With Vision 2030, the Kingdom has been in an economic and social transformation process for three years. The following sectors promise particular growth and business potential.
The tourism sector plays a key role in the context of the social and economic opening of the Kingdom. In addition to the numerous sights, some of which are part of the world cultural heritage, hotel complexes are being built as part of numerous major projects. One of the most important projects, which is one of the mega-projects of Vision 2030, is the Red Sea Project, a hotel town along the coast of the Red Sea. Another project is Qiddiya, about 40 km outside of Riyadh. A city with a cultural and sporting entertainment program, amusement parks and a Formula 1 track is to be built there. The target group are Saudi guests who have so far spent 30 billion US dollars per year abroad, mainly in neighboring countries.
The initiated projects also offer market potential for Bavarian (medium-sized) companies. In addition to project planners, wastewater and water experts, the whole construction of the infrastructure also requires hotel designers, etc. There is also a need for training and further education experts for the hotel industry. While some Bavarian companies have already been able to position themselves on the market, the entire rebuilding of this industry, for a large country, is a great growth opportunity that is not often available in this form.
The health sector in Saudi Arabia is growing rapidly and is currently being transformed integrally. It is estimated that the health sector in Saudi Arabia will grow by more than 10 percent per year during the next years. The “National Transformation Plan” also aims to raise quality standards. In addition to the development of preventive concepts through to the establishment of a rehab area, this includes all segments. The focus is on digital applications (e-health) and the connection of remote areas.
Currently in health care, about 70 percent are still state hospitals, and the first privatization measures have been initiated. In the next three years, 25 hospitals and health centers are planned to be built with an estimated tender value of 3.4 billion US dollars. In these ambitious plans, the country relies on foreign expertise, among others, in the fields of equipment, quality management, hospital planning and operation, as well as e-health solutions.
Renewable energy and hydrogen
The topic of renewable energy has a special place in Vision 2030. In addition to the diversification of the manufacturing industry, the diversification of the energy industry also plays an important role. The Kingdom plans to expand its capacity by 9.5 gigawatts by 2023. The focus is on solar and wind energy. Numerous tenders are currently issued in order to be able to implement the objectives promptly. The subject of energy efficiency in buildings is also gaining in importance. Retrofit programs and the establishment of service companies (ESCOs) have created the conditions for using energy-efficient technologies in buildings.
In addition, the country is planning to set up a circular carbon economy. As part of the NEOM project on the Red Sea, they are working on research projects for the development of green hydrogen. The construction of a hydrogen plant was recently announced. The oil company Saudi Aramco is also working on numerous hydrogen projects. The supply of green hydrogen plays an important role in the decarbonization of industry and in the context of the energy transition. The industrial location Bavaria in particular could be a suitable partner. The network of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Abroad (AHK) Saudi, which includes decision-makers in the relevant Saudi institutions, makes it possible to position innovative Bavarian companies in the relevant areas at an early stage and to find potential investors. In addition, the contacts of the Bavarian representative office / AHK offer the opportunity to establish a supply connection at an early stage.
The petrochemical sector is one of the new pillars of the Saudi Arabian economy. The expansion of the petrochemical sector (or downstream sector) has been successfully advanced for several years as part of the Saudi Vision 2030. The sector has grown by approx. 8 percent p.a. since 2010. The current project volume is 23 billion US dollars. Tenders in the amount of more than 21 billion US dollars will be realized by 2021.
For medium-sized companies, it is possible to take part in the field of supply. A number of SMEs are already located in Dammam. In 2017, the Sadara complex, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow and a pioneering project in the petrochemical industry in Saudi Arabia, was finished. Linde is already well-established here as a supplier of gases. Despite the current low oil price and the expected collapse in project volume, products / concepts are still being sought in the area of critical infrastructure and innovative solutions.
The Saudi Arabian economy – in the context of Vision 2030 – prioritizes the development of the private sector and the employment of the very young and growing population. The development of an ecosystem for start-ups is very important and is supported by the state.