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University of Dubai participates in Chairman’s Vision Business Forum

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University of Dubai participates in Chairman’s Vision Business Forum


4162Under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Obaid bin Suhail Al Maktoum, ‘The Chairman’s Vision Business Forum’ was organized on January 20, 2015, by Development Information at Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. More than 100 business entities and corporations participated in the Forum, moderated

by Hikmat Beaini, Communications Manager at University of Dubai.

The Forum addressed key issues in tourism, real-estate, business and investment sectors in two panel discussions. The first panel, titled ‘Sustainable Development of Real Estate and Hospitability Sectors’, featured three speakers: Mohammed Al

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Rais, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Hill International; Mario Volpi, Managing Director of Ocean View; and Nicholas McDonagh who heads up the Finsbury Middle East operations, representing ACCOR M.E.

The second panel titled,

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‘Dubai, hub of International Business and Leadership’ consisted of three speakers: Bruce Robertson, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover ME; Ippo Vrohidis, Vice-President, Middle East and Africa of 3M Gulf; and Joby Beretta, Partner, Finsbury, Head of Middle East & Africa representing Dentons & Co.

“Participation in ‘The Chairman’s Vision Business Forum’ was important for the University of

Dubai, which has one the best business faculties in the UAE,” Beaini said. He moderated the program focusing on the importance of advancing businesses before and beyond 2020.

Beaini said the University of Dubai has supported various business, legal dosage of cialis in daily use and entrepreneurship forums as part of its educational mission.

“University of Dubai has successfully collaborated with local private and government agencies to transfer knowledge and create

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Dubai and the UAE,” Beaini explained.

Speakers at the Forum focused on subjects related to Building New Hotels as an Investment Project Beyond 2020, and the effects of Dubai Purchasing Power on Real Estate Market. Various strategies to increase and improve tourist facilities and real estate opportunities as well as international and local franchise opportunities were also discussed.

A speech by Dr. Marwan Al Ajmi, COO, Development Information, was delivered on behalf of Development Information, in which he thanked all sponsors for their support. He saluted the UAE National Guards and praised the initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

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Dubai, stating: “I would like to pay my tributes to the guards who are protecting our homeland.”


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Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Honours 10 Outstanding Companies at 1st Annual Business Excellence Awards

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Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Honours 10 Outstanding Companies at 1st Annual Business Excellence Awards


4109Ten companies that have demonstrated the best business practices, the strongest growth, the most innovation, the most outstanding corporate social responsibility and other exceptional qualities were honoured during Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone’s (RAK FTZ’s) first annual Business Excellence Awards programme. An external judging panel from International Performance Excellence (IPE) selected the winners from over 120 entries for RAK FTZ, the investment home of more than 8,000 companies.

“We congratulate all the winners of the RAK FTZ Business Excellence Awards for their innovation, vision, determination and growth,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of RAK FTZ. “They deserve this recognition for the significant contributions they have made not only to the economic development of Ras Al Khaimah, but also to the community in which they do business.”

The awards were presented during a prestigious gala dinner on 15 January at the Rixos Bab Al Bahr hotel. Members of the RAK FTZ Board of Directors and RAK FTZ CEO Peter Fort also attended.

HH Sheikh Ahmad continued: “Honouring our most outstanding business partners for their success not only highlights what makes these companies stand apart from the crowd, but also showcases the many ways in which the free zone has enabled their success: with lower costs, high-quality business set-up support, and top-notch facilities. We look forward to helping even more clients set up and grow successful companies at RAK FTZ in the year ahead of us.”

The winners are as follows:

Burkert-Contromatic AG International Middle East, a fluid control system company, is the winner of the Best New Technology award, highlighting an organisation that has identified new products or services related to technology, and has successfully brought them to market.

J & R Business Consultancy, a business consultancy and training company, is the winner of the Best Small to Medium Size Business Award, recognising an organisation that provides an exceptional product or service.

Biri Industries, a leading manufacturer and supplier of pipes and hoses for home, agriculture, oil and gas, marine and industrial uses, is the Fastest Growing Company. This award honours an organisation that has shown outstanding growth within two to three years from its start-up date.

