Google launches new cloud region in Saudi Arabia  

Google launches new cloud region in Saudi Arabia  
Google launches new cloud region in Saudi Arabia  

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Saudi businesses are poised to benefit from expanded access to efficient online platforms with the launch of a new Google Cloud region in Dammam.

The tech giant aims to provide advanced and swift cloud services to a diverse clientele in the Kingdom and the Middle East, catering to small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as startups.

This move is expected to contribute significantly to the Kingdom’s economic landscape, with research commissioned by Google Cloud, and conducted by Access Partnership, estimating a potential $109 billion boost to the country’s gross domestic product between 2024 and 2030.

This is also projected to generate 148,600 jobs within the economy by 2030, it said citing the research findings.

Abdullah Al-Swaha, minister of communication and information technology, said: “Google Cloud’s investment is a strategic move, and we are confident that it will bolster the Kingdom’s regional computing hub ambitions, as well as support our digital entrepreneurship drive and the acceleration of AI-based innovation and business models across the public and private sector.”

Google Cloud Google Cloud services reduce the requirement for clients to own or run their physical data centers and servers, as access to cloud computing will help 1.2 million small and medium enterprises achieve their growth objectives, raising productivity by up to 3.5 percent in 2030.

“Saudi SMEs account for 90 percent of businesses and 60 percent of total employment in the Kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 aims for SMEs to contribute 35 percent to the gross domestic product by 2030,” Bader Al-Madi, country manager at Google Cloud, said.

Al-Madi told Arab News: “We’re going to be working actually to evangelize Google technology in the country. This will be on a sectoral level.”

He said the technology will benefit the banking sector, insurance sector, and the fast-emerging fintech industry in the Kingdom. “If you talk about the public sector, we’re talking about smart cities,” Al-Madi said.

Tarek Khalil, Google Cloud director in MENA, told Arab News: “We’ve announced today that we’ve trained so far in the past year 19,000 people in the Kingdom.”

Of the total “5,000 were only trained uncertified in our center of excellence, which we have announced to make available the required resources to drive the digital transformation agendas and journeys for clients and partners and government entities,” Khalil added.

Additionally, SMEs who are just starting can now apply to the “Google for Startups Cloud Program,” which will be launched in the first quarter of 2024.

Over the first two years, eligible firms will have access to product and technical assistance, dedicated mentors, industry experts, and cloud credit of up to $200,000.

Furthermore, the investment in Saudi Arabia is driven by significant local demand from customers and partners, to support and stimulate domestic demand, given the high level of interest.

“Our new cloud region in Saudi Arabia will help both public and private sector organizations make the most of their data, leverage generative AI solutions, and create a culture of innovation underpinned by a modern, sustainable infrastructure with built-in security,” Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, said.

Google Cloud is a network of 39 cloud regions and 118 zones, which provides cloud services to over 200 nations and territories globally, and now includes the new Dammam cloud area.

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