Saudi Arabia to build US$500bn independent special zone

Saudi Arabia to build US$500bn independent special zone”

"It will be IPO-ed in 2018".

"The focus on these sectors will stimulate economic growth and diversification by nurturing worldwide innovation and manufacturing, to drive local industry, job creation and GDP growth in the kingdom", he emphasised. "It's as if you float the city of NY".

But a decision has still not been made, fuelling speculation that it could be delayed beyond 2018 or even ditched, amid growing concerns about the feasibility of an global listing which will require the kingdom to disclose details about the company which have been private until now.

Non-resident foreign investors will be able to invest directly in the parallel market starting from January 1 next year, he said during an investment conference taking place this week in Riyadh. "Actually, when I talked about the valuation, I talk about $2 trillion, it could be more than $2 trillion".

Dubbed NEOM, the mega city will cover 26,500 square kilometers in total, spanning territory within Egypt and Jordan as well.

The daily considered to be the mouthpiece of the Kingdom said, "The surprise announcement is the latest - and most extraordinary - in a slate of privatization programs led by the floating of oil giant Saudi Aramco".

The hope is that it will become a beacon to attract industries in a variety of sectors including biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment.

"There are some small firms I don't believe are capable of surviving in the market in their current condition", Ahmed Alkholifey, governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, told Bloomberg TV in an interview in Riyadh.

He said the name mixed "neo", meaning new, with M, the first letter of the Arabic word for future.

Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states have cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Speaking on the Yemen crisis, Prince Mohammed said the war would continue in order to prevent the Houthi insurgents from turning into another "Hezbollah" on Saudi's southern border. Doha denies the accusations.

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