An electric vehicle firm backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund said it will be developing a manufacturing site on the kingdom’s western coast, the latest step in the government’s push to diversify its oil-dependent economy.
Ceer, a joint venture with Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group, secured a 1 million square-meter plot within the King Abdullah Economic Center, or KAEC, in a deal worth about $96 million, the company said in a statement. Construction on the site, which is near a major Red Sea trading port, will start early next year. Initial models of the sedans and sport utility vehicles are set to be available by 2025.
Saudi Arabia’s ambitions to develop a domestic carmaking industry to diversify away from fossil fuels date back years, though those efforts have mostly failed. The kingdom has recently taken a different approach, with its wealth fund actively investing in the industry. PIF acquired a majority stake in Lucid Motors Inc. and is also backing plans by the US electric-vehicle maker to build a manufacturing hub in the KAEC.
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The Ceer venture will bring in over $150 million of foreign direct investment and create as many as 30,000 jobs, according to the PIF. It’s projected to contribute $8 billion to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product by 2034.
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