NEOM Megacity: Pioneering Saudi Arabia’s Futuristic Urban Endeavor

Collaboration between China and Saudi Arabia for NEOM presents a compelling opportunity for both countries.

In a quest for global investment and collaboration, NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s groundbreaking megacity project, recently concluded a strategic tour to China – including the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen – aimed at attracting Chinese investors. The tour reached its apex in Hong Kong, where NEOM’s ambitious vision was showcased, inviting stakeholders to join in its realization.

In partnership with Hong Kong’s Belt and Road Office, NEOM’s roadshow journeyed through key Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, before culminating in Hong Kong. Each stop provided potential investors with immersive experiences and presentations, highlighting NEOM’s progress, milestones, and numerous partnership opportunities.

The highlight of the event, “Discover NEOM: A New Future by Design,” offered guests insights into NEOM’s flagship projects, such as The Line, a revolutionary 170-km-long urban corridor; Oxagon, reshaping industrial paradigms; Trojena, a mountain retreat; and Sindalah, a lavish island destination in the Red Sea. Through these endeavors, NEOM aims to redefine urban living by harmonizing nature conservation, human well-being, and economic prosperity.

Launched in 2017 by Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, NEOM is a futuristic region that encompasses an area of around 26,500 square kilometers in northwest Saudi Arabia. With an investment of $500 billion led by the Public Investment Fund, NEOM is a place that prioritizes people and nature, creating a new model for sustainable living, working and prospering. The entire NEOM will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. NEOM forms part of the Saudi Vision 2030 plan to diversify the country’s economy to reduce its dependence on oil.

According to the information officially released, Neom will contain numerous cities, resorts and other developments, including four major projects The Line, Oxagon, Trojena and Sindalah.

NEOM revealed the plan for industrial city Oxagon in November 2021. (Photo/NEOM)

The Line, which is the most well-known project of NEOM, is planned to be a 170-kilometre linear city that will house nine million people. It will run from east to west across the Neom region. According to the developer, the city will consist of two parallel, 500-meter-high, linear skyscrapers standing 200 meters apart. The buildings will be clad with mirrored facades.

Oxagon is planned as an octagon-shaped port city that will be built on the Red Sea in the far south of the Neom region. According to Neom’s developer, the port and logistics hub will be the “world’s largest floating structure”.

Trojena is planned as ski resort in the Sarwat Mountains near the north of the Neom region. The 60-square-kilometer skiing and outdoor-activity resort will offer year-round skiing and is set to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games.

Sindalah is planned as an island resort within the Red Sea. Aimed at the yachting community, the 840,000-square-meter island will have an 86-berth marina and numerous hotels.

NEOM will be a pioneering flagship project of green development without compromising the environment. So, it will be highly integrated with high-techs, environment-friendly materials and renewable energy, as well as new ideas, designs and solutions. Saudi Arabia welcomes the participation of international partners in the investment and construction of this huge project. Saudi Arabia also highly values China’s role in the project as China is an important partner and a power with considerable expertise in infrastructure construction and renewable energy development.

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, NEOM’s CEO, expressed gratitude for the support garnered from the finance and business sectors throughout the tour. He emphasized NEOM’s tangible progress and its dedication to fostering collaboration, particularly with Hong Kong, towards a shared vision of a brighter future.

Echoing this sentiment, Tarek Qaddumi, NEOM’s Executive Director, underscored the project’s significance as one of the most forward-thinking initiatives of the 21st century. With a strong focus on sustainable development, Qaddumi highlighted NEOM’s role in tackling global challenges like rapid urbanization and environmental preservation.

Algernon Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, reiterated the city’s commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia in realizing its vision. He highlighted Hong Kong’s status as a global financial and innovation hub, emphasizing the potential for collaboration between Hong Kong and NEOM under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), leveraging the city’s professional services and talent pool.

The conclusion of the tour in Hong Kong marks another milestone in NEOM’s global outreach endeavors, following engagements in key markets worldwide. As a cornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, NEOM is positioned as a flagship project driving economic diversification and innovation in the kingdom.

China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) completed Tunnel No. 3 in the NEOM tunnel project on Jan. 15, 2024. (Photo/CRCC)

Simultaneously, a Saudi Arabian delegation has embarked on a parallel visit to major Chinese cities to promote NEOM and explore potential partnerships. Closed-door forums facilitated discussions between key stakeholders on collaboration opportunities between Chinese municipal governments and NEOM.

At the heart of NEOM’s vision lies The Line, a transformative urban concept designed to accommodate 9 million residents while minimizing environmental impact. Qaddumi emphasized The Line’s role in addressing the burgeoning urban population globally, offering a sustainable solution with a significantly smaller land footprint compared to traditional cities.

NEOM’s commitment to sustainability is further demonstrated by projects like Sindalah, a resort emphasizing coastal conservation, and its reliance on renewable energy sources to power the entire megacity. Launched in 2017, NEOM mirrors Saudi Arabia’s strategic shift away from fossil fuel dependence towards a knowledge-based economy.

With the potential to reshape Saudi Arabia’s socio-economic landscape and inspire similar ventures worldwide, NEOM’s success hinges on robust partnerships, innovative solutions, and an unwavering commitment to sustainability. With its pioneering approach to urban development, NEOM stands poised to make a lasting impact on the future of Saudi Arabia and beyond.

In recent years, China has become a leading partner of many countries in their domestic development as China has not only strong power in infrastructure construction but also competitive solutions in manufacturing, telecommunication, renewable energy, agriculture and urban development, etc.

Collaboration between China and Saudi Arabia for NEOM presents a compelling opportunity for both countries. Leveraging China’s expertise in various sectors alongside Saudi Arabia’s ambitious vision for NEOM can lead to remarkable advancements in urban development, sustainability, and economic prosperity. Together, they can create a dynamic partnership that fosters innovation, drives growth, and sets new standards for modern cities. By pooling their resources, knowledge, and talent, China and Saudi Arabia can pave the way for NEOM to become a global model of collaboration and success.


The article reflects the author’s opinions, and not necessarily the views of China Focus.