Global tech-giant Apple and online retailer Amazon may soon invest directly in the Saudi market.
Two anonymous sources confirmed to Reuters that the American companies are in talks with Saudi authorities to open up shops in the kingdom. A third source also confirmed that Apple is in direct talks with the kingdom's foreign investment authority – SAGIA.
While both companies sell products in the kingdom via third parties, they have yet to set up a direct presence.
Within the Middle East, Turkey and the UAE are the only countries with official Apple stores.
As for Amazon, the company purchased UAE-based Souq.com for close to $600 million earlier this year. Souq.com delivers to countries throughout the Arab world, including Saudi Arabia.
Under Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ambitious Vision 2030, they are looking to give the kingdom a high-tech future.
Last year, the crown prince toured the United States, visiting tech giants such as Facebook and Microsoft, aiming to shore up investment and sign cooperation agreements to support the Saudi vision.
"70 percent of the Saudi population is under the age of 30"
Direct investment from Amazon and Apple in Saudi Arabia would be seen as a major step for Crown Prince Mohammed's plan to develop the kingdom's tech sector. Such investment would also likely provide major benefits to the American companies, as the kingdom is home to a young and relatively affluent market.
According to The New York Times, 70 percent of the Saudi population is under the age of 30. The demographic is also regularly engaged in social media usage and is seen as particularly tech-savvy.
However, Apple stands in second place in the kingdom when it comes to smartphone use – after Samsung – suggesting a direct presence may be a wise boost for sales.
Although specific details of any potential deals remain unclear, the kingdom has definitely positioned itself as a keen market for tech investment.