A joint venture between Google and the Saudi Arabian state-owned oil producer Saudi Aramco will open a “cloud region” where it can provide its cloud services in the kingdom with the novel coronavirus pandemic speeding up adoption of digital solutions all across the Gulf region.
“The collaboration taps into rapidly expanding cloud services demand in Saudi Arabia, which is forecast to reach a market opportunity up to $10 billion by 2030,” Aramco said in a statement this week.
The services offered under the partnership with Google will deliver “high performance, low-latency cloud services to enterprise customers in Saudi Arabia” as bettering of mutual relations between countries in the region has opened the political space US tech companies to expand and grow in the kingdom.
Negotiations with Saudi Arabia on the project had been initiated by Google back in 2018 but the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by state agents in the same year reportedly stalled the talks. Now Google Cloud is pressing on with its plans of establishment and operating a new cloud region in the kingdom.
This partnership also exhibits a certain degree of comfort among Silicon Valley elites in doing public business with the regime even though there are some concerns since Saudi Arabia is considered the leader in the world as an exporter of fossil fuels as well as of the poor human rights record of the kingdom.
Business will be able to grow and scale their offerings in the kingdom with the help of its investment into Saudi Arabia, Google said. This new project will also give a boost to the cloud computing business of Google which accounts for more than $10 billion in annual revenue to its parent company Alphabet Inc.
The initial list of customers for the new cloud service offered by the joint venture includes the regional e-commerce firm Noon and social media platform Snap.
“In order to deliver a positive user experience, it is important to put our infrastructure as close as possible to our customers,” Karl D’Adamo, senior director for infrastructure at Snap Inc., said in a statement.
“With the new Google Cloud region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we will be able to securely deliver services to our nearby customers at higher speeds and with greater flexibility,” Hisham Zarka, CTO and managing director at Noon said.
In the fast growing global cloud-computing market, the rivals of Google are Microsoft and Amazon. Currently there are 24 regions with 73 availability zones through which Google offers its cloud computing services which is lower than both its competitors – Microsoft Azure and the global market leader Amazon Web Services.
Its first cloud region in the Middle East was launched last year by Amazon Web Services in the country of Bahrain. The client list of the company include the top tier local clients such as Emirati bank Emirates NBD and rideshare service Careem.
It was around the same time that its cloud services in the United Arab Emirates was launched by Microsoft
Google is a late entrant in the region in this industry.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)