; Dr. Ghassan bin Abdulrahman Al-Shibil, chairman of Local Content and Governmental Procurement Authority (LCGPA); and Haitham bin Abdul Rahman Al-Ohali, deputy minister of communications and information technology. More than 175 suppliers and partners of the group, and a number of government agencies were present on the occasion.

Al-Shibil lauded the STC Group’s “Rawafed” program, which he said reflects the authority’s goals of developing content, especially through the Local Content Partnerships initiative and the Local Content Coordination Council, which includes the STC Group as a member. He also highlighted the Saudi telecom giant’s initiative to establish innovation centers in cooperation with suppliers, government agencies and research centers, in line with the LCGPA’s goals to localize the industry, transfer knowledge and launch new industries.

“We worked at the LCGPA with our partners at STC Group to harmonize the local content methodology, and to measure the baseline of the telecommunications and information technology sector in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology,” added Al-Shibil.

CEO of STC Group Nasser Al-Nasser said the “Rawafed” program is witnessing remarkable interaction from various STC partners and global suppliers. “Supporting local content is part of the goals set for Vision 2030 and for STC, which plays a vital role in realizing the Kingdom’s vision and goals whether as a digital facilitator or as a local content enhancer,” he added.

Emad Alaoudah, vice president of procurement and support services, said “Rawafed” was launched in 2017 in line with the company’s strategy of promoting localization and innovation in the areas of jobs, manufacturing, and small enterprises.

He said the value of STC purchases from small and medium-sized companies amounted to SR4 billion ($1.07 billion). “The ‘Rawafed’ program succeeded in increasing the percentage of localization of leadership jobs and Saudization … by about 20 percent, which will increase to around 60 percent in the coming years. The company has also been signing agreements with the STC’s top 10 partners,” added Alaoudah.

He said the company sponsored 10 innovative digital projects for Saudi entrepreneurs through the InspireU business incubator, and that the market value of these projects has reached SR300 million.

The “DARE” strategy aims to make STC a world-class digital leader by providing innovative services.

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Dubai’s Jumeirah eyes Saudi mega-projects

Time: 24 January, 2020 

  • NEOM and Red Sea scheme high on group’s ‘address’ list, CEO tells Arab News

DAVOS: Jumeirah, the leading hotels and leisure group in the Middle East, is planning big developments in Saudi Arabia’s “mega-projects,” CEO Jose Silva told Arab News on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

“We must be in those locations, but I want to make sure we get the right ‘address.’ Jumeiah always wants to be among the top three sites on any location. If someone convinces me this is the right address, I will jump into it,” he said.

Silva made clear he was thinking primarily about the two big development on the Kingdom’s west coast — the NEOM metropolis and the Red Sea project further south along the coast. He is believed to be in contact with Saudi Arabian tourism authorities and potential partners in the Kingdom.

Silva also said that Jumeirah was keen to open hotels in Makkah and Madinah, which he called “preferred entry” points in the Kingdom. Work has already begun on two sites.

“It is very important for us to acquire the right assets and the right designers. Unless we control the architect, we will not do it. We have to be involved in the design process,” he said.

A big presence in Saudi Arabia would be part of the strategy of “going global” that Silva has advanced in his first two years a head of the UAE-based hotels, leisure and restaurants business, which is owned by the government
of Dubai.

Last year, Jumeirah bought the Capri Palace on the eponymous Italian island, and is also involved in a major expansion plan in Asia, with six new projects underway in China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Silva is also overseeing a $100 million renovation of the Carlton hotel in London’s Belgravia. Expansion via luxury hotel properties in other European capitals is also being considered.

In Dubai, he has brought in world-class managers to restaurants in the group’s flagship properties in Madinat and Burj Al Arab, with a clutch of “celebrity chefs” in place in restaurants there.

“We want to be the best brand for ‘destination dining’,” he said.

