Top executives from the top 10 South Korean conglomerates are set to visit Saudi Arabia next month to explore opportunities related to the ambitious Saudi mega-city project, Neom City.
According to sources in the business sector on the 18th, the heads of the top 10 conglomerates, the chairman of Samsung Electronics and the chairman of SK Group, will accompany Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on his Middle East trip next month. It is reported that the schedule was coordinated at the request of the Minister to engage Korean companies in the Neom project.
The Minister believes that the Neom project can be used as a national business lever for Korean companies. Last November, he proposed to Saudi Arabia's Minister of Housing, to regularize the development of a futuristic smart city like Neom as an expanded cooperation platform. He also expressed support for Korean companies' participation in Neom-related projects during the first-ever Neom City exhibition held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul's Dongdaemun-gu District in July.
Neom City is a massive project to create a super city with a total project cost of $500 billion (about 664 trillion won) in the northwestern part of Saudi Arabia, covering an area about 44 times the size of Seoul, roughly 26,500 square kilometers (about 80 billion pyeong). The project is being led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Major domestic companies are moving quickly to win contracts for the Neom City project. The Chairman of Hyundai Motor, Chairman of Doosan, and Chairman of CJ all visited the residence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his visit to Korea in November last year, discussing ways to cooperate on business projects. At the investment forum held during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit, major domestic companies and the Saudi government, institutions, and companies signed a total of 26 investment contracts and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) worth $29 billion (about 40 trillion won) in total project size.
The number of Korean partners in Neom City is gradually increasing. Samsung C&T and Hyundai Engineering & Construction are currently working on the construction of the first section of a 12 km underground tunnel called 'Spine,' the core residential area of the Neom project. HanmiGlobal is participating in the special comprehensive program management office (e-PMO) for The Line. HD Hyundai InfraCore is supplying 30 large excavators weighing 53 tons and 50 large wheel loaders (wheel-type construction machinery) to the Neom City construction site. HD Hyundai Electric is providing power equipment, including high-voltage transformers, high-voltage circuit breakers, and reactors, worth 67.8 billion won in total, for the substation construction for power supply to Neom City.
An official in the business community said, "In the past, Korean construction companies played a role in the Middle East, but the 'second Middle East boom' centered on Neom City is expected to greatly expand into areas such as IT."
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