Russell Young – Global Head of Commercial – Ngenco Ltd
As a Newcastle United supporter all my life I had an extra incentive to visit our Ngenco distributors in Saudi Arabia, given that the country’s investment office has recently purchased NUFC and secondly as a keen golfer, having seen that same investment office so successfully ruffle the feathers of the golf establishment through its LIV tour. Was this “sportswashing” a desert mirage and, nothing had changed since my last pre-covid visit in 2017? I had a real eye-opener, perhaps not on a geo-political level, or a human rights level, but just on a personal and small business level.
The first noticeable change was the visa application which previously had involved letters of invite and written applications to the Saudi Embassy in London, was completed in minutes online at probably the most efficient visa website I had ever used. This was followed by a red-eye flight, Newcastle to Paris then a Saudia Airlines flight to Riyadh, on time, comfortable, good food, just no alcohol!
I was met late at night by my host Amer who immediately took me to dinner on the way to my hotel – previously in 2017 I had to eat as a man in a different part of the restaurant to the married couples, this time there was full integration, men, women, kids, locals and tourists – the hotel was stunning, clean, efficient and friendly, pool, gym, and a breakfast which would have sat comfortably in any of the Leading Hotels of the World – I was informed by Amer that the hotel is part of a chain – The Shaza Group – where the owner, an extremely successful and wealthy person from other businesses, donates the profits of the hotel chain to various charities.
Amer Balobaid is the third generation of his family involved in the Kayan Businesses Trading Co., Ltd and are the NGENCO distributors for Saudi Arabia. They were opening a new B2B showroom in Riyadh and had invited the regional managers (all family members) from their other offices in Riyadh as well as Jeddah, Dammam, and other Saudi cities in the North, East, South and West of the country to bring their most important car manufacturing, car retailing and car bodyshop clients, to celebrate the opening. They were keen to introduce the representatives of the various international brands they distribute in Saudi Arabia of which Ngenco is one. The event lasted over 2 days and I met an array of interesting, curious, and friendly people, male and to my surprise, female customers from large and successful Saudi businesses.
Everyone was interested in learning more about NGENCO – A Paint Protection Spray (PPS) which provides equal protection to the best PPF coatings but with so many intrinsic advantages, no ugly edges spoiling the look of a vehicle, a coating that is sprayed not laid, can be polished and repaired if damaged.
Ngenco Colour Change Paint Protection gives the installer the ability to offer their customer any automotive colour available in the world which is introduced into Ngenco Clear Paint Protection Spray eliminating the need to carry huge Coloured Vinyl Wrap stock, the best of both worlds Paint Protection and Vinyl Wrap in one film.
After the opening festivities, on one day Amer took me to see some of his leading clients who had grasped the opportunity that Ngenco presents when it comes to serious paint protection – VW Group, Audi, Porsche, Bentley in their repair shops, Hyundai in 4 separate enormous repair shops throughout Riyadh as well as high end bespoke independent bodyshops – All were respectful of Kayan who had been supplying their repair shop needs for over 10 years and were eager to get up and running with Ngenco – A very successful visit, although I did not need to put much effort into the sales process!!
On the return trip to the airport we stopped to look at one of the new nightlife attractions in Riyadh, comprising an ever growing village of entertainment centres all bunched together – 5 a side football, padel courts, football team café’s and some 20+ street food vendors – concert halls soon to feature worldwide acts such as Bruno Mars all thronged with young Saudis, some boys and girls dressed as Europeans in jeans and shirts, some openly lesbian, some still dressed very traditionally, but all having fun together. For me this was the lasting impression, a country undergoing significant cultural change, hopefully not too fast, but the changes were there to be seen, not some “sportswashing” exercise to paint a false impression.
Thank you to our Ngenco Paint Protection Spray Distributor, not only for their hospitality but for their inspiring success in their 3rd generation family business.
Russell Young –
Global Head of Commercial
+44 330 024 5981
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