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NEOM presents vision of future

By Xu Weiwei in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-03 09:30

Tarek Qaddumi, executive director of NEOM urban planning, explains NEOM to the media in Hong Kong on April 19. CHINA DAILY

Saudi Arabia's futuristic city of NEOM will redefine the concepts of living, education, healthcare, and sports through its three pillars of nature conservation, human livability, and economic prosperity, according to Tarek Qaddumi, executive director of urban planning of NEOM.

"It is a valuable proposition that looks to the imagination first, looks to the future, and looks to science and technology," Qaddumi said while recently promoting the project in Hong Kong.

The under-construction $500 billion megacity is located in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea. The project is being built from the ground up as a living laboratory and a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for the future.

NEOM was launched in 2017 by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, as part of the nation's campaign to diversify the country's economy, which is heavily reliant on fossil fuel revenues.

The project has become a core part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, a transformative and ambitious blueprint to unlock the potential of its people and create a diversified, innovative, and world-leading nation.

NEOM is an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a new future might look like, according to NEOM's leadership delegation to China.

Its vision is to become "the land of the future, where the greatest minds and best talents are empowered to embody pioneering ideas and exceed boundaries in a world inspired by imagination," the delegation said.

"NEOM aims to redefine business, livability, and conservation, creating a future where people and the planet can thrive together," it added.

About 95 percent of NEOM's land is preserved for nature and the project is powered entirely by renewable, clean energies such as solar, wind, and hydrogen.

"This is very particular because we're very lucky to have some of the best wind on the planet, right there by the Red Sea," Qaddumi said.

According to Qaddumi, food in NEOM will be sustainable, whether that is through sustainable agriculture, sustainable fisheries, or sustainable trade.

NEOM describes itself as a destination and a home for people "who want to be part of building a new model for exceptional livability, creating thriving businesses, and reinventing environmental conservation".

The project is designed to include hyperconnected, cognitive cities, ports, enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations.

Culture of exploration

At the same time, the projected residents of NEOM will embody an international ethos and embrace a culture of exploration, risk-taking, and diversity.

The "Discover NEOM" China tour ended recently with an event held at the M+ art museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. This followed visits to Beijing and Shanghai.

The Hong Kong event was organized in partnership with the Belt and Road Office under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

During the China tour, NEOM's leadership delegation made numerous presentations to illustrate the progress and benchmarks of NEOM so far.

Qaddumi highlighted NEOM's flagship regions, including THE LINE — a 170-kilometer-long, 200-meter-wide, 500-meter-tall linear city currently being built in NEOM, set to house 9 million people.

Other regions include Sindalah, its luxury island; Trojena, its year-round mountain destination and the first outdoor ski experience in the Gulf; and Oxagon, the reimagined industrial city and home to advanced and clean industries.

During their China tour, NEOM's delegation also held conversations with local businesspeople to explore the broad range of investment opportunities available.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Government of the HKSAR Algernon Yau welcomed the NEOM leadership team to Hong Kong.

Saudi Arabia is one of the key players in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

"As an open economy and one of the world's top financial, investment, and innovation hubs, Hong Kong stands ready to support Saudi Arabia in achieving its vision, while bringing growth opportunities for Hong Kong," he said.

"With our internationally benchmarked professional services and talent pool, Hong Kong can provide support for projects, such as NEOM, along the countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative," Yau added.


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