Saudi retailer announces opening of first Apple stores

“The United Electronics Company, better known as eXtra, has announced the opening of Apple’s first new generation stores in Saudi Arabia,” Andy Sambidge reports for Arabian Business. “The Apple outlets will be located in eXtra’s shops in Riyadh and Al Khobar, the retailer said in a statement. “The Apple store openings follow successful three-year collaboration between the two companies, the statement added.”

“Apple will continue to provide the kingdom with products and solutions along with expert guidance from staff,” Sambidge reports. “A wide range of Apple accessories will be available at eXtra’s outlets in Riyadh (Alworood) and Al Khobar (Al Rakka).”

“Separately, the new Apple store planned for Dubai is expected to open in February next year, according to reports,” Sambidge reports. “Earlier this year, Apple confirmed plans to open a store in the region, which was underlined by a series of job listings for stores in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The new store in the Mall of Emirates is expected to be its biggest outlet in the world, bigger than its current flagship outlet – the 23,000 sq ft Grand Central Store in New York.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. I doubt you have any knowledge of Saudi’s or prices there. The problem in Saudi is the overbearing presence of Samsung. They have stores everywhere and Cell phone companies pushing their junk and prices similar to Apple prices in the US. The entire population thinks that Samsung invented the smart phone and are vaguely aware of Apple.

      1. @Expat in Saudi

        “The entire population thinks that Samsung invented the smart phone and are vaguely aware of Apple.”

        Uhmm… yeaaaaah. I guess Apple has to start *somewhere* to enlighten those Saudis. Apple clearly has their work cut out for them.

        You can hear Saudis doing the ‘snackbar’ chant at most every traffic intersection. Apparently, Saudis think cars are scarier than the fastest carnival ride.

          1. Was it all that long ago when Women couldn’t do a lot of things in America? Heck, blacks couldn’t use the same washrooms as whites not long ago. Was that because whites were afraid they would show how much bigger cocks they had than whites?

        1. About 80% of the cars in Saudi have at least one bumper or quarter panel smashed. About 50% have 3 or 4 quarter panels or bumpers smashed. Drivers there have little concept of looking where they drive and expect everyone else to look out for and give way to them. Women must wear the head and face veils and have much more restricted vision.

          The take-away from this is that driving is unsafe in Saudi.

            1. Although it is not a requirement for Saudi’s to drive with at least one cell phone in their hands while driving, it may as well be one. You will rarely see a Saudi driving with both hands on the wheel but usually see them with a cellphone held to their ear. Little children mimic their parents when they pretend to drive by holding one hand out in front of themselves (as if to hold a steering wheel) and the other hand to their ear and be jabbering away.

  1. Bigger than the Grand Central Apple flagship store! I’d expect nothing less from a land of such wealth. Well, they will need a LOT of glass for that. Fortunately they have plenty of sand to manufacture it, rather than risk breakage through expensive import channels. And now I wonder if the Microsft brain trust, hearing this news, is drawing up plans to open their own store in a tent across the mall from Apple’s. And another thing, the timing is perfect for opening a high-end store, because oil prices are cratering, OPEC is circling the drain and the Arab median income is sure to drop. — Sell, sell, sell, while income there is still disposable…

    1. Saudi law requires 30% of any company’s employees be Saudi. Saudis generally think Samsung is king and know nothing about Apple. Fortunately, Saudi law also allows up to 70% of a company’s employees to be expatriates and may allow Arabic speaking employees from knowledgeable counties to work there.

      Very few Saudis actually work but have ‘positions’ that they hold in a company. The most desirable positions are: manager without responsibility (and an expat to ‘advise’ them), security guard (where they just have to show up most of the time and occasionally on time). ‘Managers’ are not required to show up to work unless there is an inspection expected to ensure 30% compliance to the employment standard.

      PS: Saudi youth unemployment is nearly 100% and many youth have fathers who have never worked. The king gives money to the princes and they in turn give it to their ministers who give money to family members who give it to friends etc. In Saudi culture, it is important to know someone who has money and influence (wastah) or you won’t survive very well.

    2. Also, companies in Saudi must be at least 50% owned by Saudi nationals. The employees will be eXtra employees. This has been a major hold up for Apple to get a store in Saudi. Any company trying to start up in Saudi must find a willing Saudi who will agree to accept a bunch of money to purchase the land, building and inventory and then agree to take 50% of the profits while retaining ownership of the real estate.

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