Eurocap, which manufactures injection-moulded plastic packaging items, specialising in caps and lids for perfume and cosmetic products, is the Best Contributor to Ras Al Khaimah Development. The award recognises the company that has made the most significant contribution to the emirate’s economic and social development.

Milly Pack, a packing and packaging materials manufacturing company, is the winner of the Best Start-Up award, which honours an organisation that has been trading for less than three years and has demonstrated innovative business ideas.

Utico, the largest full-service private utility in the Middle East, won the Best Corporate Social Responsibility award, recognising a company that has demonstrated responsible business practices in favour of the environment and the community.

Special awards were also given to the following companies for their achievements and dedication to RAK FTZ.

Intertrad, which exports and imports tea, spices, food commodities, synthetic rubber, wool and tiles; and RamJet Aviation Support, which has provided high-quality services for the aviation market since its establishment at RAK FTZ in 2007, were recognised with the Pioneer Award, for the companies that have been with the free zone the longest.

TCA International and Zaher Kayyali Trading were recognised with the Referral Champion of the Year Award, for companies that have made the most referrals to the free zone.

The awards programme was supported by one of the most rigorous assessment processes based on the EFQM Excellence Model. An independent committee chose the nominees and winners through a comprehensive analysis of submissions from the competing organisations.

Judges for the awards came from International Performance Excellence (IPE), an independent company that promotes quality in business around the globe. Some of IPE’s other clients include Etihad Airways, the UAE Ministry of Health, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Dubai Police, Abu Dhabi Police, and the Abu Dhabi Education Council, among others.

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TP-LINK upbeat about business prospects in 2015

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TP-LINK upbeat about business prospects in 2015


431TP-LINK Technologies Co Ltd, a leading provider of SOHO and SMB networking products and solutions, is urging its channel partners in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) to prepare for business prospects in 2015 as it’s predicted to be a bumper one.

The company said although there has been uncertainty in some parts of the Middle East, the networking and wireless solutions business has been growing rapidly in the region.

The manufacturer o f Wireless, ADSL, Switches, IP Cameras, Powerline Adapters, Print Servers, Media Converters and Network Adapters warned channel partners against complacency as the outlook on IT spending is steadily improving with more projects coming online.

Denny Liang, General Manager, TP-LINK Middle East, said: “The channel market this year is very active across MEA and the company has been developing its business in UAE, Iraq and KSA. Despite the instability in some countries in the region, we continued with our plan to expand our business in Egypt, South Africa and other African countries. We have so many markets to work in and I have been encouraging our sales team to urge partners to prepare for business in the coming year as most enterprises have plans to roll out ambitious IT projects.”

Liang said: “To develop the market and harness the opportunities that are emerging as the telecoms sector continues to be deregulated requires TP-LINK to have relationships with all its partners.” “The opening up of the telecoms sector especially in Africa is creating opportunities for our networking and wireless products,” he said. “TP-LINK is taking its step forward in developing the channel market in Africa and cultivating both the traditional reseller channel and retail business in GCC countries,” he added.

He said: “The company is again expecting to have the best performance in UAE in 2014 with consumers driving most of the growth and demand.” “As for technology, I believe 4G will spur growth for our solutions in the commercial sector in 2015,” he added.

Liang said: “It is the demand for IT solutions that is creating a bright business outlook for partners across the region. When the economy is performing well, the speed and the service of payments and logistics would follow that trend. As for the channel, we want our partners to be ready to capitalise of the opportunities as spending in the IT industry especially in networking and wireless sector picks up.”

He added: that “Channel stakeholders should be optimistic about 2015, despite political uncertainty in some countries in the Middle East as the need to use technology in business and people’s daily lives continues to grow with or without political upheaval. Political uncertainty is nothing new in this region, and TP-LINK has a full plan to cultivate its business here.”



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TASWEEK’s Q4 2014 report reveals steady UAE property business

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TASWEEK’s Q4 2014 report reveals steady UAE property business


416TASWEEK Real Estate Development and Marketing’s final market intelligence report for 2014 shows that residential activity continues to lead Abu Dhabi’s property market while business in Dubai is enjoying higher consumer confidence. Overall, the sector sustained the growth momentum of the past three quarters and moved towards a strong finish for the year.