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EXCLUSIVE: Emirati tycoon Khalaf Al-Habtoor plans multimillion-dollar Saudi leisure project

Time: 19 January, 2020

Khalaf Al-Habtoor
  • In an exclusive interview, the Al-Habtoor boss reveals his views on the Kingdom, the UAE economy, Trump and Iran

A word often used to describe Khalaf Al-Habtoor — founder and chairman of Al-Habtoor Group, and one of the Middle East’s most venerable business leaders — is “forthright.”

His tweets, TV broadcasts and public statements all display a quality of candid outspokenness rare in senior business leadership in the Arab world.

In the course of an early morning conversation at his headquarters in Dubai last week, he was forthright on a host of subjects, ranging from ambitious expansion plans in Saudi Arabia to the challenges faced by the UAE economy and the global geopolitical scene.

Al-Habtoor is not a man given to diffidence, though he said he would not be sharing his views with the “global elite” preparing to travel to the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos next week. “We leave that for the really big people. It’s really entertainment rather than anything else,” he joked.

Entertainment and leisure have been the mainstays of the Al-Habtoor business empire, which is as old as the UAE itself and one of the country’s best-known brands, with interests in construction, real estate, motor distribution and education.

The group has hotel operations in Europe and the US, but the chairman is now looking at Saudi Arabia as a major avenue for expansion, with a multimillion-dollar investment project planned for the Kingdom. The opportunities are mind-boggling, he told Arab News.

“I call Saudi Arabia a continent rather than a country. It has history before Moses and Abraham,” he said.

“We’re seeing now on TV something we’ve never seen before — we see green fields, we see skiing, we see sun and desert. You can’t believe this is the Arabian Peninsula,” he added.

“That makes it very attractive to every tourist or investor because they have variety, because you’re not restricted to one area or sector where you want to build something. You have a choice as to what you can do.”

Al-Habtoor has chosen — in partnership with the Saudi tourism authorities — to back a huge leisure and recreation project outside Riyadh.

It will draw on the successful Habtoor City development in his native Dubai but on a much bigger scale: Up to 7 million square meters of hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail and residential facilities, and — imagine it — lakes and beaches. “You’ll ask me now where does the beach come from in Riyadh. We’ll create it,” he said.

The project is still at the planning stage and subject to final approval from all parties.

It will borrow some of the elements from the successful Habtoor City development in Dubai, notably a Saudi version of the spectacular theatrical production La Perle. But it will not be a straightforward copy of the Dubai attraction, nor indeed of the Dubai development strategy.

“In Dubai, we don’t have oil. If we were dependent on oil, we wouldn’t be like this now. Saudi Arabia has a bigger population — 30 million people, 90 percent of them Saudi, who want to enjoy their lives and their history,” he said.

Born:

• Dubai, UAE.

Education:

• Al-Shaab School, Bur Dubai.

Career:

• Founder and chairman, Al-Habtoor Group.

“We in the rest of the Gulf haven’t seen this history, and I personally would like to go and see this history and see Riyadh, the Eastern Province and the Red Sea.”

Al-Habtoor believes that the Kingdom can use the lessons of Dubai’s development, especially in creating a more liberal social and cultural environment in what is generally regarded as a more conservative country.

“The word ‘conservative’ needs some explanation. The people of Saudi and the UAE are from the same background, the same family. We’re related. When they visit us, they see that,” he said.

“The original people of the UAE are conservative by background, too, but they also enjoy going to restaurants, to the movies, to the theater. They want to go everywhere. They want to be free,” he added, while allowing that there are limitations to freedom.

“Freedom doesn’t mean you should abuse your country, your people or the authorities. You have to protect your culture by educating other people.”

On the question of whether alcohol could ever be served in Saudi Arabia as it is in Habtoor’s UAE establishments, he replied:  “To be honest, I can’t comment on that because I don’t know what their plan is for that.

“But everything is changing, everything is possible,” he added.

The Vision 2030 “masterplan” is changing perceptions of the Kingdom, he said. “It really is an excellent strategy. Everything is clear and transparent. There is a huge future for Saudi Arabia as far as investment and visitors and tourists are concerned.”

