Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia known universally as MBS, is offering blue-chip multinational companies deals including a 50-year tax holiday to relocate to the capital Riyadh, as he seeks to rehabilitate himself as a pro-business modernizer after the disastrous reputational damage of the state-sanctioned murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
The drive to fill some of the 59 skyscrapers of Riyadh’s troubled King Abdullah Business Park with the HQs of prestigious IT and finance companies, has, however been largely unsuccessful.
Companies including Google and Siemens look set to maintain their regional hubs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), despite being targeted under the initiative, code-named Program HQ, according to a report in London’s Financial Times. Program HQ is itself a part of MBS’s ten-year masterplan for weaning the country off oil revenues, Vision2030, which also includes building a vast $500 billion pleasure city to try and rival Dubai as a tourism hub.
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