Muhanad Awad will lead a new franchise based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city. The franchise launch suggests that Western companies are warming to a corner of the world that has long been difficult to reach.

Amid a growing push into new parts of the globe, Keller Williams on Monday announced that it is launching operations in Saudi Arabia.

The push into the Middle Eastern country will take the form of a franchise under the leadership of Muhanad Awad. A statement from Keller Williams describes Awad as a 30-year veteran of the real estate industry and the founder and chairman of Jasmine Real Estate Development and Management, which is based in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Awad’s new franchise will be known as KW Saudi Arabia. The statement adds that the company’s first Saudi office, or market center, should open during the second quarter of this year.

“As KW Saudi Arabia, our vision is to become the most dominant real estate player in this region by 2025 and to be known for our uncompromising integrity,” Awad said in the statement.

Awad added that the launch of the new franchise fits well with the “Saudi Arabia 2030 vision.” The comment is a reference to a government program that seeks to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, including by reducing oil dependence and increasing tourism. The project is a major undertaking for the country, which derives much of its wealth from oil and which has historically been less accommodating to outsiders than neighboring destinations such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia has also been the subject of criticism for human rights violations such as the torture and killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Such events have complicated the nation’s integration into the broader global community, though the launch of a Keller Williams franchise suggests that Western companies are warming to a corner of the world that has long been difficult to reach.

Keller Williams is also pursuing its own path of global expansion. In December, for example, the company announced a new franchise in Sao Paulo, Brazil, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic megalopolises. And recent earnings reports have indicated that the growth of Keller Williams Worldwide has at times outpaced that of the company’s North American operations.

In 2019, Keller Williams expanded into Morocco.

William Soteroff

In Monday’s statement, Keller Williams Worldwide president William E. Soteroff said he is “excited to announce our expansion into Saudi Arabia under the leadership and vision of Muhanad Awad.”

“Awad and his core team,” Soteroff added, “are well positioned to explore untapped business opportunities in Saudi Arabia, while leveraging our world-class training, technology, and culture to fuel a truly powerful real estate experience.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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