Positive microeconomic, regulatory and population factors continue to drive real estate growth across the UAE, according to TASWEEK’s Q4 market findings. The country’s banks remain generally sound and profitable, although TASWEEK cautions that the gross loans/deposit ratio is nearing 100 per cent, thus indicating more limited room for growth. The domestic population also remains on track in which it reached around 9.9 million by the end of 2014 and expected to hit 18.83 million in 2023 to further stretch market demand. TASWEEK affirms a positive correlation between this growth rate and the increase in new UAE real estate projects. Moreover, government measures to dampen speculative activities in real estate and better control credit growth have further streamlined industry.

“There are many factors pointing to the continued growth of real estate in the UAE in 2015 and beyond, including a surging population, a resilient economy with an overall inflation rate of less than 2 per cent, resurgent market confidence, and stricter regulatory controls on the sector. These were correctly predicted by TASWEEK at the start of 2014 as the core drivers of the industry’s resurgence, said Masood Al Awar, CEO, TASWEEK Real Estate Development and Marketing.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s residential segment led the local market upsurge, supported by the reduction of supply as a measure for landlords to protect rent levels, the removal of the rental cap, and the return of government employees residing in other parts of the country to the emirate in compliance with new housing policies. Overall, rent prices rose 5 per cent in the mainland and 3 per cent in freehold areas located at the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

For Q4, the best studio deals were found in the Muroor Road and Al Markaziyah areas at an average annual rate of AED 57,750. Muroor Road offered the best 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom rates at AED 68,250, AED 84,000, AED 126,000 and AED 168,000, respectively. As for villa rentals, the Al Reef gated community had the best buys for 3-, 4-, and 5-bedroom units at corresponding prices of AED 130,000, AED 160,000, and AED 180,000. Al Reef also bested other areas in apartment and villa buy-side deals, posting an average price of AED 1,000 per square foot for apartments and rates of AED 1.5 million, AED 2.1 million, AED 2.5 million and AED 3 million for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-bedroom villas, respectively.

Dubai

The sales market continued to stabilize in Dubai for Q4 2014. The observed slowdown in transactions is indicative of a growing market patience and confidence in the future. On average, sales prices decreased a little bit by 3 per cent compared to Q3. The hotel sector which has been underperforming over the second and the third quarters was expected to rebound during the peak Q4 of year 2014. As for retail, the segment maintained its solid growth even as office transactions remained inconsistent due to high levels of supply. Given how government data shows an average of 100 new commercial licenses issued daily, TASWEEK expects new demand to absorb existing and future supply. Prices will thus remain at the same level for the meantime.

Overall, the Dubai market has leveled off since Q3 2014, with the ongoing announcement of new projects not expected to have an immediate impact on supply given the longer-phased nature of the developments. TASWEEK notes that government measures to better regulate mortgage financing and double RERA transfer fees helped cool down the market in the last quarter. The company adds that more buyers are expressing interest in Dubai’s off-plan property options.

Conclusion

As predicted by TASWEEK at the start of the 2014, the UAE’s real estate market ended strong thanks to a vibrant economy, a surging population, strategic sector-related government measures, and renewed global confidence in the country’s property offerings. Abu Dhabi’s residential segment stood out in Q4 2014 and is expected to lead the local market in 2015. Dubai, on the other hand, is enjoying market stability characterized by a more patient and confident consumer base. Positive Q4 2014 trends in the UAE’s two main property markets bode well for another solid year of real estate business in 2015.

“With preparations for Dubai World Expo 2020 starting to gain steam, we can expect 2015 to be another stellar year for real estate in the UAE despite a number of global challenges. Industry players can refer to TASWEEK’s quarterly analyses to gear up for another period of consolidation and planning for future growth. The world is watching the UAE’s next moves as an invigorated property hub; we are confident that UAE will deliver above and beyond expectations given the market developments of 2014,” concluded Al Awar.


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Burgan Bank wins “International Diamond Star for Quality” Award From Business Initiative Directions

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Burgan Bank wins “International Diamond Star for Quality” Award From Business Initiative Directions


453Burgan Bank announced that is has recently won again and for the second year, the prestigious “International Diamond Star for Quality” award from Business Initiative Directions (BID), a world- wide renowned organization that recognizes companies that implement and promote a strong quality culture. The bank’s recognition demonstrates its commitment to applying the highest quality control measures across its operations.

