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Saudi Arabia seeks to attract capital-intensive and highly automated industries. Other important characteristics are that the projects incorporate technology transfer, import substitution, and transfer of management expertise. The Saudi Ministry of Industry and Electricity, SABIC, and the Saudi Consulting House have identified industrial opportunities for implementation with foreign joint venture partners, and have prepared investment profiles for the following projects:

Agriculture, Food and Food Processing

Chicken Feed Protein Honey Poultry and Animal Feed
Chicken Meat Ice Cream Spices
Coffee Infant Formula Tomato Paste
Corn Flakes Instant Chicken Soup/Sauce Vegetables
Dates Italian Sausage Vinegar Production from Dates and Grapes
Distilled Water Juices White Sugar and Molasses
Dried and Frozen Eggs Legumes Yeast
French Fries Nuts
Fromage Frais Olives and Olive Oil
Fruit Potato Chips and Frozen Potatoes
Fruit Juice Poultry
Hamburger Poultry and Animal Feed



Automobile Parts

Automotive Car Air Conditioners Radiators
Automotive Engines Exhaust Systems Spark Plugs
Automotive Pumps Front and Rear Bumpers Suspension Systems
Brakes & Filters Front and Rear Lights Tires and Tubes
Brake Cylinders and System Pickup Truck Covers Windshields
     Connections Positive and Negative Cables

Building Materials and Ceramic Industries

Aluminum Doors Ecosystem Boards Low Cost Buildings
Aluminum Ladders Expanded Clay Marble
Aluminum Windows Front Panels Outdoor Toilet
Ceramic Appliances Glue PVC Window Profiles
Ceramic Sanitaryware Gypsum Fiberboard Portable Houses
Ceramic Tableware Houseware Products Refractories Complex
Ceramic Utensils Information Counters Roofing Tiles
Concrete Repair Materials Kitchen Cabinets Screws

Chemical Industries

1,4 Butanediol Fatty Acids Paraffin Wax
Acetic Acid/Vinyl Acetate Formaldehyde Perfumes
       Monomer Gelatin Phenolic Anti-Oxidants
Acrylic Acid/Acrylates Glue Plastic Additives
Acrylonitrile (ACN) Glycerol Polyacrylamide
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Grease Polyethylene Glycol
Adhesive Tapes and Fluids Hand Cream Polystyrene
Aerosol Paints Inks Polythene
Agricultural Fertilizers Ion Exchange Resins Powder Soaps
Amino Acid Lysine Leather Tanning Chemicals Pre-Treatment Chemicals for
m-Aminophenol & Lemon Juice (Citric Acid)    Metal Surfaces
     m-Phenylene-Diamine Linseed Oil Propylene Oxide
p-Aminosalicylic Acid Liquid Detergents & Soap Raw and Refined Salt
Ammonium Sulfate Lubricating Oil and Special Resorcinol from Benzene
Antiseptics      Wax Salicyclic Acid
Artificial Leather Magnesium Metal and Shampoos & Antiseptics
Aspirin, Paracetamol, Methyl      Potassium Chloride Sodium Sulfate
     Paraben, Benzoic Acid Malathion Sodium Tripolyphosphate
Automobile Paints Medical Solutions Solid Caustic Soda
Automobile Putty Medicine Styrene Butadiene Rubber
Blended Lubricants Melamine Sulfuric Acid
Carbon Black Methyl Methacrylate & UV Stabilizers from Resorcinol
Carbon Electrodes      Polymethyl Methacrylate Veterinary Medicine
Decorative and Industrial Paints Optical Brightener White Oils

Electrical Equipment

Batch Ovens Electrical Insulators Plugs & Switches
Boilers Electrical Measurement Press Machines
Cable Connecting Pieces      Appliances Refrigerators
Ceiling Fans Electrical Switches Steam Boilers
Circuit Breakers Exhaust & Ventilation Fans Telephone and Television Wires
Cooking and Electrical Stoves Freezers Ventilation Fans
Desert Coolers Food Heaters Wall & Industrial Fans
Dry Batteries Gas Cookers Waste Ovens
Electric Motors Lighting  

Industrial Equipment

Air Filters Lifts Steam Traps
Flat Gaskets Light Drilling Rigs Tank Water Level Controls &
General Purpose Machine O-Rings      Water Heaters
     Shop Oil Filters Valves (Gate, Butterfly)
Hermetic Reciprocating A/C Packings Valves (Globe, Ball, Check)
     Compressors Pipe Fittings
Industrial Fasteners Pipe Flanges
Instruments Spiral Wound Gaskets


3D Metal Frames   Metal Barrels   and Windows
Alloy Steel (Low, High) Joinery and Furniture    Steel Cans and Drums
Band Saw Blades      Accessories Steel Couplers Production
Cast Iron Mild Steel Steel Cutter and Drill Bits
Copper Mini-Steel Plant for Long     Steel Flats Painting
Flat Cast Steel   Rolled Products Steel Foundry   
Galvanized Metals Plant Stanchions Steel Molds and Hangers
Galvanized Rebars Reinforcing Iron Bars   Steel Panels
Galvanized Steel Structures Sheet Iron Compression and Steel Plastic Coating
Grit (Coal Slag)      Cutting Titanium Tubes
Hinges Stainless Steel Twining Metals
Industrial Metal Tanks and Stainless Steel Doors, Sinks Window Mesh


Al Jalamid Phosphate Project Granite Magnesium Metal
Az Zabirah Bauxite Deposit Khnaiguiyah Zinc-Copper Potassium Chloride
Aluminum Sulfate   Deposit Pozzolan
Dolomite Limestone Wadi Sawawin Iron Ore Project

Paper, Printing and Publishing

Cardboard Boxes Doublex Carton Paper Towels
Carton Boxes Greeting Cards Printing, Journal and Writing
Checks Gusseted Bags   Paper
Commercial Banking Forms Hygienic Paper Printed Notebooks
  and Computer Reports Napkins Stickers

Plastics Industries

3m Diameter Pipes Fishing Nets Plastic Pipe Accessories
Amusement Games Frames Plastic Poles
Baby Feeding Bottles Gated Irrigation Pipe Plastic Paper
Baby Walkers &  Garden Tables Plastic Road Safety Signs
  Chamber-Pots Gaskets Plastic Scrap
Bathroom Accessories Hoses Plastic Stationery Files
Biological Media Ladies Accessories Plastic Thermos Flasks
Boxes and Cups from E.P.S Medical Plastic Tubes Plastic Wood
CD and Cassette Cases Medicine Containers Polycarbonate Resins
Children's Toys Membranes Public Garden Chairs
Cleaning & Painting Brushes, Milk Containers Recycled Plastic Products
     Brooms Netting Reinforcing Netting for Roadsides
Climbing Plant Stanchions  Plastic Bags Rubber Spare Parts
     and Hangers Plastic Boards Safety Plastic Materials for Roads
Cold Water Plastic Containers Plastic Boxes School Articles
Complete Outdoor Toilets Plastic Buttons Shoes, Slippers and Sandals  
Crates Plastic Covers Stretch Wrap LLDPE
Cutting Boards Plastic Fences Synthetic Paper
Disposable Hospital Items Plastic Funnels Telephones  and Accessories
Fertilizer Dispensers Plastic Granules Tool Boxes
Fiberglass Plastic Pails Vacuum Jugs
Fishing & Picnic Boats Plastic Pallets Water Heater Tubes and Connections


Acrylic Fiber   Cotton & Grip Bandages & Furniture Fabrics
Blankets, Bed Covers &  Knitted Fabric Ready-Made Clothes
     Pillow Cases Leather Cases & Shoes Recycled P.P. from Used
Carpet Leather Tanning      Woven Bags
Diaper Film Mattresses & Bedsheets School Bags
Fabric Processing Narrow Fabrics Sewing and Embroidery Threads
Filament Texturizing Non-Woven Film Spinning & Weaving
& Weaving Packing Nets Wear-Zip Fasteners
Fishing Nets Polishing and Coloring Leather Work Clothes & Uniforms
Garments & Knitwear Polyester Curtains Yarn & Textiles
Gauze Bandages, Medical Polyester Yarns  

Wood Products and Furniture

Bamboo Furniture & Decoration Garden Chairs & Tables
Decorative Products & Furniture Quran Shelves

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Country Commercial Guide for Saudi Arabia for fiscal year 2000, the top 15 sectors for U.S. exports and investments in the Kingdom are as follows:

1) Telecommunications Equipment:  The demand for telecommunications equipment is expected to grow rapidly following the government’s actions in 1998 to privatize the sector. The new Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) is reviewing plans to continue to modernize Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications network. The introduction of Internet service in early 1999 is expected to generate additional market opportunities for U.S. firms supplying telecommunications and computer equipment and parts. Total imports of telecommunications equipment were estimated at $105 million in 1998.

