KEY POINTS
  • In a bold surprise move back in February 2021, the Saudi government announced that it would, by 2024, cease doing business with any international companies whose regional headquarters were not based within the country.
  • The news stunned investors and expat workers, many of whom saw the move as a shot at Dubai, the UAE commercial capital that is home to the highest concentration of Middle East regional headquarters.
  • Saudi Arabia's economy minister told CNBC how the kingdom is working to support companies making the move.
The Saudi National Bank headquarters and other buildings in Riyadh.

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia is holding on to its ultimatum that foreign companies will need to base their regional headquarters in the kingdom or be barred from lucrative government contracts. The deadline: Jan. 1, 2024.

In a bold surprise move back in February 2021, the Saudi government announced that it would, by 2024, cease doing business with any international companies whose regional headquarters were not based within the country.