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Huawei opens new data centre in Riyadh as China’s tech giants cosy up to Saudi Arabia

Facing massive trouble in North America, Europe, Australia, and certain countries in Asia, Chinese tech giants have now turned to West Asian countries, specifically Saudi Arabia.

Huawei, the tech company that has been the worst hit by sanctions from the companies above, has been eyeing the ever-increasing opportunities in Saudi Arabia as the oil-rich country tries to diversify and move away from dependence on a single asset.

Huawei Technologies is expanding its presence in Saudi Arabia and has launched its first public cloud service in West Asia. Huawei has established a data center in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, to offer public cloud services to clients in the region, including the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.

These cloud services will encompass various capabilities, including artificial intelligence applications. Huawei aims to support Chinese companies in entering the Saudi Arabian market and assist Saudi companies in expanding globally through these cloud services. The company plans to foster the growth of 200,000 new developers in Saudi Arabia, collaborate with 1,000 local partners, and engage with 2,000 start-ups in the cloud computing sector over the next five years.

At an event in Riyadh, Huawei introduced its Pangu AI model, specifically trained to support the Arabic language. This technology is expected to catalyze the development of local enterprises.

Huawei’s expansion into Saudi Arabia aligns with the country’s efforts to achieve the digital transformation goals outlined in Saudi Vision 2030, an ambitious plan to reduce reliance on its oil reserves.

Despite facing increased scrutiny and restrictions in Western markets, such as the US and Europe, Huawei is diversifying its revenue streams by venturing into new businesses like cloud computing in countries that don’t have an indigenous IT background and must import most of its tech. h

Huawei has encountered challenges, including being placed on the US Entity List in 2019, which restricted its access to critical technologies, including advanced 5G semiconductors.

Earlier this year, Huawei pledged to invest $400 million over five years to establish a regional cloud service center in Saudi Arabia. With the inauguration of its 30th cloud region in Riyadh, Huawei is leveraging the opportunities presented by Saudi Arabia’s commitment to digital transformation.

In West Asia, Huawei has already established a strong presence, serving over 200 government-related clients, over 30 clients in the financial services sector, and over 150 internet firms as cloud service clients. The company has been building telecommunications networks and implementing 5G connectivity in Saudi Arabia since entering the market in 2002.

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