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Saudi Arabia Eyes 7,000 Global Firms as Dubai Rivalry Heats Up

  • Pepsico, Baker Hughes among firms licensed under new program
  • Kingdom competing for talent, business with Mideast hub Dubai
Skyscrapers in the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Skyscrapers in the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Photographer: Maya Anwar/Bloomberg
Updated on

Saudi officials are talking to 7,000 companies around the world about opening regional headquarters in the kingdom, offering tax breaks and other incentives to turn their desert capital into a global business hub that rivals Dubai.

More than 40 multinational companies including Baker Hughes Co., KPMG and Schlumberger received licenses on Wednesday as part of the new program to facilitate business. The firms will get exemptions from work visa limits, eased regulations, and help with the relocation of staff, officials said. Other companies that have signed up include Deloitte, Pepsico, Unilever, Siemens Mobility and Philips, according to a presentation at an investment conference in Riyadh.