Burgan Bank’s success was announced during the International Star for Quality Convention, which took place in London, United Kingdom.

Mr. Adrian Gostuski, Group Chief Operations Officer at Burgan Bank, said: “We are proud to have won again the ‘International Diamond Star for Quality’ award from Business Initiative Directions. The award signifies our overall approach of delivering world class processing solutions that meet our customer’s financial demands, and further echoes our leadership in operations, service and quality.”

“This was not the first time that BID recognizes our commitment to quality that is driven by our ‘Excellence’ as a core value. The bank was awarded with the ‘International Platinum Star for Quality’ award last year and earlier in 2008, the bank bagged the ‘International Gold Star for Quality’ award.  Pinning down such awards consecutively - from the gold to the diamond categories -  reflects the bank’s position in adopting international quality standards across its operations,” added Mr. Gostuski.

The awardees were selected by the international committee, which consisted of company leaders from more than 90 countries who meet annually in London, Paris, New York, Frankfurt and Geneva. The selection of the ‘International Star for Quality’ award is assessed across a number of areas, namely: customer satisfaction, innovation, research & development, continuing education, post sales service, quality, ISO 9001, environment recycling, business excellence, TQM implementation, profitability, permanent growth, brand management, leadership, and management.

Burgan Bank’s achievement of the Diamond award this year further builds on its string of accolades, and is a clear indication of its constant perusal of excellence through embracing international quality standards, a step that marks its strong position across the banking sector.


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Air connectivity growth driving GCC travel catering business

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Air connectivity growth driving GCC travel catering business


435The rising volume of air travellers due to enhanced air connectivity to and from the rapidly-expanding Arabian Gulf airports is making the travel catering business platter bigger and prompting expansion of facilities in the region.

To be held from 10th to 12th May, 2015 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibitions Centre (DICEC), the second edition of Travel Catering Expo (TCE) will provide wider business networking for key players in the industry and an opportunity to tap new business leads in the region.

Co-located with the 15th edition of Airport Show, TCE will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group. It is supported by DCAA, Dubai Airports, Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) and Food Point.

Highlighting the importance of aviation as an integral part of the region’s economic growth, Sheikh Ahmed said: “The importance of airports as global travel hubs continues to grow and massive investments being made to meet the rising traffic demand are having a positive economic impact throughout the region.”

He added: “The event will bring international aviation experts and leaders to Dubai for an unparalleled knowledge and expertise sharing experience.”

A latest market study noted: “The trend of serving prepackaged meals in airlines is on rise over the past few years. The airline catering market is expected to rise in coming years on account of improving world economy, rising number of airplane deliveries and growth in airline passengers.”

The GCC accounts for a significant share of the global travel catering market estimated at $15 billion, with an annual growth rate of five per cent. The rising demand for catering for passengers has resulted in catering facilities being transformed, expanded and upgraded across the region.

Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC), the region’s largest caterer, which provides in-flight catering for airlines flying into or out of Dubai International Airport - currently the world’s second busiest for international passengers with a projected throughput of 70 million in 2014 - is enhancing the scope of its business.

It is bracing itself to meet the challenges posed by rapid expansion of air connectivity out of Dubai. The world’s largest inflight caterer has two technologically-advanced catering facilities in Dubai. Last year, the company provided 53 million meals.

Its current expansion plan includes building two more facilities in its premises at the Dubai International Airport. While already catering in excess of 185,000 meals a day, EKFC expects the number to double by 2020. So a three-phased expansion plan has been put in place.

The first phase of the plan is already completed. Of the two new units that are planned, one will be completed by the end of next year and another one by mid-2016. The entire expansion will be completed by the end of 2016 and EKFC will have the capacity of producing in excess of around 330,000 meals per day. The business will also require doubling the current staff strength of 8,000 employees.

Apart from the meals that are prepared and uplifted to the flights in Dubai International Airport, EKFC provides food and beverage services to the majority of airline hospitality lounges and operates several cafeterias in the arrival and departure areas of Terminal 1, 2 and 3.