Al-Habtoor Group has interests in many sectors of the UAE economy, and from this position the chairman is well qualified to give an authoritative opinion on the challenges facing the country as it prepares for the Expo 2020 business exhibition.

The most pressing worry for economic analysts has been the oversupply of residential and hotel developments, and rising prices that some believe are forcing expatriate workers out of the UAE.

“Well, 2018 wasn’t a very good year, and 2019 was also very slow in the beginning, but by the end of the fourth quarter you could see the signs of improvement in the market. You could see it in retail, things were moving. In the land department, people were buying and selling land and real estate,” he said.

In his car-leasing business, in real estate, luxury cars and his education business, he saw signs that the UAE economy was picking up again. “Definitely. I can see improvement,” he said.

But the volume cars business was lagging, reflecting different spending patterns by expats who often now choose to rent a car long term rather than buy. The rising cost of living was also a big factor, he said.

“Everything is becoming more expensive. The only cheap thing in the country is hotel rooms — they’re among the cheapest in the world,” he added.

“There are too many hotel rooms and residential developments, and it’s not recommended that we should build more.”

The UAE government has taken some measures to limit supply of real estate and hotel projects, which Al-Habtoor thinks is a good thing.

But the introduction of VAT was, in his view, a damaging economic mistake that should be rectified immediately.

“I think it should be cancelled, and also all the money taken should be refunded. The idea of VAT is wrong in my country for the time being. Maybe in the future,” he said.

He would prefer to see the cancellation of sales tax and the scrapping of government fees for services such as visas and business licenses, replaced by a standard rate of income tax.

“I’d recommended they stop all the fees and VAT and let them take from income, like Britain, for example,” he said.

In international affairs, his opinion of US President Donald Trump has wavered between condemnation of his policy to ban travel from some Muslim countries, to warm approval of his current policy toward the Middle East.

Now Al-Habtoor seems overwhelmingly positive on Trump and would like to see him re-elected.

“I said that we need a businessman rather than a politician to lead the world. But whatever he said in the past I think it was just to get elected, and a lot of his supporters didn’t know about us, the Arabs,” Al-Habtoor said.

“They don’t know whether we were terrorists or good people. There are a lot of naive people in the US.”

In particular, he is a firm supporter of Trump’s recent policy toward Iran, though he feels that US sanctions could be better focused.

“If Trump wants to make (Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali) Khamenei and his gangs starve to death, he can do that. So I can’t understand why he isn’t doing that,” Al-Habtoor said.

“There are sanctions, but he’s not killing the rich people. They still eat caviar and the best steaks while the poor people are starving.”

On the US killing of Qassem Soleimani, Al-Habtoor is in complete agreement that it was the right thing to do, but hinted that he believed there was Iranian collusion in the attack.

“It should’ve happened a long time ago. He was the biggest criminal on earth. I think maybe the Iranians wanted him gone, too, otherwise how could the Americans have tracked him? But what happened is good, it doesn’t matter who did it,” Al-Habtoor said.

He is adamant that there should be no further escalation in regional tensions, but believes the next big threat will come from Hezbollah, Iran’s ally in Lebanon.

“I think Hezbollah is more powerful than Iran, and I think (Hezbollah leader) Hassan Nasrallah is the biggest threat to peace in the region,” Al-Habtoor said with forthright finality.

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Sanofi KSA marks 5th anniversary of factory in KAEC

Time: 19 January, 2020

The ceremony, which was held at the factory facility, was attended by members of Sanofi management, representing the parent company, in addition to Dr. Ahmed Serag, general manager of Sanofi Saudi Arabia.

Health care company Sanofi Saudi Arabia recently hosted a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of launching its pharmaceutical production plant in the Industrial Valley of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Jeddah. The ceremony, which was held at the factory facility, was attended by members of Sanofi management, representing the parent company, in addition to Dr. Ahmed Serag, general manager of Sanofi Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Serag said: “Since the factory was launched five years ago where we started to produce medicines locally, Sanofi factory will always be remembered as a success story that the company is proud of. The ambition and determination of Sanofi team steered the company to create a brilliant brand that loomed in the sky of pharmaceutical manufacturing and became a leader in the provision of reliable treatment solutions at the domestic level.

