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Data centres green-lighted for new $500bn Saudi smart city

Riyadh pushes ahead with megaproject north of the Red Sea, east of Egypt across the Strait of Tiran, and south of Israel and Jordan.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

3 Mins

October 07, 2021 | 4:00 AM BST

Saudi Arabia’s mega-project Neom has moved into a new phase of development as data centres are set to begin to be built in the futuristic smart city.

Two national companies, Neom Co., which shares the name with the city project, and FAS Energy, a subsidiary of the FawazAlhokair Group, were rubber-stamped by the General Authority of Competition of Saudi Arabia (GAC) to develop and operate the IT infrastructures.

The news came in the form of a tweet by the GAC, where it said it found no objection to Neom and FAS Energy’s data centre plans.

With an estimated price tag of $500 billion, Neom is a planned city in the Tabuk Province of north-western Saudi Arabia. The project aims to become a global centre for smart city technologies as well as a tourist destination, including business tourism.

Led by CEO Nadhmi A. Al-Nasr, former Executive Vice-President for Administration and Finance at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the city’s construction is yet to begin on a 26,500 km2 area.

The Saudi government announced last July plans to invest as much as $18 billion in the construction of hyperscale data centre facilities across the country.

According to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), the facilities will be developed under the Saudi Vision 2030 plan.

It said local and international private investors had already come forward to help finance its plans to make Saudi Arabia a computing powerhouse and the digital hub for the Middle East, including Gulf Data Hub, Al Moammar Information Systems (MIS), and Saudi FAS Holding Company.

In total, the government is eyeing an investment that could deliver on more than 1.3 GW of capacity by 2030.

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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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