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Riyadh to be among top 15 fastest-growing cities by 2033

The projected growth is fuelled by population growth and the regional HQ program.

Riyadh to be among top 15 fastest-growing cities by 2033
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

As it adds people and development reshapes it, proposing business incentives to companies that move to the city — Riyadh is expected to rank among the top 15 fastest-growing cities by 2033, according to the Savills Growth Hubs Index. The report notes that Riyadh is the only non-Asian city on the list, driven by a population surge from 5.9 million to 9.2 million over the next ten years. 

With a population of around 36 million people, 67% are under age 35, Richard Paul, head of professional services and consultancy at Savills Middle East, said this population segment’s employment potential and ultimate spending power over the next decade are enormous. 

Riyadh has also gained significant momentum through its regional headquarters program, which was launched in December last year. Over 120 international firms relocated their regional headquarters to the kingdom during Q1, marking a 477% YoY increase. Meanwhile, tourism growth is pushing the retail sector’s demand boundaries. 

Ramzi Darwish, head of Savills in Saudi Arabia, said, “The 30-year tax relief for regional headquarters, expanding market, and promising prospects are attracting international companies and reinforcing Riyadh’s position as a vital regional hub for leading businesses across diverse industries.”

Moreover, foreign direct investment (FDI) into Saudi surged 5.6% during Q1 2024, reaching $2.53 billion. 

“Riyadh is experiencing a remarkable surge in corporate interest, with over 180 foreign companies establishing their regional headquarters in the city in 2023, surpassing the initial target of 160. This growing confidence reflects the robust potential of the Saudi capital,” added Darwish. 

Riyadh will also host Expo 2030, boosting sustainable economic and social development.  

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