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World Defense Show’s first edition accelerates Saudi Arabia’s transition towards a self-sufficient defense industry (sponsored)

19th April 2022 - 10:06 GMT | by Industry Spotlight

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Saudi Arabia is on its way to localizing 50% of military, defense and security expenditure by 2030 following the inaugural World Defense Show.

Historically a major importer of defense equipment, Saudi Arabia, is now well on track to put its defense industry on a path of self-reliance, following the conclusion of the first World Defense Show.

Held in Riyadh from 6-9 March 2022 and founded by the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), Saudi Arabia’s first-ever international defense trade event rallied the support of the global defense community for its localization plans.

Over 7.9 billion dollars’ worth of deals were concluded through the show, laying the foundations for a rapid growth of the country’s local defense capabilities.

Driving forward the localization of Saudi’s defense industry

Against a backdrop of reforms facilitating foreign investments within the local industry and a compounded annual growth rate of 7%, World Defense Show made significant strides in the development of the Kingdom’s local defense sector. The show’s first edition was marked by significant partnerships between global primes and startups from all over the world, creating a new level playing field in the Saudi defense ecosystem.

Traditional defense partners of Saudi Arabia met the government localization plans with great enthusiasm. Defense giant Lockheed Martin announced the conclusion of a deal with GAMI to localize the production of THAAD missile systems while Raytheon unveiled plans to set up global manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia to produce key components of its Patriot missile defense systems.

Meanwhile, newer entrants to the Saudi market, including Chinese state-owned defense corporation, NORINCO, and South Korean companies LIG Nex1 Co., Hanwhan Corp and Poongsan Corporation, all launched significant tie-ups with the Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense during the show. 

A new era of cooperation in the Saudi defense sector

Aside from the significant deals announced at the event, World Defense Show also established itself as the optimal networking environment and cooperation platform for countries from East to West. With more than 65,000 visits from 85 countries in attendance over four days, World Defense Show featured 600 Exhibitors in 37,000 sqm of indoor space across two main halls.

The World Defense Show’s first edition has set in motion a series of conversations and negotiations that will lead to a new wave of investment in the Kingdom’s local defense sector for years to come. Connecting every tier of the supply chain, over 1,100 one-on-one meetings were facilitated over two days through the show’s much anticipated ‘Meet the Buyer’ program and 300 industry professionals attended the dedicated ‘Meet the KSA Government’ sessions, which shared latest developments on the Kingdom’s business guidelines, investment requirements and partnership processes to operate in line with the national defense industry’s overall objectives.

Building on the success of its inaugural event, World Defense Show is set to return for its second edition from 3-6 March 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. To stay informed on news related to World Defense Show’s next edition, register for updates here.

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