How Saudi Aramco, Sabic and Other Companies Became Global Brands

Published March 27th, 2018 - 09:23 GMT
Saudi Arabia has taken major steps to achieve the primary goal of economic diversification. (Shutterstock)
Saudi Arabia has taken major steps to achieve the primary goal of economic diversification. (Shutterstock)

The main aim of Saudi Vision 2030, an ambitious plan unveiled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is to diversify the economy of Saudi Arabia and to do away with the Kingdom’s reliance on oil income.

Since the beginning of the program, the government has taken major steps to achieve the primary goal of economic diversification. Steps are being taken to develop other sectors like health, tourism, entertainment and sports.

Many Saudi companies are globally known for their quality and high standards. They are undoubtedly major global brands. Following is some information on those established brands:

Saudi Aramco

A Saudi-owned petroleum and natural gas company and the second biggest in the world, previously known as the Arabian-American Oil Company until a royal decree changed its name in 1988.

Aramco was founded in 1933 as California-Arabian Standard Oil Company (CASOC) after an agreement between the Saudi government and Standard Oil of California (SoCal) for the latter to explore for oil in the Kingdom.

In 1950, Aramco began to share 50 percent of its profits with Saudi Arabia, till the Saudi government took hold of it in 1980, acquiring full control of the company and its stocks.

The company operates more than a hundred oil and gas fields, including the biggest onshore and offshore fields in the world, Ghawar and Safaniya. Its headquarters are situated in Dhahran in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province but it operates in several cities such as Jeddah, Yanbu and Rabigh.

On March 24, 2018, Aramco signed an agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for sustainable development in the energy sector during the crown prince’s ongoing visit to the US.

SABIC

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. is a Saudi chemical manufacturing company. It is considered one of the largest chemical-producing companies worldwide, which deals in petrochemicals, agri-nutrients, metals and polymers. It operates in more than 50 countries and has a workforce of 35,000 employees globally.

SABIC was founded in 1976 by a royal decree to turn oil products into chemicals, fertilizers and polymers of use.

In 2002, SABIC Europe began its operations after acquiring a petrochemicals Dutch company called DSM.

On March 24, 2018, SABIC signed an agreement with MIT in Boston on pyrolysis research in natural gas during the crown prince’s US visit.

Maaden

It is the largest mining company in Saudi Arabia specializing in base metal and mineral resources. Formed by a royal decree in 1997, it has led to the development of the mineral sector and facilitation of railways and ports through which the company could export its goods to the market.

Maaden became a full-fledged Saudi company until 2008 when it sold 50 percent of its shares on the Saudi Stock Exchange otherwise known as Tadawul.

With its headquarters based in Riyadh, it has a number of subsidiaries in gold, aluminum, phosphate, industrial minerals, infrastructure, and magnesite, zinc and copper projects operating in other Saudi cities such as Jeddah, Madinah and Ras Al-Khair, an industrial city on the eastern coast.

SAMI

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) is a Saudi-owned military industries company based in Riyadh and founded in May 2017 to supply military services and products and diminish Saudi Arabia’s dependence on foreign military products.

SAMI aims to contribute to the Saudi economy through the production of military products and raising employment rates.

SAMI is a supporting component of Vision 2030, aiming to localize the military industry and decrease foreign procurement by developing diverse technologies and products. It focuses on manufacturing and repairing aircraft as well as unmanned and military vehicles, ammunition for weapons and missiles, cyber systems and radars to battle electronic and cyber warfare.

General Entertainment Authority

A by-product of Vision 2030, the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) was formed through a royal decree by King Salman on May 7, 2016.

The inception of the GEA aims to build and expand the country’s entertainment sector.

It also contributes to the local economy by bringing foreign investors into the country, supports small- and medium-sized enterprises and creates work opportunities on a wider scale in the entertainment sector.

One of its notable accomplishments so far was the introduction of the global entertainment convention Comic Con, which took place for the first time in the Kingdom in February 2017.

It has since brought in numerous artists, Hollywood stars and international musicians in a wave that has altered the entertainment scene in the region.

General Sports Authority

Formerly known as the General Presidency of Youth Welfare and founded by late King Faisal’s royal decree in 1974, the General Sports Authority (GSA) was restructured in 2016 with a new vision that administers society’s participation in more physical activities, developing the sports industry and increasing facilities. It has also been including women in its development plans, appointing Princess Reema bint Bandar as vice president of women’s affairs in 2016 and introducing physical education classes to girls public school curriculum.

In its efforts to combine sports with entertainment, the GSA signed an agreement with TBS to bring the Japanese Takeshi’s Castle to the Kingdom by the end of 2018, as well as an agreement with WWE to instigate wrestling competitions in Saudi Arabia for the next 10 years.

By Aseel Bashraheel


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