Dubai’s phenomenal passenger traffic increases are primarily driven by the fast-paced growth of Emirates which currently connects Dubai to more than 142 destinations in 80 countries, and flydubai which now serves more than 65 destinations across 35 countries.

Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibitions Middle East, organizers of TCE, said: “The huge growth in the regional aviation industry has opened the doors for excellent commercial opportunities in the travel catering sector. In line with record regional airport and airline growth, especially across the six GCC states, we expect the regional travel catering business to increase four fold over the next five years as well, and TCE is the perfect platform to tap into these exceptional growth opportunities.”

An enlarged Hosted Buyers programme is one of the main features of the 2015 Expo. More than 30 buyers are expected to benefit from the programme compared with 20 buyers last year, a 50 per cent increase. Authorities already confirmed to attend in 2015 include Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Kuwait Aviation Services, Jordan Aviation Airline and Kenya Airways, amongst others.

The Expo will showcase Travel Catering, Beverage, Food Warming and Refrigeration Equipment, Trolleys, Commercial Catering, Cleaning and Dishwashing Equipment, Food Packaging, Processing, Preparation and Preservation Equipment, Industrial Laundry Equipment Logistics and Transportation Services.




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The best winter holidays from the best in the business

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The best winter holidays from the best in the business


420It’s holiday season and Alpha Holidays has announced unique and exciting winter holiday packages for customers in the UAE and GCC. Valid till March 2015, the packages comprise a host of world-class destinations to choose from.

Whether travellers want to take a city break to the Hungarian capital, Budapest, or travel to Cambodia for the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor, Alpha Holidays has destinations for everyone. Other destinations include London, Paris, Budapest, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka and more.

What’s more, attractions include a city tour of Paris, a romantic getaway to Vienna and travellers can also choose to explore one of Europe’s most popular destinations, Paris. A guided chauffeur driven tour of Kandy and Colombo or an exploration tour of Sri Lanka completes the range.

“At Alpha Holidays, our focus has always been on giving our customers something more than just a holiday. We’ve planned out some amazing winter holidays this season, with packages for all kinds of travellers”, said Samer Assaad, Director at Alpha Holidays. He believes that it is important to deliver a complete experience rather than just helping people get to their desired destinations. “We’ve really stepped it up this winter and our holiday packages are planned out to deliver a seamless holiday experience”, he added.

Recently, Alpha Holidays was announced as the no. 1 seller for Costa Cruises as the brand had held a competition for several tourism agencies around the world. The challenge was to secure bookings for 300 people within 1 month. Alpha Holidays not only won the contest, but also reached the target much before the stipulated period. The team was awarded a prize by the Head of Sales & Marketing Mediterranean New Markets, India, Africa and Middle East.

Alpha Holidays offers exceptional quality of service, professional travel intelligence and innovative customer care for both leisure and corporate travellers, thanks to its team of loyal, passionate and dedicated staff. Alpha Holidays is part of Alpha Tours - the market leaders in the tourism and travel industry across the Gulf, with a wide network of international partners, high service levels and a strong heritage.

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Emaar Middle East launches 3rd commercial tower in Jeddah Gate’s Emaar Square business district

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Emaar Middle East launches 3rd commercial tower in Jeddah Gate’s Emaar Square business district


428Following the sell-out investor response to the first two commercial towers in the newly unveiled Emaar Square commercial precinct in Jeddah Gate, Emaar Middle East has launched the third commercial tower featuring a limited number of premium offices set in five floors.

Directly located around the picturesque Crescent Plaza, Emaar Square in Jeddah Gate has emerged as the first choice for businesses to set up their corporate offices. The elegant design, premium finishes, central location and wide range of amenities make Emaar Square among the most prestigious business addresses in Jeddah today.

Offices in the third tower – the final commercial building as part of Emaar Square are offered for sale at the Jeddah Gate Sales Centre. In all, Emaar Square has 63 offices including the full executive floor on the top level of each tower. There are about 430 parking spaces that add to the convenience of the business owners and visitors.

