Knight Dragon seeks to transform Saudi Arabia’s real estate
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How Knight Dragon plans to revolutionise Saudi Arabia’s real estate landscape

How Knight Dragon plans to revolutionise Saudi Arabia’s real estate landscape

The developer shares the same vision as the authorities in Saudi Arabia and the company plans to open an office in Riyadh in Q4 2023

Knight Dragon’s Sammy Lee

Knight Dragon is one of the biggest players in the property and real estate sector. Would you please tell us more about the investment strategy?

Knight Dragon is one of the world’s biggest property developers and currently, the company is working on the Greenwich Peninsula, potentially one of the largest income-generating projects in the UK and Europe according to Sammy Lee, vice-chairman and founder. The developer has built and sold over two million square feet of residential property.

When done on a large scale as Knight Dragon is doing in the Greenwich Peninsula and The Knightsbridge, real estate is a long-term business. The developer currently has more than 5,000 tenants living in the Greenwich Peninsula area and is expecting more in the medium term.

Most investors believe real estate is quite traditional and maybe even slightly dull, but Knight Dragon is doing things differently. The company sees real estate as a modern, dynamic industry and it is leveraging new innovative technology solutions to advance the appeal of the sector.

Blockchain, tokenisation and decentralisation are redefining real estate. Settling utilities and management fees via blockchain/crypto is a possibility. Fractional ownership via tokenisation is achievable. There are numerous innovative and sustainable aspects that the company is considering, and the management is approaching property development from a different perspective.

Having already tokenised one of its properties, Knight Dragon seeks to expand its expertise by tapping into high-growth markets such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. From a strategy perspective, the developer is looking at tokenisation, ratification of blockchain, new green construction methods using modular technology and environmental-friendly lightweight concrete to name just a few.

These are all areas where Knight Dragon has world-class expertise and where we can add value to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region generally.

When did you launch your Middle East operations? With the expansion in Saudi Arabia, tell us about the opportunities that you’re seeing in that market.

Knight Dragon's GreenwichKnight Dragon plans to open an office in Riyadh in the last quarter of the year or the first quarter of 2024. The developer shares the same vision with Saudi Arabia and other governments across the Middle East to provide housing solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of the people, with a focus on sustainability and technology.

The real estate sector has been slower in the adoption of AI and other emerging technologies, however, the range of AI-based tools and technologies available to the industry is expanding rapidly in the Middle East.

With a vision to build large-scale projects by 2030, the real estate sector is set to accelerate economic diversification in Saudi Arabia while boosting the growth of the non-oil sector.

The kingdom has a vibrant economy, a revitalised presence on the global stage and a younger and growing population compared with many other countries.

Saudi Arabia’s housing demand is projected to increase by over 50% to 153,000 houses by 2030. How does Knight Dragon expect to contribute to the country’s housing programme under Vision 2030?

With Knight Dragon’s vision, expertise and global experience, there is much common ground and potential for value sharing.

The property developer will contribute to the growth of Saudi Arabia’s real estate market through four specific ways: sharing expertise in building tokenisation, leveraging blockchain to add value to the real estate sector, driving sustainability through integrated modular construction and the use of pioneering lightweight concrete technology.

Most countries in the GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, have relaxed home ownership rules. In your view how much is the real estate industry contributing to economic growth and urban development trends in the region?

Greenwich PeninsulaHomeownership is a yardstick of success across all cultures no matter where one comes from or their status in society. The move by authorities in Saudi Arabia to relax home ownership is expected to create demand from buyers – younger professionals and families.

It will also be a game changer as the kingdom seeks to attract investments into the real estate sector while opening up the economy to international markets.

What will this shift mean? Housing demand! The Middle East region – and Saudi Arabia to be specific – requires developers such as Knight Dragon to assist with town planning, expansion and growth to meet the growing demand.

Tokenisation and the application of blockchain technology are gaining momentum in other markets. How do you expect the trend to shape up in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia in particular?

Most industries are abuzz with talk and activity on cryptocurrencies, tokenisation, NFTs and blockchain and these can be leveraged to revolutionise the property industry while nurturing moonshots – innovative ideas that will shape the industry.

Blockchain, Web3 and associated developments are the future! The question is how and who is going to implement this technology and make it applicable to the traditional real estate model. This is the space that Knight Dragon seeks to occupy.

The real estate sector in the region has rebounded over the past years, how do you envision the future of the industry going forward?

Saudi Arabia and the Middle East region have fast-growing populations with a much younger demographic. Going forward, Knight Dragon believes the Saudi real estate market has room for growth and offers more opportunities for both local and foreign investors.

Read: How Saudi Arabia is resetting its real estate landscape brick by brick

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