SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) - Huawei Technologies has opened a cloud data centre in the Saudi capital Riyadh in a bid to grow its online service offerings in the Middle East and North Africa, the Chinese tech giant said on Monday.
The cloud data centre in Riyadh, Huawei's 30th worldwide, will support government services for the Saudi kingdom and allow for AI applications and language models in Arabic, a company official told a briefing.
"The implementation of Huawei cloud is not just about us, but is a bridge that will bring other Chinese companies to Saudi Arabia," said Steven Yi, the company's regional president.
The step would contribute to the development of the country's digital economy, he said, adding that Huawei opened its regional headquarters in the Saudi capital this year.
Saudi Arabia has previously said it would not sign contracts with foreign companies that did not have regional headquarters in the kingdom after this year.
Huawei ranked fifth in the global cloud services market in the first quarter, with a market share of 2.4%, although it was the second-largest vendor in mainland China, according to research consultancy Canalys.
In February Huawei said it would invest $400 million in the Saudi Arabia cloud region over the next five years.
(Reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Mo Yelin in Beijing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)