The market should not expect a gold rush into Saudi Arabia, according to Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm.

“I think it’s going to take a while for the international community to watch what’s going on in Saudi and then engage and then invest. That’s pretty logical. Whenever you see a major change, you want to see how’s it going to work,” said Schwarzman, referring to overall reform during the Saudi panel in Davos.

Still, Schwarzman was upbeat about the prospects for new industries, particularly entertainment and leisure, as Salman eases strict social regulations.

“Everybody likes to either go to the movies or go to a theme park or do things that everyone in the world does that the Saudis haven’t done,” he said. “How is that going to fail?”

The Alshaya Group, a Kuwait-based operator of retail franchises, has plans to invest billions in shopping centers in Saudi Arabia, Executive Chairman Mohammed Alshaya told the panel. He claimed banks are more interested this year than last year in funding Saudi projects.


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