Dream Desert $ 500 Bill Prince: Toys Cars, Robot Dinosaurs and Giant Artificial Moon


SHARMA, Saudi Arabia – This seaside corner in north-west Saudi is so unpredictable that the rich resources that a group of consultants could identify are sunlight and “unlimited access to salt water.”

But the Saudi Prince Mohammed Salon crown Salman did not see land without success when he landed a helicopter here a few years ago. He saw the future— and he developed a plan for a $ 500 billion city state to cover 10,000 square miles of deserted rocky and empty coast to attract the world's best 'minds and talents' to the best jobs. the world pays the best city in the world.

They will fly drone taxis to work and clean robots of their homes. Their city will replace Silicon Valley in technology, Hollywood in the entertainment and the French Riviera as a place for holidays. It will run a genetic modification project to make people stronger.

These ideas are set out in 2,300 pages of confidential documents by consultants in Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Co.. and Oliver Wyman who reviewed The Wall Street Journal, and they were interviewed in interviews with people involved in the project called Neom, portmanteau of the Greek word “newydd” and the Arabic word for “future.” , dated September 2018, the most detailed look of Neom and its planning since the project was published in 2017.

The crown prince, known as the MBS, to help implement its imaginary city, led the consultants to create an expensive mix of science fiction and corporate disturbances affected by uncomfortable realities: Local tribes would be forcibly relocated. Judges would report directly to the king, and operating under Sharia law, or Islamic jurisprudence, to a court system developed by law firm Latham & Watkins and “independent”.

Saudi coron Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who speaks to US journalist Maria Bartiromo, wants Neom to create new industries in entertainment, tourism and renewable energy and attract residents from around the world according to planning documents.


FAYEZ NURELDINE / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

“This was an automated city where we can look at everything,” said a board based “Neom's MBS-based”, according to documents – a city “where a computer can commit crimes”. not to report them or where all citizens can be traced. ”

Neom's board accepted the recommendations of the consultants, the documents show. The consultancy firms and Latham refused to comment on the documents, which were completed before the complaints were alleged to have been killed by the journalist, MBS Khashoggi, according to Arabian officials. Former Neom employees and people familiar with the project say that they do not know how much of the plan will be due to potential funding issues and technological constraints.

The Arabian government did not respond to comments on plans for Neom.

Nadhmi al-Nasr, Neom's chief executive, said the building work was underway for a project “which is focused on the future and the scene.” T


fayez nureldine / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

“Neom belongs to all things that need a future and a visualization,” Neom CEO Nadhmi al Nasr said in an email statement. “So we are talking about technology that is cutting edge and beyond – and in some cases still being developed and perhaps theoretically.” He said that the construction work is underway. The first projects include airport and resort, Neom said in a statement. The government has also built a palace at the site.

Neom is the centerpiece of MBS translating an oil-dependent insulating kingdom into a different and diverse economy. Rather than relying on petroleum income to fund purchases from foreign countries, MBS said that it wants Saudi Arabia to buy goods and services that Saudis currently buys abroad. It is recommended by Neom as an area of ​​Massachusetts size with car factories, hospitals, high-tech companies and resorts to keep Saudis at home.

But the plan to build Neomon $ 500 billion from scratch, rather than investing in the current Arabian cities, shows the long-term problems of the kingdom as well as the ambitions of MBS. Foreign companies have long avoided investment due to an opaque legal system, corruption, and social stringency which prevents alcohol and requires women to obtain travel. The MBS found that these structures were so deep that it was easier to develop a new city than to change the existing ones.

“Starting Neom from the outset, with independent systems and regulations, will ensure that the best services are available without social boundaries,” he said at the first board meeting at Neom, according to the documents.

Neom is the largest and most ambitious in a series of futures cities developed by Gulf leaders to help diversify from oil dependence. In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are large commercial hubs, as well as the capital of Qatar, Doha.


Photo Diagram with Anders Nilsen, Photo: Bloomberg News

The Jetsons come to Saudi Arabia

A crown prince of Saudi Arabia wants to stretch desert barren filled with a future state-city with Jetsons style. The project, set out in planning documents produced by a group of US consultants, is so ambitious that it encompasses a number of technologies that are not yet in existence.

