A second industrial city will be built in Makkah and will be operational by 2016, Al-Sharq Arabic daily reported. Saad Al-Qurashi, Makkah Chamber of Commerce board member, said the city will have an initial capital investment of SR 50 million which will grow to more than SR 1 billion in 10 years. "The city will house 50 factories and provide more than 4,000 jobs for young Saudi men and women," he added.
"The chamber and some of the city's business leaders approached the municipality to approved the piece of land donated by businessman Yousuf Al-Ahmadi," said Al-Qurashi.
"The lack of available land was the main obstacle to building the new city," he said.
He went on to reveal the donated piece of land, on the old Jeddah-Makkah road, is five million square meters and five times bigger than the required space.
Al-Qurashi expects planning will take about a year to complete and will include cooperation between the chamber, the municipality and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. "Construction work will take three years and the city is expected to be ready by 2016," he said.
The new factories will concentrate on the production of souvenirs, which are popular with pilgrims wanting to take home a gift from Makkah. "Once the factories start producing, the Kingdom will no longer have to import Haj gifts from India, China and Southeast Asia," he said. The souvenirs would display a "Made in Makkah" label.
Al-Qurashi said the market for souvenirs is SR 11 billion annually.