Saudi megaproject Neom pitches to Chinese investors: ‘It’s the most exciting and visionary initiative of the 21st century’

Led by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the project, which could cost $500 billion to build, broke ground in 2017. It will include a futuristic ski resort and a slender endless building, built from the Gulf of Aqaba across the desert.

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After passing through Beijing and Shanghai, the tour stopped for two days in Hong Kong to make a grand presentation of the project to potential investors. However, no major deal was announced during this tour.

Neom strives for a balance between “nature conservation, human habitability and economic prosperity”, explained its executive director Tarek Qaddumi after visiting the exhibition dedicated to the project at the M + Museum in Hong Kong.It is probably the most exciting and visionary initiative of the 21st century“, he declared.


The exhibition made it possible to create Neom “less mysterious“and the guests at the reception dedicated to the project had reactions”rather neutral”, noted Leonard Chan, President of the Hong Kong Innovative Technology Development Association. But Hong Kong doesn’t say it’s ready to live at the center of the project, The Line, a building with two mirrored facades that is planned to extend 170km. desert.I will visit for pleasure, but I will not live there. It feels like SimCity to me.”

According to its developer, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The Line, this incredible 170km-long building crossing the desert, will be able to accommodate nine million residents by 2045.

Plato Yip, president of the Hong Kong NGO Friends of the Earth, who discusses green hydrogen with Neo, also believes that The Line “it feels like being locked in a cage, even though it’s very comfortable.

Downward revision?

Unveiling The Line in 2022, the Saudi prince announced it would house more than a million residents in 2030 and nine million in 2045. But promoters are said to have revised their ambitions to 300,000 residents and 2.4 kilometers of the project built at the end of the decade, according to Bloomberg . Neom did not respond to requests for clarification.

In front of The Line model, a sparkling blade plunging into the country from the Red Sea, Tarek Qaddumi simply said that the nine million population target would be reached.overtime.

The complex must open onto the Gulf of Aqaba and include “hidden port.“The tunnels will make it possible to cross the desert mountains and an airport with a capacity of 100 million passengers per year is planned,” he said.You get off the plane and enter the city on foot. We will remove all the worries associated with going through the airport, be it immigration, security.“”Your luggage will be sent directly to your address.

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The luxury resort, which will accommodate a fleet of yachts on Sindalah Island, will be “completed by the end of the year“, continued the CEO. Trojena, a futuristic ski resort with an artificial lake and 36 km of slopes, must be completed by 2029, in time for the Asian Winter Games.

More elements will be built”after 2030” said Tarek Qaddumi.

Attract investors

The project runs parallel to other major projects under “Vision 2030”, which aims to ensure the development of the world’s leading oil exporter in a potential oil-free future. Last year, Riyadh, the sole candidate, won the bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup and has ten years to build stadiums and the corresponding infrastructure.

Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said in December that the timetable for some major projects would be pushed beyond 2030, without specifying which ones.

Robert Mogielnicki of the Arab Institute of the Gulf States in Washington notes that events-related projects are likely to receive priority. “The Saudis will not be able to move endlessly at a hundred miles an hour in every direction on the development front.Riyadh needs to attract an influx of foreign investment in various’s no secret that they haven’t achieved that yet“, he slipped.

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