International companies racing to expand their investments in 2nd Saudi World Defense Show


In anticipation of the second edition of the World Defense Show (WDS) set to take place in Riyadh in February 2024, a wave of interest has surged among leading Saudi, regional, and international companies. These companies are actively pursuing opportunities to expand their investments by participating in the event.

A remarkable 93 percent of the available exhibition space, totaling around 47,000 square meters, has already been reserved by exhibitors. This achievement is noteworthy as it occurred a full five months before the scheduled launch of this prominent global defense and security showcase. An integral component of Vision 2030, the WDS aligns with the Kingdom’s ambition to achieve the localization of 50 percent of its military equipment spending by the year 2030.

Under the patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) is orchestrating the event from February 4 to 8. The event embodies the government’s commitment to organizing one of the premier defense and security exhibitions globally. With a focus on cutting-edge developments in land, sea, air, space, and security domains, the event serves as a platform for connecting with decision-makers in defense sectors worldwide.

The second installment of the show aims to attract 750 exhibitors from 45 countries, accommodate 115 official delegations, and welcome approximately 100,000 visitors hailing from both within the Kingdom and abroad. Pavilion highlights will include major contributions from China, Turkey, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates, along with pavilions representing South Korea, Russia, Croatia, Austria, Poland, Estonia, Greece, Ukraine, and others.

This edition of the show introduces new programs, such as “the Future Platform of Defense,” “the Future of Defense Forum,” “Journey to the Future,” “Space Platform,” and “Communication and Acquaintance Meetings.” These additions complement the established program lineup that encompasses air shows, accompanying conferences, and live demonstration areas.

The opening day of the exhibition is set to host significant figures, delegations, exhibitors, and media personnel. The much-anticipated “Future of Defense Forum” will convene prominent speakers to share their insights, ideas, and discussions on the future of defense and security.

Within the “Future of Defense Platform,” inventors will showcase their innovative ideas to potential investors, underscoring the continuous need for industry advancement. The “Space Arena” will spotlight rapid advancements in space technology and its pivotal role in shaping the future of military, defense, and security industries.

The “Journey to the Future” program promises a unique experience for visitors, highlighting activities and features that underscore the future of defense. This interactive approach is poised to enhance engagement between attendees and exhibitors.

In the inaugural edition of the World Defense Show held last year in March, exhibitors overwhelmingly praised the event for its world-class displays and networking opportunities. Impressively, 77 percent of companies viewed the event as a focal point for technology and innovation. With 82 percent rating the exhibition’s quality as excellent, the show’s success exceeded expectations.

Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, who also chairs the Board of Directors of GAMI, inaugurated the first edition on behalf of King Salman. The event garnered substantial participation from over 590 companies worldwide, sparking unprecedented interest from both local and global defense markets.

The inaugural edition boasted 600 exhibitors, 65,000 commercial visits spanning 45 countries, and the presence of 100 official delegations. It also attracted 16,000 registered exhibitors and 26 of the top 40 global defense companies, culminating in contracts worth SR29.7 billion ($7.7 billion).

As the show emerged as a leading defense exhibition, it positioned itself to fulfill the Saudi government’s goals. These objectives encompass elevating the Kingdom’s global status in the defense and security industry, leveraging advanced technologies, knowledge exchange, idea presentation, and product displays to shape the industry’s future.

The Saudi government envisions the exhibition becoming one of the world’s top three defense and security industry showcases by 2030. Furthermore, the nation aspires to play a pivotal role in global supply chains related to land, sea, air, space, and security defense fields.

By hosting high-profile international delegations, exhibitors, and visitors, the exhibition contributes to international business tourism. It also aligns with the nation’s aim of localizing over 50 percent of government expenditure on defense and military products and services by the year 2030.

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