Google partners with oil giant Saudi Aramco to gain access to Saudi Arabia’s $ 10 billion cloud market
Google will open a “cloud region” where it can deliver its cloud services in Saudi Arabia through a joint venture with state oil company Saudi Aramco, as Covid-19 is helping to significantly accelerate digital adoption in the Gulf.
«This collaboration helps meet the rapidly growing demand for cloud computing services and services. in Saudi Arabia, which is projected to reach market potential within 10 billion dollars», – Aramco said in a statement.
Saudi Aramco said the agreement with Google will provide «high-performance, low-latency cloud services for enterprise customers in Saudi Arabia», since the improvement relations in the Persian region opens up political space for American tech companies to enter the kingdom.
Google began negotiations with Saudi Arabia on this project in 2018, but negotiations reportedly stalled after the murder of a journalist. Jamal Khashoggi (Jamal Khashoggi) by government intelligence agents that same year. Google Cloud is now moving forward with plans to build and operate a new cloud sector in the kingdom. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The technology deal also shows that Silicon Valley’s elites are comfortable doing business with the regime, despite some concerns about Saudi Arabia’s global role as an exporter of fossil fuels and a poor human rights record..
Google said its investment in Saudi Arabia will enable businesses to grow and expand their offerings in the kingdom. The deal also fosters the cloud computing business, which generates more than $ 10 billion in annual revenue for parent company Alphabet Inc..
Customers named regional e-commerce company Noon and social networking platform Snap.
«To ensure a positive user experience, it is important to bring our infrastructure as close as possible to our customers», – said in a statement Karla D’Adamo (Karl D’Adamo, Senior Director of Infrastructure Snap Inc.
«With the new Google Cloud Cluster in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we will be able to securely deliver services to our closest customers at faster speeds and with greater flexibility.», – said Hisham Zarqa (Hisham Zarka), CTO and Managing Director of Noon.
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Google competes with Microsoft and Amazon in the growing global cloud computing market. Google currently operates in 24 regions with 73 Availability Zones, less than its main competitors Microsoft Azure and market leader Amazon Web Services..
Amazon Web Services launched its first Middle East cloud region in Bahrain last year, serving top-tier local customers such as Emirati bank Emirates NBD and transportation aggregator Careem. Around the same time, Microsoft launched its offering in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), making Google the latest player in the Middle East regional arena.
Saudi Arabia is actively cooperating with Silicon Valley in search of foreign investment to support its ambitious program «Vision 2030» (Vision 2030) and diversifying its oil-dependent economy. The Kingdom is already investing heavily in American tech companies through its Public Investment Fund..
The new infrastructure will accelerate the development of Saudi Arabia’s tech industry, which boasts one of the fastest growing cloud adoption rates in the region, according to the Oxford Business Group, which expects new data centers to further drive cloud usage..
Last month, Saudi Arabia also celebrated a momentous date following the coronation of the country’s first tech unicorn. Saudi Arabia’s STC Pay Now Plans To Expand Its Financial Services Offerings In The Gulf Region After Reaching Valuation Through Western Union Deal «unicorn» $ 1 billion.
«Saudi Arabia’s future business transformation and growth depends on its ability to successfully leverage cloud services», – said Ahmad Al-Saadi (Ahmad Al Sa’adi), Aramco’s senior vice president of technical services. Google’s cloud solution is believed to offer Saudi enterprises enhanced access to artificial intelligence, intelligent analytics, data management, security and other Google services..
The expansion of technical ties in the Kingdom comes amid reports that Google is preparing to create a fiber optic network that will connect Europe and India via Israel and Saudi Arabia. This project could link Saudi Arabia and Israel for the first time, another sign of a thaw in relations, despite the fact that there are no official diplomatic relations between the two countries..
Submarine cable project dubbed «Blue raman», is claimed to be over 8,000 km (5,000 miles) in length and is expected to cost in the order of $ 400 million.
The government of Saudi Arabia has not yet officially publicly approved the project. The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, said Google may seek support from telecom partners to fund the initiative and share infrastructure.
Google also announced plans to launch a cloud computing center in Qatar, which has been subject to regional blockade by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt since 2017..