Amazon and Apple are both in talks to expand their presence in Saudi Arabia, according to sources, potentially marking the first time both will have a direct presence in the country. Details are fuzzy at this time, though sources indicate that both companies have been in talks, with Apple discussing a licensing deal that may see an Apple Store or several launch in the country.
This potentially big change is spurred by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reform plans, which includes boosting the nation’s tech presence. The sources, which spoke to Reuters, say Amazon is holding talks via its Amazon Web Services, which is apparently the focus of those particular talks.
Apple, for its part, is tipped to be talking with Saudi Arabia’s SAGIA about potentially opening Apple Stores in the nation. This will be done, assuming the sources are correct and the deal goes through, via a licensing agreement between Apple and SAGIA.
A pair of sources claim Apple retail stores could have an initial launch in 2019 under these talks, though nothing is finalized at this time. If the sources are correct, a deal between Apple and SAGIA will be struck by this upcoming February; whether an announcement will happen then isn’t clear, though.
Amazon’s talks aren’t so far along, though, and the sources say there aren’t any specific dates in place at this time. However, sources say Amazon is one of the big tech companies on the kingdom’s priority list, making it likely that some deal will come about.