Huawei to open its biggest flagship store outside China in Riyadh

FILE PHOTO: Huawei logo is pictured on the headquarters building in Reading
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DUBAI (Reuters) - Chinese technology firm Huawei plans to establish a flagship store in Riyadh, the largest such store outside China, the Saudi government said on Friday.

Huawei has signed a leasing contract with Saudi Arabia's Kaden Investment for the store that will allow the Chinese company to have direct access to consumers amid rising demand for digital products and services in the kingdom, the statement said, without giving a date for the opening.

Saudi Arabia expects internet usage in the kingdom to increase from covering 82.6% of the population in 2022 from 73.2% in 2017, the Ministry of Investment statement said.

Last year the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence and Huawei also signed an MOU to recognise Arabic language and character using AI technology and with the help of researchers from the kingdom and Huawei.

The United States has told allies not to use Huawei's technology to build new 5G telecommunications networks because of concerns it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying, an accusation the firm has denied.

Some telecommunication companies in the Gulf countries, including Zain's Saudi unit Zain KSA, have signed deals to use 5G technology from Huawei.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; editing by David Evans)