Saudi Arabia is positioning Hong Kong as a pivotal conduit to propel its Vision 2030 economic plan, aiming to leverage the city’s strategic bridge to mainland China. Leading this initiative is Saudi’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Abdullah Al-Swaha.
Prominent domains of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong encompass fintech, technological entrepreneurship, and strategies to allure venture capital funding. Al-Swaha expressed Saudi Arabia’s keenness to forge partnerships in health sciences, biotechnology, environmental initiatives, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), particularly generative AI, and smart cities.
During an interview with the Post, Al-Swaha highlighted the mutually promising transformations occurring in both Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. These two financial powerhouses present an opportune juncture to establish an innovation bridge that propels both economies toward a future-driven by innovation.
Al-Swaha, who has been serving as the minister since 2017, initiated his tour through China, commencing from Hong Kong. He lauded China’s digital transformation and rapid proliferation of information and communications technology (ICT).
To facilitate ICT advancement, a robust digital infrastructure, including a 5G network, is imperative. Saudi Arabia’s interest in sourcing this from Chinese companies, despite the US-China tensions impacting players like Huawei and ZTE, underscores its pro-partnership and pro-openness stance. Al-Swaha, formerly the CEO of Cisco Saudi Arabia, emphasized the country’s willingness to engage with partners that meet its security and regulatory requisites.
The resounding success of mainland China and Hong Kong in information and communications technology (ICT) transformation stands as a model for Saudi Arabia. The nation aspires to replicate this accomplishment through collaboration, a motive that drives Al-Swaha’s visit.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, John Lee Ka-chiu, acknowledged the priority placed on rekindling relations with Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in general during the current term of the Hong Kong government. This commitment aligns with Hong Kong’s Information and Technology (I&T) Development Blueprint, which underscores the city’s role as a global I&T hub and a connecting bridge between mainland China and the world. This initiative is termed a “value-added super connector.”
As Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong work toward shared progress, their collaboration heralds a future of innovation, connectivity, and dynamic economic growth.