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King Abdullah Economic City

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Saudi Arabia



Local time
Tuesday 6:44 AM

Makkah (Mecca)

Time zone

173 km²

Area code

Postal Code
(5 digit codes beginning with 23; e.g. 23434)

22°C, Wind N at 13 km/h, 56% Humidity

kaec king abdullah economic city 2015

King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC, /ˈkk/; Arabic: مدينة الملك عبدالله الإقتصادية‎‎) is a megaproject announced in 2005 by king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the then king of Saudi Arabia.


Map of King Abdullah Economic City Saudi Arabia

King abdullah economic city tour


With a total development area of 173 km² (66.8 sq mi), the city is located along the coast of the Red Sea, around 100 km north of Jeddah, the commercial hub of Saudi Arabia, the city will also be approximately an hour and 20 minutes away from the city of Mecca and 3 hours from Medina by car and an hour away from all Middle Eastern capital cities by plane. The total cost of the city is around SR 207 billion, with the project being built by Emaar Properties. A Tadawul-listed company created from Emaar Properties, a Dubai-based public joint stock company and one of the world’s largest real estate companies, and SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority) which is the main facilitator of the project.

The city, along with another five economic cities, is a part of an ambitious "10x10" program to place Saudi Arabia among the world's top ten competitive investment destinations by the year 2010, planned by SAGIA. The first stage of the city is planned to be completed in 2010, while the whole city is going to be fully completed by 2020. The city will help diversify the nation's oil-based economy by bringing direct foreign and domestic investments. The city also will help create up to one million jobs. When it's completed, KAEC will be larger than Washington DC.

It is being built along with 4 new cities in Saudi Arabia to control sprawl and congestion in existing cities.

City components

The city is divided into six main components: Industrial Zone, Sea Port, Residential Areas, Sea Resort, Educational Zone, and a Central Business District (CBD) which includes the Financial Island.

Industrial Valley

The industrial zone is estimated to cover 63 km². The 4,400 hectares (11,000 acres) of land will be dedicated to industrial and light manufacturing facilities—identified as key growth drivers for the Saudi economy—and can now host 2,700 industrial tenants. The jobs created estimated to be in industrial and light industries (330,000); research and development (150,000); business and office (200,000); services (115,000); hospitality (60,000) and education and community services (145,000). The "Plastics Valley" planned within the zone will use raw materials readily available in Saudi Arabia to produce high-end plastics used in automotive, biomedical, construction and food packaging industries. As of April 2016, 127 companies signed contracts to build and operate factories in the city.

King Abdullah Port

King Abdullah Port (KAP) is estimated to cover 13.8 square kilometers, it will be the largest in the region with a capacity of over 10 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of containers per year. (Target to 20 million) The first concession was given to National Container Terminal (NCT) and the operator is currently operating on four container berths. The port will have facilities to handle cargo and dry bulk, and will be equipped to receive the world’s largest vessels notably with its state-of-the-art Ship-to-shore cranes able to handle 25 containers across and the deepest draft in the region -18m. The port is the kingdom's first to be owned and funded by the private sector.

Residential areas

The residential area is planned to include 260,000 apartments and 56,000 villas. It will be divided into smaller residential, commercial, and recreational areas. Parks and green spaces will be used extensively throughout the residential area. The area is estimated to be home for around half a million residents, and another ten thousand tourists. Each district would feature its own public amenities, such as mosques, shops and recreational venues.

Sea resort

The Resorts Area will be designed to feature services and amenities, hoping to draw both local and international tourists. Set to become a major destination on the map of Saudi Arabia and the map of the Middle East as a whole. It will include hotels, shopping centers and other recreational facilities. The number of hotel rooms and suites are proposed to be 25,000 hotel rooms in more than 120 hotels. Among the tourist draws at the resort is an 18-hole golf course, with training facilities and driving range. An equestrian club, yacht club and a range of water sports will also be constructed.

Educational zone

The Educational Zone is a part of plan to bring the Saudis capabilities and aspirations in technology to globally competitive levels. The Educational Zone is planned to consist of multi-university campus flanked by two Research & Development parks. The multi-university campus is designed to accommodate 18,000 students, and a 7,500 faculty and staff members.

Central business district

The central business district (CBD) is planned to offer 3.8 km² of office space, hotels and mixed-use commercial space. The Financial Island, within the CBD, has now been doubled in area to cover 14 hectares (35 ac) of land, which will be the largest regional financial nerve center for the world’s leading banks, investment houses and insurance groups.


On June 12, 2008, King Abdullah visited the city and evaluated the progress. He also inaugurated projects and initiatives with a total worth of $35 billion (SR 130 billion). These projects include:

The king also inaugurated the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The university is 20 km away south of the city in the village of Thuwal. It opened in September 2009.

Emaar, E.C. and SAGIA have also signed several memorandums of understanding (MoU) and contracts with international and local developers in many fields. These developers include:

  • Orange Business Services, is trusted advisor to the project and will oversee the design of the Smart City telecoms services.
  • Ericsson, to supply, build, integrate operate and manage multiplay end-to-end fixed broadband network.
  • Cisco Systems, to design infrastructure for IT networks in the city.
  • GEMS World Academy, to design, build, and operate the first school in the city which will be opened by September 2009.
  • StrateSphere Enterprises and PolymerOhio, to develop KAEC Plastics Valley.
  • CEMCCO, to develop infrastructure for the Industrial Zone.
  • DP World, to develop KAEC Sea Port to be the largest in the Red Sea and one of the top 10 largest ports in the world with a capacity to handle 20 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent container units).
  • Mars GCC, to establish its own manufacturing facility in the Industrial Zone.
  • Capri Capital Partners, to develop a mixed-use project with a total worth of $2 billion (SR 7.5 billion).
  • Freyssinet Saudi Arabia, to develop the Business Park at Bay La Sun Village.
  • Saudi Binladin Group, to construct 16 residential towers within Bay La Sun Village. The towers are scheduled for completion in September 2009.
  • Siemens, to undertake the electrical transmission and distribution (T&D) works for the first phase of KAEC. The work is scheduled to be completed by 2010.
  • Emaar, E.C has also launched two residential areas, Bay La Sun Village, and Esmeralda Suburb which includes a golf community. Both of the areas received an overwhelming response from investors. Bay La Sun is in itself a fully integrated community that includes several new initiatives including:

  • Raffles International School.
  • Bay La Sun Business Park.
  • Bay La Sun Hotel and Mall, which were also inaugurated by the king when he visited the city.
  • Transport

    KAEC will be served by Al-Haramain High speed line. The construction of the station is expected to finish by 2016.

    Main developers

  • Emaar Properties
  • In fiction

    The city is the destination of Alan Clay, the protagonist in Dave Eggers's 2012 novel A Hologram for the King.


    King Abdullah Economic City Wikipedia

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