BY OJO SAMSON AYOMIDE with agency report
Second edition welcomes 172,000-plus attendees to become world’s largest technology event by visits. Year-on-year visitor growth and more than US$9 billion in on-show announcements see Saudi event rewrite history books. LEAP24 will run from March 4-7, 2024, with new venue set to double show size.
After setting numerous new industry records during its 2022 debut, LEAP23 has shattered benchmarks once again after confirming 172,000 attendees this year, making it the world’s largest technology event by attendance.
Organisers of Saudi Arabia’s LEAP – the world’s most visionary, and now most attended, technology event – have revealed next year’s edition, which will run from March 4-7, will move to a new home to ensure the pioneering platform continues to accelerate the Kingdom’s digital transformation.
After two game-changing outings, LEAP24 will transition to a 120,000 square metre capacity venue next year, enabling the third event to double in floor size and cater for even more innovative future technologies, digital entrepreneurs, tech startups, and high-profile guest speakers.
Powered by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in conjunction with Tahaluf – a strategic joint venture co-owned by Informa PLC and SAFCSP – LEAP’s expanded new venue will further enhance the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s position as the largest digital market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
“Momentum continues to go into orbit. In its first edition, LEAP22 enjoyed the largest debut of any technology event in history. In its second year, LEAP23 has rewritten the rule book once more to become the world’s largest technology sector event by attendance,” said Michael Champion, who heads Tahaluf, organisers of LEAP.
A core enabler in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030, the four-day LEAP23 saw an unprecedented 300,000-plus visitor registrations from more than 100 countries, and welcomed a high-profile faculty of 1,000 global investors – up from 350 last year. Comprising major investor groups, sovereign wealth funds, private family groups, as well as major venture capital and private equity funds focused on technology, LEAP23’s investor faculty boasted assets under management totalling US$2 trillion.
With on-event transactions exceeding US$9 billion – a 32 per cent year-on-year increase on the US$6.8 billion in deals announced in 2022 – LEAP23 has injected fresh foreign direct investment impetus into Saudi Arabia’s rapidly evolving digital ecosystems and startup economy. Major announcements this year have included mega infrastructure investments and multiple new data centres nationwide, a raft of billion-dollar-plus public-private partnerships, and new academies to foster and upskill homegrown talent.
During the closing remarks of LEAP23, Champion added: “There is no limit to the ambition of this event, or this nation. While the on-event investment announcements are truly unprecedented, the legacy of this year’s show will extend further and deeper than anyone can truly comprehend.
“There are 380,000 technology professionals currently working in Silicon Valley – the world’s tech capital – and there are 340,000 employed in Saudi’s technology industry. We are still only seeing the tip of the iceberg and when we consider that technology investment, adoption, innovation, and entrepreneurship are key pillars in the Kingdom’s ambitious economic diversification strategy, the potential for LEAP to power Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation and galvanise growth across the international technology arena is unlimited.”