>> Apple and Amazon are in talks with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Two sources confirmed to Reuters that both companies are looking to invest in Saudi, as part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's effort to modernize the ultra conservative country and diversify the nation beyond reliance on crude oil.
Apple and Amazon already sell their products in the kingdom through third parties. But the tech giants are now looking to set up shop and sell to consumers and businesses directly. A joint licensing agreement between Apple and Saudi Arabia's foreign investment authority is expected by February, with Apple stores set to open in 2019.
And Amazon is in talks to bring its cloud computing business to the country, but those discussions remain in early stages. Reuters Tech Correspondent Stephen Nellis.>> The Middle East in general is a really important market for Apple. It tends to be very wealthy and also has a high proportion of young people that are making decisions now about what kind of phone and computer they want, that they're likely to stick with for decades to come.
Prince Mohammed is on a mission to reform the kingdom and attract Silicon Valley heavy hitters. On a visit to the US last year, the Prince met with executives at Microsoft, Facebook, and Uber. Sources told Reuters that Apple and Amazon top Saudi's list of firms they had hoped to attract to advance their reforms.