In its 2020 Global Report, the research organization Startup Genome ranks Riyadh as one of the 20 best cities for Fintech achievements to be monitored for.
The company analyzed dozens of countries around the world based on factors such as: finance, talent and focus, as well as the influence of players in the ecosystem, such as: policymakers and founders.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with the neighboring United Arab Emirates, was praised for being more enthusiastic about adopting the new technology than their counterparts in Europe and the United States.
This was one of the factors that made it Riyadh In the spotlight as one of 20 global cities that has made great achievements in the field of financial technology.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia witnessed a digital shift towards e-commerce, online learning and remote work, and the fintech sector simultaneously enjoyed a threefold growth.
The shift towards online services has resulted in more money flowing into the digital space supported by e-payments and the demand for credit online.
The research firm Startup Genome included Riyadh and Bahrain from the Middle East, in a fintech list led by New York, London, Singapore and Beijing.
This was not surprising given that 80 percent of consumers in Saudi Arabia are likely to continue shopping online even after the Coronavirus due to convenience, safety and reasonable prices.
The kingdom has seen strong support for Saudi-based logistics companies, which received 65 percent of total startup funding in 2020.
Education technology is also a growing sector, accounting for 11 percent of funding, as the Coronavirus has emphasized the need for distance learning platforms.
And with more than 36,000 new online stores last year, mobile payments also increased by 352 percent and the number of startups tripled in the same period.
The proliferation of capital owners in the kingdom, with 15 licenses from the ministry to set up offices in Saudi Arabia, helped foster community development.
The Saudi Central Bank and the Saudi Financial Markets Authority also funded emerging financial technology companies.
The policies that allow international entrepreneurs to obtain an entrepreneurial license with 100 percent ownership of their company within three hours have opened the door to global investments for the fintech ecosystem in Riyadh.
The Saudi Ministry of Investment issued 350 licenses of this type in 2020, and the government and regulators are investing heavily to promote financial technology in the economy and the financial sector under Vision 2030.
With 95 percent of companies in the kingdom admitting they faced cyberattacks in the past year, securing the rapid rise in fintech remains a challenge.
The arrival of global companies, such as IBM, with a focus on providing cybersecurity services, promises to protect Riyadh’s prominent position in the digital finance sector.