Similar to the two Emaar Square commercial towers launched earlier, the third commercial tower also has five floors that overlook the Crescent Plaza and its majestic water features. A wide range of retail and restaurant choices are available along the Plaza, which is directly connected to the office tower. Additional retail and F&B are available on the lower level of the building too.

The offices range in size from 250 to 400 sq metres in addition to a full executive floor at the top level spanning an area of over 1,000 to 1,500 sq m. The Executive floor is surrounded by a terrace that can be used for special events by the office owners.

All offices have a spacious lobby with an elegant reception and waiting areas, and dedicated parking spaces for each office with security access. The buildings feature modern telecom connectivity, fibre-optic network for high-speed internet, satellite cables, central air-conditioning, stand-by generators to assure seamless services, sound-proof double-glazed windows, spacious prayer areas with ablution facilities, high-speed elevators, modern waste disposal systems in each floor and 24-hour security.

Emaar Square is a strong addition to the already thriving Jeddah Gate master-planned community. Residents have moved in to the Abraj Al Hilal 1 towers, with the sale of homes in Abraj Al Hilal 2 residential towers currently ongoing.

Jeddah Gate is strategically located in the heart of South Jeddah, near the new public transport centre (Metro-Montalaq). Only five minutes away from the Al Haramain Express Train Station, it is less than an hour away from the Holy City of Makkah and only three hours away from Medina. Emaar Square is also located in close proximity to the headquarters of major banking institutions, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Jeddah Islamic Port and the corniche.

Jeddah Gate holds the unique distinction of being the first integrated community development in Saudi Arabia offering a true work, live and play environment. With a focus on adding value to the customer experience, the overall development offers a wide choice of amenities including private parking, lobbies, health clubs, swimming pools, multipurpose halls and day care centres. For more details: call 920022566 or visit: www.emaarsquare-sa.com

Emaar Middle East has also handed over residences in Al Khobar Lakes, the company’s premier master-planned community in the Eastern Province, in Al Nada Village, the first residential cluster in the development. Another key project is the Emaar Residences at Fairmont Makkah, located on the Haram Plaza offering views of the Holy Kaaba and Haram.


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Mobile Internet business to reach $11 Trillion in Economic Value by 2025

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Mobile Internet business to reach $11 Trillion in Economic Value by 2025


5Saudi Arabia is the Launchpad of the first Google Glass banking app in the region…Mobile technology transforming business across sectors

The world has added more than a billion mobile subscribers in the last 4 years alone, with the total number reaching 3.2 billion, almost half the Earth’s population. More than a billion of these devices are smartphones, bringing the disruptive power of internet connectivity to both professional and social spheres: whether through the 10.5 million jobs supported directly by the mobile ecosystem, or through proliferation of apps that change the way we perceive and interact with the world.

The Saudi mobile phone market is the largest in the Middle East and boasts one of the highest mobile penetrations in the world, with 53 million subscriptions by 2013, and a mobile penetration rate of 181.6 percent - almost 2 mobiles per user.  Leaders in mobile business and decision makers across sectors will convene to discuss the latest trends and opportunities in mobility at the 3rd edition of ArabNet Riyadh, the largest digital gathering in Saudi Arabia, taking place on November 11-13.

The banking sector is one of the many traditional sectors currently being disrupted by today’s fast-paced innovation. Leading banks in the MENA region have created numerous initiatives to keep up with, ranging from mobile apps and m-payments to smart branches and ATMs. “In banking, digital transformation is not only important; it is imperative. Globally, traditional businesses are facing disruption through the proliferation of a digital society, and banking is no different,” says David Horton, CTO at Dubai-based Mashreq Bank. Last April, the Saudi Investment Bank “SAIB”, a leader in the banking sector in GCC, announced the availability of the first Google Glass banking app in the region. Other innovative initiatives include the Smart ATMs launched by Emirates NBD, and the smart branches launch by Bank Audi (Novo) and Bank of Beirut (B-Smart), which include photo/signature recognition, and videoconferencing capabilities with the customer service call center.

