Apple and Amazon are in licensing discussions with Riyadh on investing in Saudi Arabia, two sources told Reuters, as part of the Saudi Vision 2030.
Both companies already sell products in Saudi Arabia via third parties but they and other global tech giants have yet to establish a direct presence.
Amazon’s discussions are being led by cloud computing division Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Luring Apple and Amazon would further Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious economic development plans and raise the companies’ profile in an affluent market, which already boasts some of the highest internet and smartphone use in the world.
About 70 percent of the Saudi population is under 30 and frequently glued to social media.
A licensing agreement for Apple stores with Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) is expected by February, with an initial retail store targeted for 2019, said two sources familiar with the discussions.
Amazon’s talks are in earlier stages and no specific date has been set for investment plans, they told Reuters.
Apple already holds second place in the Saudi mobile phone market behind Samsung, according to market researcher Euromonitor.
Amazon acquired Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com earlier in 2017, opening access for Amazon retail goods to be sold in the kingdom.