“During the five years since the factory was set up, the work team was laser-focused on achieving excellence in services through a broad understanding of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 that placed among its aims the promotion of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the Kingdom. The presence of the factory in KAEC is of particular importance, as it not only targets the Saudi market, but the entire Middle East region.”

Recently, Sanofi obtained an authorization from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority to manufacture the first drug that exclusively bears Sanofi’s name and trademark, a drug that is classified under the category of antibiotics and is used in the treatment of different groups of bacterial infections.

The company aims to increase the number of Saudis within the total workforce in the factory, providing Saudi youth an opportunity to qualify for a scientific career. The factory covers a total area of ​​35,000 square meters and was designed to locally produce up to 20 million packs of high-quality medicines that meet the needs of the regional community. The factory’s products cover the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pain, tumors, cholesterol, and nervous system management drugs, as well as anticoagulants, antibiotics, antihistamines and antacids.

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Kärcher brings mobile cleaning center to KSA for Dakar 2020

Time: 15 January, 2020

The cleaning truck was made available to all teams during the rally for cleaning dust and dirt from the vehicles with high pressure washers to ensure that the vehicles were maintained well throughout the race.

Kärcher, a German provider of cleaning solutions, has joined the world’s biggest rally taking place in Saudi Arabia as its technical cleaning partner for the ninth consecutive year.

This is the first time the Dakar Rally is being hosted by Saudi Arabia and Kärcher is here to support the rally drivers to combat the dusty route between Jeddah and Qiddiya with its mobile cleaning center.

The cleaning truck was made available to all teams during the rally for cleaning dust and dirt from the vehicles with high pressure washers to ensure that the vehicles were maintained well throughout the race.

Since the last edition of the Dakar Rally, Kärcher has set store by the use of a mobile cleaning station — a lorry constructed specifically for this purpose, which is extensively equipped with cleaning equipment and collects the dirty water. Modern pressure washers can save up to 80 percent of the fresh water needed in comparison with manual washing with a water hose, and are therefore an environment-friendly alternative that achieves better results in less time. The washing service was made available to participants in six bivouacs and will also be present at the finishing line. In addition, Kärcher is also once again a sponsor of Team X-raid.

Kärcher offers a wide range of innovative cleaning solutions around the world. The family-owned business has over 13,000 employees in 70 countries and more than 120 companies.

As part of its cultural sponsorship program, Kärcher has cleaned and restored over 140 monuments worldwide since 1980.

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Al-Othaim provides funding worth SR3.7m to support kidney patients

Time: 13 January, 2020

The contract was signed at the residence of Chairman Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Othaim in Riyadh.

Abdul Mohsen bin Abdullah Al-Othaim provided funding worth SR3.7 million ($986,482) for the purchase of advanced medical devices and equipment at the kidney patients’ unit at King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Buraidah.

The equipment will be used for carrying out lithotripsy, a medical procedure by which a kidney stone or other calculus is broken into small particles that can be passed out of the body.

The charitable endowment has been made under the Abdul Mohsen Al-Othaim Charity, the contract of which was signed at the residence of Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Othaim, chairman of the board of Al-Othaim Holding Company in Riyadh.

Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al-Othaim, member of the board of directors and CEO of Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets Company, represented Al-Othaim while the hospital was represented by Dr. Turki bin Abdullah Al-Muqbel, general manager. Also present was Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Al-Ras, CEO of Attia Medical Equipment Company.

Chairman Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Othaim said the endowment is in line with the strategy of Al-Othaim companies to contribute to social responsibility programs, charitable work and community service, and that the endowment will contribute to providing a distinguished medical service for kidney patients at the hospital.

“The endowment is in line with the unlimited support from our wise government toward social responsibility programs in partnership with all sectors, to ensure that necessary support reaches those who deserve it, in light of the generous and continuous care of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Al-Othaim companies have been involved in a number of charity campaigns, including the “No Hajj Without Vaccination Campaign,” in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, in addition to an environment campaign with the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization, and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

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