The 3, 657 productive factories in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provide evidence for the remarkable industrial development accomplished by the country. Up to the middle of May 2004, SR 256 billion [U.S. $68.3 billion] was invested in these factories, while the number of workers at these factories increased to 346,000. The factories manufacture a variety of products including chemicals, plastic products, pottery, building materials, textiles, and foodstuff.
The Kingdom's non-oil industrial exports to 120 countries amounted to about SR 50 billion [$13.33 billion] by the end of 1414 H. (1994). According to the available statistics, the contribution of the down stream industries (without oil refinery) amounted to ten percent of the Gross National Product (GNP) by the end of 1423 H (2003), while the rate of the industrial development growth reached 23 percent.
Saudi Arabia has 14 industrial cities with an area of more than 92 million square meters. By the first quarter of 1425 H (2004), more than SR 2.1 billion [$560 million] was spent on the two gigantic industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu.
The various consecutive development plans have reiterated the importance of industrialization in its capacity as the ideal alternative for the acceleration of the development goals. These goals aim at diversification of the productive base and lessening dependence on revenues of crude oil, enabling the private sector to positively contribute to the development processes, making job opportunities available, and laying a strong technological foundation.