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Press Release

Saudi GE Innovation Center opens in Dhahran Techno-Valley to focus on localized innovation with partners and customers

January 07, 2013

  • The first milestone in GE's announced US$1 billion investment commitment
  • A center for new ideas and R&D, Saudi GE Innovation Center will focus on creating cleaner efficient energy and sustainable healthcare solutions
  • Underlines GE's commitment to the Saudi Vision 2020 to foster home-grown innovation
  • Delivers on strategic agreement with King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; January 8, 2013: GE (NYSE: GE) today unveiled its new Saudi GE Innovation Center, the first milestone that is part of the US$1 billion investment commitment announced by the company last year. Aimed at fostering home-grown innovation, the 2,200 sq. meter Saudi GE Innovation Center in Dhahran Techno-Valley will work closely with customers on addressing the Kingdom's priorities in creating more energy efficient and affordable healthcare solutions.

The Saudi GE Innovation Center delivers on the strategic agreement signed by GE and King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) in 2011 to build a full-fledged GE technology center and office in Dhahran Techno-Valley.

Aligned with the Kingdom's Vision 2020 which aims to boost Saudi entrepreneurship, manufacturing and exports to accelerate diversified and sustained economic growth, the Saudi GE Innovation Center will collaborate with partners, customers, key think tanks and academic institutions to promote the country's innovation ecosystem.

The Saudi GE Innovation Center offers visitors a highly engaging and digitally interactive experience of GE's accomplishments in the Kingdom over the past 80 years. The Center highlights GE's country partnerships and capabilities as well as examines key trends and issues in various sectors including energy, aviation and healthcare. It will also serve as an ideas incubator for GE and its partners to work together, share knowledge, collaborate and co-create -- thus building localized solutions.

GE's Vice Chairman John Rice said: "The Saudi GE Innovation Center demonstrates our commitment to be a true partner in Saudi Arabia's growth story by supporting the creation of localized solutions, working alongside Saudi professionals who best understand the Kingdom's requirements. With the Center, we are creating a platform that engages a wide cross-section of stakeholders in addressing the Saudi Vision 2020.

"Today, innovation is the game-changer in business, and is the driving force of economic development. Creating a robust innovation environment will contribute not only to addressing local challenges but also to supporting the evolution of a talented pool of professionals and entrepreneurs. We are thankful to King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals and Dhahran Techno Valley for their continuous support to the initiative and to all our partners in the Kingdom."

H.E. Dr Khalid Saleh Al-Sultan, Rector & CEO of King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, said: "Innovation is one of the strategic pillars that builds Saudi Arabia's knowledge economy and has enormous value in addressing the emerging challenges in all sectors of growth. KFUPM is committed to promoting localized innovation and strengthening Saudi talent base through strong academia-industry linkages. Saudi GE Innovation Center, which builds on our partnership with GE, will play a key role in identifying and nurturing localized solutions that will enhance energy efficiency, and also contribute to shaping a new generation of talented Saudi professionals who are involved in hands-on research."

The Saudi GE Innovation Center is a testament to the findings of the most recent GE Innovation Barometer Survey, where an overwhelming majority of businesses interviewed in Saudi Arabia believe that innovation is the main lever for a more competitive economy. Some 86% of Saudi respondents believe that innovation has contributed to improving the products and services of their company.

In addition, compared with 77% last year, 83% of the Saudi respondents now observe that more than ever before SMEs and individuals can be as innovative as large companies.

Most critically, 87% compared with only 69% last year, say that innovation needs to be localized to serve specific market needs. They strongly agree that there is an appetite for innovation among the young generation and that public private partnerships have proved effective in supporting innovation.

Executives in Saudi Arabia also believe that it is important to encourage a stronger entrepreneurial culture in the education system through stronger linkages between students and business savvy individuals, which is reflected in the operational ethos of the Saudi GE Innovation Center. They perceive that encouraging investments and promoting domestic technology development rather than imported solutions are main priorities to further progress innovation in the Kingdom.

Among the highlights of the innovation center are;

  1. Interactive visitor journey: A visitor experience has been created that allows guests to learn the story of GE's 80 year history in the Kingdom, current footprint and future strategies and initiatives through a series of interactive touch-points. The journey also features interactive content based on GE's proprietary Innovation Barometer -- an annual, global study into executive views on innovation, including opinions and views of over 200 Saudi and regional business leaders -- and an insight into GE's innovation commercialization process.
  2. Brand Experience Centre: Based around GE's pillars of 'building, 'powering, curing' and 'moving', the brand experience provides context around the Kingdom's Vision 2020 and some of the toughest challenges facing Saudi Arabia in the fields of energy, healthcare, transportation and education. The experience is a dynamic, interactive exploration of the Kingdom in the 21st Century, and GE's work to support evolution and sustained growth through a commitment to innovation, female and youth empowerment and entrepreneurship.

  1. Technology integration: The center is the first GE Innovation Centre to include fully integrated RFID technology. This card based technology supports an experience combining real world and digital integration to create a unique, personalised multi-channel content experience that links directly to GE's local website and blogs. Promoting dialogue about innovation and the Kingdom's future inside the center, and with GE's online communities.

  1. Innovation Laboratories: Several laboratories that are engaged in cutting edge R&D on energy and healthcare

The focus of the Saudi GE Innovation Center on the energy sector is built on the projection that more than US$100 billion in fresh investments in the power sector is needed by 2020 to meet the need for power, which is growing at about 6 percent per annum. The Government has announced plans to strengthen power capacity by an additional 30,000 MW and also envisages generating 41,000 MW of solar power in the next two decades as part of this energy diversification initiative. GE has introduced its Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) combined cycle plant and FlexEfficiency 60 Portfolio that promote energy efficiency, supporting the Kingdom's sustainable energy management initiatives.

The Saudi GE Innovation Center will further complement the efforts of the government through focused research in the energy sector, particularly alternative energy.

Similarly, the Center will promote innovation in healthcare by partnering with the Kingdom's leading universities to promote R&D to address the pressing requirements in the sector. GE has been working closely with the Ministry of Health to help build a sustainable healthcare model under healthymagination.

From supporting Saudi Arabia's first oil discovery expedition with turbo machinery equipment for the first refinery to currently serving as a trusted partner bringing advanced healthcare, clean water, electricity and transportation to the Saudi people, GE has been a major player in the Kingdom for over eight decades.

Today, with three offices and seven facilities Saudi Arabia accounts for the largest GE workforce in the Middle East with over 1,000 employees driving the healthcare, transportation, power, oil & gas, water and aviation businesses. More than 500 GE turbines currently generate over 50 percent of Saudi's electricity, and the company's advanced technology supports the production of 150 million liters clean water daily, delivered to the country's remotest corners.

Kelly Home
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
[email protected]
+971 4 4507 600

Nivine William
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
[email protected]
+971 4 4507 600

Caroline Wehbeh
GE Communications Leader, North Africa
[email protected]
+971 4 429 6318


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