Dubai in talks with Intel, IHP for microchip factory
The Gulf emirate of Dubai, rapidly blossoming as the region's information technology (IT) hub, is in talks with US computer chip giant Intel and IHP of Germany to build a microchip factory, an official said Wednesday, February 14. "Talks are underway with Intel and IHP for the construction of a microchip factory at Dubai Free Zone-Airport (DFZA)," Sheikh Ahmad bin Said Al-Maktoum, chairman of Dubai's Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters.
"Negotiations for building a factory in the DFZA within three years are at an advanced stage," he said, adding a "decision will be taken towards the end of March." Intel and IHP (Innovations For High Performance Micro-Electronics) signed an agreement with Dubai last week to build a $1.5 billion computer chip factory near Berlin that will be operational from 2003, Sheikh Ahmad said.
The DFZA, one of 11 free zones in the United Arab Emirates, currently has 111 companies operating there, the zone's director Mohammad Al-Zaruni said, adding that talks were underway with Airbus Industry to set itself up in the DFZA. "We have received until now 26 requests to build factories in the DFZA but only one has been accepted, that of Planet Optical Disk of Holland, specialized in the production of compact disks (CD) and digital versatile disks (DVD)," Zaruni said.
According to Zaruni, the Dubai government has invested almost $70 million in the airport free zone since its opening in early 1999. The liberal southern Gulf emirate has rushed headlong into the electronic age, launching a series of multi-billion-dollar projects in a bid to become the region's e-capital. Saudi rules out foreign investment in oil production, telecoms
Saudi Arabia will exclude its oil production, broadcasting, land and air transport, and telecommunications sectors from foreign investment, the official SPA news agency reported Monday, February 12. The Supreme Economic Council made the ruling at a meeting Sunday presided over by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, SPAM said.
Also ruled out of foreign investment were industries manufacturing military and explosive equipment, property ownership in Islam's holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, and tourist activities linked to the annual Muslim pilgrimage, or hajj.
Saudi Arabia has since last year announced a package of legal reforms to encourage foreign investment and diversify sources of revenue. The reforms will allow foreign investors to 100-percent own industrial companies and property and amend the system of local sponsorship for foreigners doing business in Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and producer. — (AFP, Dubai)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)