On October 23, 2023, Gwihwan Moon, the CEO and Founder of Omnis Labs, the company behind Deep Block, participated in the Global Business Center (GBC) Riyadh Opening Ceremony. The GBC serves as a collaborative platform offering shared spaces for SMEs and startups, fostering networking opportunities, and aiding in overseas expansion. This initiative has been a result of collaborative efforts between the governments of South Korea and Saudi Arabia, furthering the cooperative network between the two countries.
Global Business Center (GBC) Riyadh Opening Ceremony. Credit: Deep Block
The establishment of the Riyadh GBC holds important significance, representing the result of sustained communication and cooperation between the governments of both nations. It builds upon SMEs and Startups Minister Lee Young's discussions with Khalid A. Al-Falih, the Minister of Investment Saudi Arabia (MISA) in January 2023, focusing on support measures for Korean SMEs and startups venturing into Saudi Arabia. This center is poised to serve as a vital nexus, fostering a cooperative network with Middle Eastern enterprises and linking the innovation ecosystems of both countries.
Back in June, a plaque unveiling ceremony for the Riyadh Global Business Center (GBC) was held in the presence of Minister Lee Young, and Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih. To ensure the seamless functioning of the Riyadh GBC, both governments have inked a memorandum of understanding post the plaque unveiling. The Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) will extend support for the Saudi expansion of technology-based innovative startups through the Riyadh GBC. Simultaneously, the Ministry of Investment Saudi Arabia (MISA) will facilitate the swift establishment of Korean innovative companies in Saudi Arabia by streamlining local regulations, including simplifying business registration procedures.
Global Business Center (GBC) Riyadh Plaque Unveiling Ceremony. Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih and Minister Lee Young. Credit: Excellent Magazine.
Minister Lee Young emphasized, “This plaque unveiling ceremony will be an important starting point for continuing exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.” She further added, “As a result of today’s event, we anticipate that our outstanding Korean SMEs and startups with advanced technological capabilities will have expanded opportunities to participate in Saudi Arabia’s policy projects, such as Neom City construction and Vision 2030.”
The Korean delegation was part of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol's state visit to Saudi Arabia, marking a historic occasion. The two nations signed 51 deals and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) valued at a total of US$15.6 billion, signifying a significant step towards enhanced economic cooperation.
South Korean President's state visit to Saudi Arabia. President Yoon Suk Yeol and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Credit: Yonhap News.
This visit also witnessed substantial agreements in various sectors, including crude oil, hydrogen energy, statistics, food, and medical products. Notably, a joint crude oil reserve agreement between Korea National Oil Corp. and Saudi Aramco was established, further solidifying bilateral relations.
Additionally, Hyundai Motors and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund joined hands for a substantial investment in constructing a car assembly plant, positioning South Korea as a leading player in the electric vehicle production hub in the Middle East.
This momentous visit underscores the potential for synergistic growth between South Korea and Saudi Arabia, capitalizing on cutting-edge technology and abundant capital resources. The Hydrogen Oasis cooperation initiative and collaborative projects along the hydrogen value chain showcase a forward-looking approach towards sustainable energy.
President Yoon's visit seeks to foster active interest and support for South Korean companies in winning contracts, further propelling economic ties between the two nations. The event not only signifies a milestone in economic cooperation but also highlights the opportunities that lie ahead for both countries in shaping a mutually beneficial future.