The global marketplaces provided by mobile technology can challenge existing market leaders, and one service that is being affected in particular is taxi cabs.  Saudi Arabia has become a highly competitive market for apps that provide private drivers, like UAE-based Careem and California-based Uber, which are both growing rapidly in the Kingdom. Careem received funding from STC ventures to speed their growth in the Saudi Arabian market. Similarly, taxi agencies are being challenged by the advent of new apps like Easy Taxi, which allows users to book and rate cabs directly, and which has recently received funding from Mobily ventures.

The impact of digital and mobile technology on business will be a key topic of discussion at the 3rd edition of ArabNet Riyadh, which will gather more than 800 digital professionals and 80 regional and international speakers for 3 days of high-level panels and talks. For the first time this year, ArabNet Riyadh will include a Design+Code Day – a full day of workshops and networking activities to help build skills in design, coding, and product development. ArabNet will also feature its signature entrepreneur competitions, the Ideathon, the Startup Demo, and the Battle of the Games, which will highlight the most promising and innovative young businesses from Saudi Arabia and beyond.



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Solar Will Force Global Power Companies to Adjust Their Business Model

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Solar Will Force Global Power Companies to Adjust Their Business Model


478Jeremy Leggett, a prominent international solar thought leader, entrepreneur, business leader and author, will provide one of the keynote speeches at the second edition of the solar energy conference “Desert Solar in Saudi Arabia”, 17-18 September in Riyadh. The conference will discuss opportunities for solar energy in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region.

Jeremy is well known for his visionary thoughts on the opportunities for solar and its potentially disruptive impact on coal and gas power plants in Europe and the USA. “Coal plants will become redundant and force the existing power companies in the western world to change their business model. Solar energy deployment is going to change the face of the energy industry by 2020.” This was also the conclusion of the world’s largest private bank UBS in their solar report “Large-scale power stations will be redundant within 10-20 years, with solar technology taking their place as chief power source.”

These statements are in line with the predictions of the second keynote speaker at the conference, Thierry Lepercq, founder and president of France-based Solairedirect, a world leader in the development of large photovoltaic (PV) power plants with low levelized cost of energy (LCOE). “Around 2020 solar energy will become available at US$0,05-US$0,07/kWh by 2020, according to Lepercq. By then, solar PV power would be by far the cheapest energy in the world.”

This kind of vision is also consistent with another keynote speaker at the conference, the international authority in the field of energy storage Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Sterner. “In combination with short-and long-term storage, renewable energy can replace existing power plants as a whole without power failure or malfunctions.”

“Saudi Arabia’s target for an installed solar capacity of 41 GW by 2032 is by far the most ambitious solar target in the world,” says Browning Rockwell, executive director of the Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA), co-organizer of the conference together with Solarplaza. “The kingdom could easily become one of the largest solar markets globally.”

“We are delighted to have Jeremy speak at the conference,” says Edwin Koot, CEO of Solarplaza. “Jeremy is a well-known solar advocate and an expert in his field. His influence has already changed the role solar energy will play in alleviating the world’s energy transition. He will speak about ‘Why solar is now interesting for the energy-advantaged countries in the MENA region’, elaborating on how Saudi Arabia can become a solar energy leader in the region and power the growth of the Saudi Arabian economy.”

“The global solar energy market is growing rapidly and expected to double again in the coming five years. We are no longer talking about a local niche market, but a 90+ Billion dollar global business. As with oil, Saudi Arabia is blessed with the best resources to explore the enormous industrial and business opportunities and become a global leader in solar energy.” The keynote speakers and others will discuss these opportunities at the conference Desert Solar in Saudi Arabia.

“With the cost of solar systems coming down because of economies of scale in production and installation, solar energy applications will become competitive in more and more markets. This development won’t stop. Even the rather conservative International Energy Agency has forecasted that new solar installations until 2035 will represent investments of more than $1 trillion. I would call that an interesting business opportunity,” summarizes Koot, who has more than 20 years experience in solar PV.

Jeremy Leggett is Founder and non-executive Chairman of London-based Solarcentury, a leading international solar energy firm. He started his career as a geologist in the oil industry. Described by the Observer as ‘the UK’s most respected green energy boss,’ Mr Leggett is a former member of the UK government’s renewables advisory board and was instrumental in campaigning for the UK incentive scheme. He is the author of several books on renewable energy and contributor to The Guardian and the Financial Times.




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