First Apple Store in Saudi Arabia could open in 2019 thanks to government change of heart

Apple could open its first retail store in Saudi Arabia in 2019, thanks to an agreement with the government expected to be signed in February.

The government has in the past made it next to impossible to open Apple Stores in the country, but is now reported to be actively courting the company …

Saudi regulatory requirements have in the past limited foreign ownership of businesses operating in the country, but a need for non-oil income in the face of falling crude prices has caused a rethink, reports Reuters. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is said to be especially keen to encourage tech businesses.

Apple and Amazon are in licensing discussions with Riyadh on investing in Saudi Arabia, two sources told Reuters, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s push to give the conservative kingdom a high-tech look […]

Luring Apple and Amazon would further Prince Mohammed’s reform plans and raise the companies’ profile in a young and relatively affluent market, which already boasts some of the highest internet and smartphone use in the world.

Reuters cites two unnamed sources.

A licensing agreement for Apple stores with Saudi Arabia’s foreign investment authority SAGIA is expected by February, with an initial retail store targeted for 2019, said two sources familiar with the discussions.

Both Apple and Amazon are said to have been specific targets for inward investment in the country.

In other Apple Store news this month, the company is said to be opening its first store in Samsung’s home market of South Korea this weekend, is nearing completion of a new store in Vienna and has announced a ‘global flagship’ store in Australia – though not without some controversy.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel



Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear