Smart Technology Business Opportunities Between California and Qatar Discussed During Virtual Event

WASHINGTON, DC – On September 7th, US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) and its partners hosted a virtual discussion titled, “California-Qatar Smart Technology Business Opportunities.” The webinar was organized in partnership with:

  • World Trade Center of Northern California
  • Consulate of the State of Qatar in Los Angeles
  • Office of the Commercial Attaché, Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, DC
  • The California Mobility Center
  • Qatar Mobility Innovations Center
  • San Diego Chamber of Commerce

Speakers included:

  • Mansoor Al Sulaitin, Consul General of the State of Qatar in Los Angeles
  • Emily Desai, Deputy Director of International Affairs and Trade at the Governor of California’s Office of Business and Economic Development
  • Fahad Al-Dosari, The State of Qatar Commercial Attaché to the United States
  • Kevin Mather, President, World Trade Center of Northern California (WTC-NorCal)
  • Dr. Adnan Abu-Dayya, Executive Director, Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC)
  • Mark Rawson, Chief Operating Officer, California Mobility Center
  • Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors, USQBC

“Qatar has been working toward its smart cities vision for years and the country is quickly being recognized as a leader in digital transformation,” said Mansoor Al Sulaitin, Consul General of the State of Qatar in Los Angeles. “Qatar hosted the second edition of Smart City Expo Doha 2022 where more than 70 world-renowned smart city experts from over 60 countries were in attendance showcasing Qatar’s centrality and prominence in the field of Smart Technologies.”

“The State of California looks forward to strengthening the already strong commercial ties with Qatar,” said Emily Desai, Deputy Director of International Affairs and Trade at the Governor of California’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “California’s technology companies are global leaders, and we see exciting opportunities for them in the domestic Qatari market, but also to use Qatar as a foothold to expand to the entire region.”

“US companies and their technology have been critical to Qatar’s efforts to drive sustainable economic diversification and improve the quality of life for its residents,” said Fahad Al-Dosari, Qatar Commercial Attaché to the US. “Qatar and the US share a long history of commercial partnership and US firms will find many opportunities for export and investment in the Qatari economy, especially within smart city and mobility technologies.”

Moderated by Kevin Mather, President of World Trade Center of Northern California, the virtual event discussed the latest developments and opportunities in Qatar’s sustainable economy and smart city initiatives which included a panel discussion featuring speakers from Qatar Mobility Innovations Center and the California Mobility Center who discussed the recent MoU signed between the two organizations.

“QMIC has been very active in developing and deploying data-centric platforms and services in Qatar since 2009 when it was founded as one of the first market-focused innovation centers in the Middle East in the areas of intelligent mobility and smart cities,” said Dr. Adnan Abu-Dayya, Executive Director of Qatar Mobility and Innovation Center. “Through our MoU with the California Mobility Center, we hope to consolidate our expertise in further promoting the development and commercialization of smart mobility technologies, solutions, and services.”

“The California Mobility Center aims to advance mobility technologies, strategies, and policies for the benefit of people globally,” said Mark Rawson, Chief Operating Officer of the California Mobility Center. “Our collaboration with QMIC is emblematic of our drive to create exceptional opportunities and technology exchange between California and the State of Qatar.”

The MoU signed in March 2022 between the California Mobility Center and Qatar Mobility Innovations Center allows the two entities to collaborate on initiatives and activities for promoting the development and commercialization of advanced mobility technologies and services. It also opens the door for the CMC and QMIC to explore further steps towards a definitive agreement to mutually support each other’s initiatives and to work collaboratively to meet shared goals.

“This event showcases one of the many business opportunities between Qatar and California,” said Kevin Mather, President of the World Trade Center of Northern California. “California companies can succeed globally, and we look forward to more companies expanding their exports and investments in Qatar.”

Qatar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications launched the Smart Qatar Program (TASMU), which focuses on harnessing the power of technology and innovation to drive sustainable economic diversification. This one-of-a-kind smart city solution connects all sectors and smart solutions. It is one of the pioneering national projects adopted by MOTC and serves as the main nucleus for achieving digital progress to lead smart states globally.

"Qatar is already a regional hub for smart solutions and digital transformation," said Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of US-Qatar Business Council. "With the country’s investment-friendly ecosystem including TASMU, Qatar Financial Centre, Qatar Science & Technology Park, and Qatar Free Zones, among others, the country is well positioned to help American technology companies tap Qatar's domestic market and the wider region as well."

Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) is focused on being a leading hub for SMART city investors and those looking to expand into the wider Middle East and the surrounding region. The QFC is already a leading platform to firms in the space – having licensed 122 digital firms in recent years. Many of the licensed digital firms have initially come to capitalize on promising domestic opportunities. However, as a major licensing platform in the Middle East, QFC actively works to advance the international opportunity set for its service firms in partner jurisdictions such as Kuwait, Pakistan, and Turkey.