  • 1. Flying Taxi: t Taxi scientists could take to work. “The drive is just for fun, no longer for transport (eg Ferrari drive near the coast with a nice scene),” shows planning documents.
  • 2. Cloud Seeding: The wilderness does not always think the wilderness. A “cloud seeding” could make it rain.
  • 3. Maids Robot: Don't worry about housework. While scientists are working, robots would clean their homes.
  • 4. Quality Medical Facilities: t Scientists would work on a project to modify the human genome to make people stronger.
  • 5. Excellent Restaurants: t Food in the city would be fine with the “highest rate of Michelin-starred restaurants per inhabitant.” T
  • 6. Dinosaur Robots: Residents could visit a robot rebel island in Jurassic Park Park.
  • 7. Sand Glow-in-the-Dark: Prince of Crown beach wants to believe in darkness, like a watch face.
  • 8. Alcohol: t Alcohol is banned in the rest of Saudi Arabia. But it probably won't be here, tell people who are familiar with the plan.
  • 9. Robot Arts Martot: t Robots would do more than clean your house. They could also hit one with a “robo-cage fight,” one of many sports available.
  • 10. Security: Cameras, drones and facial recognition technology are all intended to be tracked at all times.
  • 11. Moon: A huge artificial moon would light up every night. One suggestion suggests that it could streamline images from the outer space, acting as an iconic landmark.

Neom Building will require funding. The country has recently run budget deficits, and MBS is committed to commitments such as a $ 45 billion investment in the Softbank Group Corp fund. The kingdom used money borrowed from abroad to fund Neom's first degrees, according to people who are familiar with the subject.

Neom's dependence on foreign consultants reflects another very strong challenge. As a young nation without a single university until 1957, Saudi Arabia did not historically have expertise in planning, engineering and management. He went to foreign experts like McKinsey, who worked in Saudi Arabia for over 40 years. McKinsey increased his Saudi team by securing a local consultancy called Elixir in 2017.

Recently, dependence on foreigners for the Arabian government and its international partners has been a sensitive subject, according to government officials. In 2017 the government kept partner-McKinsey-founder Elixir – during a corruption crackdown. It was locked and hit during a year, the Journal previously reported, before being released without explanation. McKinsey and the Arabian government refused to comment on the case.

Government officials – including MBS, say people who have spoken to it recently – if the kingdom is paying more to Western consultants than they are. Neom said in a statement that the consultants did not use this project as an opportunity to run the bills up from Saudi Arabia. “The involvement of councilors was productive and valuable,” he said.

Neom documents show the wide range of consultants' work. In addition to recommendations on urban planning, economic, legal and regulatory systems, McKinsey specifies using “large data” – the use of computers to filter through information sizes – and a “13-pillar vitality framework” to quantify. what people want to live in Neom and objectively creating the best place in the world.

Share your Ideas

What would you like to see built in a new city state of the future in Saudi Arabia? How would you like to live? Join the conversation below.

The planning documents are also too long in faith. Neom aims to have “zero / stress-related diseases,” and residents working at start-up companies or companies like


Saudi officials are trying to encourage incentives such as freedom of energy and subsidized labor, according to planning documents. Amazon spokesman refused to comment. The children of the residents would be educated in the “main education system on the planet,” with innovations such as “hologram faculty”.

Although there is a desert around Neom, there will be many farmers markets. The temperatures will be greener than Dubai, the documents say, and are directed through “cloud seeding” to make it rain. Because they live in the city with the “highest per capita GDP,” says the documents, a resident could engage in fancy dinner; Neom aims to have the “highest rate of Michelin starred restaurants per inhabitant.” T

To keep Neom safe, cameras, drones and facial recognition technology will allow Arabian information services to track everyone. “Everything can be recorded,” said the original board. Neom planners spoke

International Business Machines

for building identity software, tell people who are familiar with the conversations. IBM stated that it did not intend to tender for recognition technology contracts at Neom and refused to comment on other potential project work.

Neom said in a statement that the project is about “technology in all sectors such as mobility, livability, health and medical, and this will ensure that we are providing the most attractive living environment on the planet.”

It is a major goal to attract large Western companies. The Neom board in 2017 recommended a guarantee


billions in annual government purchases in exchange for Tesla to be moving cars to Neom – and give a bet to the kingdom. Saudi Arabia's wealthy sovereign fund spent last $ 2 billion to buy 5% of Tesla. Chief Executive Elon Musk said later that he was giving Tesla privately with the help of Saudi Arabia, but later he turned himself and said he did not intend to do so.

The MBS also wants to host innovation as the “Apollo” project with Softbank Group Corp, which will create a “new career from birth to death in line with genetic mutations to increase human strength and IQ.” Softbank refused to comment.

One reward for foreign companies is an investment fund that will give businesses money “which can contribute to Neom's vision and future,” said a Neom spokesperson, “by locating their headquarters there or selling goods and services. to Neom. ”

Officials asked foreign companies to invest in Neom as a condition for receiving contracts, tell people involved in these talks. One person involved in making such offers to IBM and other companies was concerned whether the proposals were unethical, this person said.

