Exclusive | Saudi Arabia to showcase futuristic, zero-carbon megacity at Hong Kong investor roadshow

Exclusive | Saudi Arabia to showcase futuristic, zero-carbon megacity at Hong Kong investor roadshow

Exclusive | Saudi Arabia to showcase futuristic, zero-carbon megacity at Hong Kong investor roadshow

The man in charge of a showpiece project of Saudi Arabia’s plan to diversify its economy away from oil will bring a roadshow to Hong Kong inviting investors to back the ambitious development.

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, the chief executive officer of Neom – a US$500 billion futuristic megacity under construction on the country’s northwestern coast – is scheduled to host a half-day event on April 19 at the M+ in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District.

Discover Neom, co-organised by the Belt & Road Office under Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, will feature presentations by Neom’s leadership, a “New Future by Design Tour”, and an evening reception from 6pm to 9pm, according to an invitation obtained by the Post.

Neom’s team will visit mainland China first before coming to Hong Kong, which is the last stop for the roadshow, according to a source familiar with this matter.

During Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s February 2023 visit to Saudi Arabia, the delegation visited an exhibition of the mega project at which the city’s leader said Hong Kong could play a “pivotal role in channelling the funding” to the initiative.

Neom, a central pillar Saudi Vision 2030, is likely to appeal to potential investors and partners from the city’s professional services sector, providing opportunities in areas such as IT, architecture, accounting and law.

The project is so far said to be predominantly backed by Western investors.

Attendees at the April 19 roadshow can learn of Neom’s approach to urban design, integrated economy and “future living” in a “nature first”, zero-carbon environment experience its diverse regions through immersive exhibitions, according to the invitation.

Meanwhile, guests can connect with the Neom leadership team and “explore significant partnership and investment opportunities that Neom has to offer”, it said.

The project’s name is formed from the ancient Greek prefix “neo” meaning “new” and the letter “M”, which is the first letter of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s name, as well as the first letter of the Arabic word for “future”.

Neom calls itself a “mindset” and promises to be a zero-carbon urban centre powered entirely by renewable energy.

Its chief investment officer Manar Al-Moneef was in Hong Kong on March 26, speaking at the OneEarth Summit.

Since Lee’s visit to Saudi Arabia, a flurry of business exchanges, collaboration agreements and conferences have taken place. The Saudi Central Bank visited the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) last July to discuss market connectivity and collaborations on financial infrastructure.
Hong Kong’s stock exchange operator (HKEX) created a short cut last September for Saudi companies to raise capital via secondary listings, following an agreement with the Saudi Tadawul exchange. The two exchanges are scheduled to hold the CONNECT Hong Kong conference on May 9 at the HKEX.

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