A large technology hub could take shape in Saudi Arabia, if talks between Saudi Aramco and Google parent company Alphabet result in a deal. Should the two firms come to an agreement, Alphabet will support Aramco in building data centres around the Kingdom, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Senior executives at both companies are said to have been engaged in talks for months including Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet. The deal is being driven by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is keen to bring technology expertise to the Kingdom.
The partnership is expected to boost the development of Saudi Arabia’s technology sector, which is a key part of the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative. The initiative was announced by Prince Mohammed in 2016 and is designed to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil through diversification of its economy.
A joint venture with Aramco would give Alphabet’s Google a foothold in the region, and could see the company benefit from customers in the oil industry, who are looking to shift computing operations into the cloud.
Globally, Google has been competing with Amazon and Microsoft to rent out computing power and storage. Currently, none of the companies run data centres in the Middle East region according to The Wall Street Journal, however Amazon has announced its intensions to launch a data centre in Bahrain and is rumored to be close to finalising a $1bn deal to build three data centres in Saudi Arabia.