Google recently unveiled a new cloud region in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, enhancing access to a wide array of Google Cloud services. These range from cloud computing and storage to data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).
The cloud region will serve a diverse customer base in the country and the broader region of the Middle East. Specifically, it targets small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups. With its launch, Google Cloud now comprises 39 cloud regions and 118 zones, delivering cloud services to over 200 nations and territories worldwide.
Potentially, the new Google cloud region in Saudi can boost the country’s economy, contributing around $109 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) between 2024 and 2030. This is according to research commissioned by Google Cloud and conducted by Access Partnership. Additionally, it could generate around 148,600 jobs by 2030.
GDP and employment boost
“Our new cloud region in Saudi Arabia will help both public and private sector organizations make the most of their data, leverage generative AI solutions, and create a culture of innovation underpinned by a modern, sustainable infrastructure with built-in security,” said Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud’s chief executive officer (CEO).
For Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al Swaha, this “strategic move” can improve the country’s goal to be a regional computing hub. He added that it will also support the government’s “digital entrepreneurship drive and the acceleration of AI-based innovation and business models across the public and private sectors.”
Promoting Google technology
As emphasized by Google Cloud Country Manager Bader Al-Madi, “Saudi SMEs account for 90 percent of businesses and 60 percent of total employment in the Kingdom.” Additionally, he noted that Saudi’s Vision 2030 aspires for SMEs to make up 35 percent of the country’s GDP by 2030.
Technology plays a critical role in achieving this. In particular, Google Cloud’s services eliminate the need for clients to own or manage physical data centers and servers, helping 1.2 million SMEs hit their growth objectives. The result is projected to enhance productivity by up to 3.5 percent in 2030.
Sharing Google’s achievement in promoting its technology to more Saudis, Tarek Khalil, Google Cloud director in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), disclosed that 19,000 individuals in the country have already received training in the past year. Of this figure, only 5,000 were trained uncertified.
Apart from providing training, the tech giant will also launch the Google for Startups Cloud Program in the first quarter of 2024. This will provide eligible SMEs with access to product and technical assistance, dedicated mentors, and industry experts. Furthermore, they can receive cloud credits of up to $200,000 in the first two years.
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