2) Electrical Power Systems: With a rapidly growing population and continuing progress in all industrial fields, demand for electric power is increasing at a rate of about 11 percent a year. The Saudi Government has already approved more than $2.9 billion for various electricity projects up to the year 2000. Overall power generation capacity rose from 4,000 MW in 1977 to 22,311 MW in 1997. A number of power projects are under way, including the construction of a 1,200 MW power plant in Riyadh (PP9), and a 2,400 MW plant in Ghazlan. In March 1999, a contract was awarded to ABB to construct the Shuaiba power plant in the Western region. Total imports for 1999 are estimated to be more than $1 billion.

3) Water Desalination Equipment: Saudi Arabia’s reliance on desalination to meet its growing demands for water has created many business opportunities, especially for new technologies that can reduce the cost of producing fresh water. Saudi Arabia is the largest desalinated water producer in the world with 25 desalination plants, producing 800 million gallons of water a day. Multi-stage flash and reverse osmosis systems are the most commonly used systems for desalination in Saudi Arabia. Total imports for 1999 are forecast to be $319 million.

4) Computer Software: The Saudi software market was estimated at $400 million in 1997 with 10 percent growth over the next three years. The Saudi Government has taken serious steps to crack down on software piracy and other IPR infringement, and the demand for information technology and computer software in the Kingdom is rising rapidly. Total imports are forecast at $462 million for 1999.

5) Auto Parts and Service Equipment: The composition of the car market in Saudi Arabia has changed in recent years as many buyers have switched to used and reconditioned cars, while others have decided to maintain their own vehicles for longer periods of time. The result of these changes has been an increase in the market for spare auto parts and equipment in the Kingdom. Total imports in the sector are estimated to reach $615 million in 1999, excluding tires and tubes. The market is very competitive, and becoming increasingly so with a growing demand for original and quality spare parts.

6) Computers and Peripherals: The Saudi market for computers and peripherals remains the largest in the Middle East. The Kingdom's computer market is estimated to reach $275 million in 1999. The Internet service is likely to create a wealth of opportunities for U.S. hardware and software manufacturers. Growth in the sector is expected to remain strong and stable as more and more Saudi firms look to modernize their computer and communications systems. Vendors are competing for various niches by offering more technologically advanced computers with added features. There are more than 300 local computer dealers selling various computer brands throughout Saudi Arabia.

7) Medical Equipment: Saudi Arabia is the largest market for medical equipment and supplies in the Middle East. The Ministry of Health is responsible for about 70 percent of all healthcare services, and is responsible for much of the market for medical equipment and supplies. The market is estimated at $265 million in 1998 and is expected to reach a three-year high of $280 million in 1999, an increase of more than five percent over 1998. U.S. suppliers account for more than half of all Saudi medical imports, and the U.S. share is expected to grow at an average annual rate of five percent.

8) Education and Training Services: There is a significant need for manpower training in Saudi Arabia as a result of the Saudization program currently underway as part of the Sixth National Development Plan. As a young and rapidly growing Saudi population enters the job market, opportunities in this sector are likely to increase exponentially. The Government plans to replace 60 percent of the foreign workers with Saudi nationals over the next several years. An increasing number of organizations, both Government and private, now offer business related training courses, either in-house or at specialized institutions. The marketplace is competitive and extremely price conscious.

9) Oil and Gas Equipment and Services: At the end of July 1998, Saudi Aramco successfully commissioned the Shaybah oil field, a $1.83 billion project in the Rub-al-Khali. Projects are also underway to upgrade its oil refineries at Ras Tanura, Riyadh, Jeddah, Rabigh and Yanbu. In addition, Aramco is expanding its production capacities at its gas facilities in Shedgum, Uthmaniya and Berri. U.S. companies are by far the largest suppliers to the oil and gas industry in the Kingdom, controlling 60 percent of the market for engineered equipment and 50 percent of the program management/engineering and design market. The Commercial Service Saudi Arabia estimates a five percent annual growth for oil and gas equipment and materials in 1999.

10) Pollution Control Equipment: Rapid population growth, the declining level of ground water, increasing air pollution and solid waste, a significant construction market, continuing growth in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries, and an insufficient sewage system have all combined to expand opportunities in the Saudi environmental technology market. Saudi Arabia's environmental technology market size is expected to be $50 million in 1999. The best prospects include recycling systems and equipment, waste water treatment systems, sewage systems, solid waste equipment and systems, equipment and treatment systems for marine pollution, air pollution control equipment and monitoring devices.

11) Franchising: It is difficult to estimate the exact size and composition of the Saudi franchising market. However, the market is already home to a significant number of U.S.-based fast-food restaurants, and rapid population growth and esteem for American products in the Kingdom indicate that many opportunities will be available, particularly for the non-food sectors. A number of boutique-type retail outlets have experienced success in specializing in particular brands. Non-food franchises account for 55 to 60 percent of the total Saudi franchise market, with total sales estimated at $274 million in 1997. The best opportunities exist for business services, telecommunications, automotive products and services, printing and graphic design, mail and packaging, courier services, hotels and motels.

12) Security and Safety Equipment: Imports of industrial security items in 1998 are estimated to have risen by 10 percent, reaching $102.9 million. Expansion is expected to continue at a rate of 10 percent over the next year, possibly slowing slightly towards the end of 2000. American products continue to hold an approximate 70 percent market share.

13) Mining Equipment: Saudi Arabia has the largest mineral deposits in the Gulf. The Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resources (DMMR) has located 1,273 sites of precious metals, and 1,171 sites of non-precious metals. Over 30 minerals have already been identified in the Kingdom, with at least 15 industrial minerals that could be successfully exploited by investors. The DMMR has identified more than 64 mining projects that offer investment opportunities for private investors. The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden) is responsible for regulating the mining sector, and rebuilding Government mining projects on a commercial basis in partnership with the private sector. As of mid-1997, total investment in the mining sector reached $6.67 billion.

14) Apparel: High population growth and relatively high disposable income make Saudi Arabia an attractive market for manufacturers of apparel. Although the U.S. share of the Saudi apparel market is low compared to European and Southeast Asian suppliers, U.S. apparel exports to Saudi Arabia are expected to grow by an average of four percent annually, as more U.S. branded stand-alone boutiques are opened. Total market size for 1999 is estimated at $906 million.

15) Insurance: The insurance market in Saudi Arabia is growing rapidly. Insurance premiums in Saudi Arabia amounted to $760.5 million in 1997, a 5.1 percent growth over the previous year. There are about 70 insurance companies in Saudi Arabia. Motor insurance accounted for more than 23 percent of written premiums, followed by medical at around 18 percent, and fire at 14 percent. Insurance premiums covering oil facilities, major projects, marine and aviation represented 44.4 percent of total premiums.

In addition, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the best prospects for agricultural products are:

1) Corn:  Both livestock and poultry farming are growing rapidly in Saudi Arabia. Producers in these sectors are the major consumers of imported corn in the Kingdom, and several poultry producers underwent major expansion projects in 1996. As a result, the value of U.S. corn exports increased 25 percent between 1996 and 1998. The U.S. accounts for nearly 95 percent of imported corn, and the market is expected to increase as small to medium sized farms also increase production. Total imports are forecast to be $276 million in 1999.

2) Soybean Meal:  Soybean meal is a common ingredient in both poultry and livestock rations. The recent increase in local poultry production resulted in a 30 percent increase in the value of soybean meal imports by the Kingdom in 1998 compared to the last two years. With nearly 85 percent market share, the U.S. is the dominant supplier of soybean meal to Saudi Arabia. As with corn, U.S. exports of soybean meal will continue to increase as small to medium sized poultry producers expand production. Total imports in 1998 were estimated at $175 million.

3) Rice:  The market for rice in Saudi Arabia is large and expanding. The Kingdom does not produce rice domestically, and relies entirely on imports to meet its needs for the product. The market is extremely competitive, but opportunities do exist to increase the U.S. market share.

4) Processed Fruits and Vegetables:  There is substantial demand for processed fruits and vegetables in the Kingdom. Imports were estimated at $118 million for 1998. The market is expected to broaden and grow with increased sales of supermarket food. Dates constitute more than half of Saudi Arabia’s local production in this sector.

5) Snack Foods (Excluding Nuts): (Excluding Nuts): Although local production of snack foods has increased dramatically, there are still significant opportunities for potential exporters in this sector, especially for quality branded chocolates and other sweeter items. U.S. products in the market are generally viewed positively and associated with high quality.

6) Breakfast Cereals: Demand for breakfast cereals in Saudi Arabia is on the rise. U.S. companies have enjoyed success in this sector, but are currently second in market share behind European producers. Promotional and advertising campaigns are particularly important marketing tools in this sector, as breakfast cereals are non-traditional products that need to be introduced to Saudi consumers.




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