Neom stated in a statement that its governance standards help to “ensure a fair and competitive award of services.” IBM refused to comment.

It is a surprising feature in the Saudi Arabia custodian to recommend alcohol approval, to people who are familiar with the plan. With boundaries comprising land acquired from Jordan and Egypt, Neom would function primarily as a distinct country. This enables MBS to argue that Western norms such as drinking and bare female leaders will be introduced to the land of sacred Muslim cities Mecca and Medina.

To develop Neom, the Arabian government plans to relocate more than 20,000 people forcibly, whose families have lived in the area for many years. Boston Group Group relocation plan said only that it would take to 2025. Encouraged by fast moving MBS, the date was transferred up to 2022.

Residents here say that they have only heard rumors. Some say there would be disastrous relocation. “You are attracting a whole society. For us, it's like death, ”said one.

The beach at Sharma, a small village which is part of the kingdom plan to create a new state city in a seaside corner of Saudi Arabia.



Weeks after Neom announced in 2017, residents visited the regional governor Prince Fahd bin Sultan to find out if they were to be transferred. He said he could not help, according to the residents. Prince Fahd spokesman did not answer questions.

Boston Consulting Group consultants provided advice following World Bank standards for reinforced relocation. The board decided that some residents may be able to stay if they are retrained to have Necessary skills. “Resettlement of residents for public works projects is not uncommon in the UK,” said Neom's statement. People will receive compensation and benefits including a scholarship program to “get the skills needed to be part of Neom's vision,” he said.

Neom started about four years ago, a person familiar with him, soon after MBS's father became king. The prince put a map of his country on Google Earth in view of the economy to restore the economy and saw that the fourth north-west was a white slate, according to this man.

Site planned

Neom city

He flew then and he found a place where summer temperatures are at 100 degrees, but the nearby mountains get snow in winter. In a Neom Board meeting in January 2017, the MBS made clear ambitions: “The Prince“ makes the world's largest city with GDP publishing, and she wanted to understand what he can get up to. 500 billion USD investment, ”according to the planning documents.

Looking forward to building a bridge across the Red Sea, MBS decided to get the Egyptian President to find two uninhabited islands, encouraging protests from thousands of Egyptians. And he received a message for Israeli leaders feeling their reaction to Neom. They said Israeli companies could sell technology to Saudi Arabia for the project, says someone who is familiar with the subject.

The Israeli government did not respond to a request for views. The Egyptian government could not be found for comment.

To achieve his vision, MBS hired in 2017 Klaus Kleinfeld, who was Chief Executive of Arconic Inc., spinoff of aluminum manufacturer.

Alcoa Corp.

And raise costs. Since the bridge to Egypt could not follow MBS route due to seismic defect, re-engineering gave the bridge estimate to $ 125 billion, according to a person who was familiar with the subject.

Kleinfeld was recommended to develop a deputy masterplan for Neom's streets. “I don't want any roads or paths. We'll be flying cars in 2030! '' Said the prince, according to someone who reviewed minutes of meetings. Mr Kleinfeld left and deputized Neom last year.

Mr Kleinfeld, the Arabian government and Neom refused to comment.

Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman crown, right, by Klaus Kleinfeld in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has appointed Kleinfeld as Neom's chief executive in October 2017. Kleinfeld left last year.


Saudi / Reuters press agency

Another challenge is the appearance of the new city's legal system. Latham found that foreign investors had presented “red flags”, according to the planning documents, in Saudi Arabia's opaque, incredible and religious justice system. He proposed a new structure in which all judges – and to whom he will report – will be appointed to the king. They perform, like regular Arabian judges, Sharia law, shows planning documents.

“Neom's law will be based on best practices in the areas of economic and business law, as well as feedback from potential investors and residents,” Neom said in the Wall Street Journal statement.

Building on Neom is underway using thousands of foreign workers of which six were in one room of development in a tiny room on 17 June. Earlier this year, MBS issued a decree about an area called Silver Beach. “I want the sand to rise,” he said, according to two people who knew the project. Engineers have no safe way to do it.

Every night, he told the children, a fleet of drills should create the illusion of rising moon – crescent, half, full. “That's what he wants in the future,” said a former executive.

To do this, Boston Consulting Group proposed to partner with NASA to make the fake moon “the world's largest.” T

Write Justin Scheck at justin.scheck@wsj.com, Rory Jones at rory.jones@wsj.com and Summer Said at summer.said@wsj.com

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