PRESS RELEASE: Trade Advisory Firm Opens New Office in Saudi Arabia as Clients Secure £200m in Export Sales

06 Mar 2024 | Middle East perspective





Trade Advisory Firm Opens New Office in Saudi Arabia as Clients Secure £200m in Export Sales


Belfast-based OCO Global, an international trade and investment advisory specialist, has opened a new office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

OCO already has a 20-strong team in Dubai and is now growing its presence on the ground in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. To date OCO has helped clients in the region generate export sales of £200m.

The expansion to Riyadh aims to help companies wishing to tap into ambitious plans by the Saudi Government to transform the economy. It also coincides with the country’s recently launched Regional Headquarters (RHQ) initiative which is expected to create a surge in international companies establishing a presence in the Kingdom as a hub for Middle East & North Africa (MENA) operations.

Saudi Arabia now has the 17th largest GDP in the world and FDI to the Kingdom has increased by 41% in the last five years[1]. UK exports to Saudi reached c.£13billion in 2023, an almost 20% increase from 2022[2].

The drive to diversify the economy, accelerate competitiveness and reduce oil dependency is being delivered under the country’s Vision 2030 strategy.

The Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, PIF, valued at $776 billion, is also funding some of the world’s largest infrastructure projects. These ‘giga projects’ include new Red Sea tourism resorts and Neom, a $500bn new city which has been described as a ‘vertical Manhattan’.

Joe Hepworth, OCO’s Middle East Director, said:

“With almost 20-years’ experience of working in the region the scale of ambition and opportunity being created in Saudi is unprecedented. The Kingdom is determined to create a diversified, knowledge-based economy and is investing heavily in projects and events such as the World Expo which will be held in Riyadh in 2030.

“The process of liberalising Saudi’s economy with new laws and regulations to reduce costs, encourage entrepreneurship and protect investors’ rights is also well underway.

“OCO already works closely with a range of governments and agencies across the region, and we’ve helped private sector clients generate £200m in export sales. “Doing business in Saudi, however, still presents unique challenges, so it is essential for investors to have physical representation in the market and trusted advisors with a deep understanding of Saudi. OCO is already running innovative export programmes to help firms access Saudi Giga investment projects and the Riyadh office will further support clients navigate this exciting but sometimes perplexing market.”

Gareth Hagan, OCO’s CEO, added:

“With a dozen offices worldwide, it’s clear to OCO that growth in the Gulf and wider Middle East is accelerating and that export opportunities are multiplying. In the last few years, public awareness of the Saudi market has hugely increased behind high profile investments in sports and entertainment, That, however, only scratches the surface, and thanks to a raft of Saudi Government initiatives, vast opportunities exist as the Kingdom grows a modern, dynamic economy.

“OCO has worked with 180 clients in the region in the past decade and our experience is that there is positive sentiment towards British and Irish firms, especially if they demonstrate long-term commitment and a physical presence.

“There are particularly strong opportunities in energy, healthcare, infrastructure, technology and tourism for both large corporates and SMEs. It might seem like a daunting market to break into, but with the right research and market entry strategy, the rewards can be significant.”

Top goods exports from the UK to Saudi Arabia in 2023 included industrial machinery, jewellery and medicinal / pharmaceutical products. Leading service exports included business services, travel, finance and telecoms.

In 2024 Saudi joined the Brics group which has a combined population of 3.5billion and accounts for 28% of the global economy.


For more information:

Jonathan King



M: 077646 27297


Notes to Editor

About OCO Global

OCO Global is a leading specialist provider of trade, investment and economic development services. Headquartered in Belfast, Northern Ireland, OCO has 13 offices worldwide including London, Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris, New York, Dubai, Beijing and Shanghai.

OCO’s clients include leading national, state and regional economic development organizations such as The Department for Business and Trade (DBT), Enterprise Florida, The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) and Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), as well as private companies seeking to enter new markets or grow their domestic base, including EY, PWC, Siemens, Smiley Monroe, Pepsico and Santander.


[1] ONS, UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted (Last updated: January 2024)

[2] Department of Business & Trade Saudi Arabi factsheet (February 2024)