The General Authority of Competition in Saudi Arabia has given the green light for Neom and Fas Energy to develop and operate data centers in the Saudi city of Neom.
The Authority tweeted this week that had no objection to proposed joint venture between Neom Co. and FAS Energy Co. to develop, own and operate the next generation of sustainable ultra-large-scale data centers in the new city of Neom.
Neom is a project aiming to construct a huge new smart city on the Red Sea coast in the northwestern Saudi province of Tabuk.
The Neom company leading the project is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund, and construction on the new city is due to begin this year. Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg in October 2018 that Neom will be completed in 2025.
Previously led by former Siemens CEO Klaus Kleinfeld and now headed by Nadhmi Al-Nasr, the initiative hopes to create a data-intensive, highly-automated smart city with a starting investment of $500 billion.
A fact sheet on the project states: “[Neom] Includes artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, data centers, the Internet of Things and e-commerce.”
According to a March report from Reuters, construction is yet to begin on the project, and its current status isn't clear. The site will be built on the home of the Huwaitat tribe, with at least 20,000 members of the tribe facing eviction. “For the Huwaitat tribe, Neom is being built on our blood, on our bones,” activist Alia Hayel Aboutiyah al-Huwaiti told The Guardian. “It’s definitely not for the people already living there! It’s for tourists, people with money. But not for the original people living there.”
Established in 2013, FAS Energy is a subsidiary of the FawazAlhokair Group and develops solar farms.