Riyadh Image by Loyloy Thal from PixabayZoho has announced the opening of two data centres in the Middle East, its first in the region. It demonstrates the growth that Zoho has had in the region since launching a few years ago. The two data centres will be located within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah and Riyadh. It will enable customers within the Kingdom to have assurance that data sovereignty applies.

More importantly, the Personal Data Protection Law, implemented in September 2021 and modified further in March 2023, which came fully into force in September 2023, is adhered to. Organisations have a year to comply with the new regulations. And with the ability to hold data in the country with Zoho it is an important step.

The rise of local data protection and data sovereignty regulations means that SaaS firms like Zoho must be increasingly aware of the impact it may have on their business. Zoho has preempted any issues in making this investment. The company now has 18 data centres worldwide and is likely to add even more.

Leaping into the future

The announcement came from Zoho during LEAP 2024. LEAP is the largest technology convention held in the Middle East. With over 1,800 exhibitors and more than 172,000 attendees expected over the next four days.

Both Zoho and ManageEngine will exhibit during the event with the new data centres hosting both platforms. Sridhar Vembu, CEO and Co-founder of Zoho Corp, commented, “Zoho Corporation has a strong R&D foundation, as we have invested in building our own full technology stack, including the data centres that are run using our proprietary patented technology.

“We have our robust solutions available in Saudi Arabia through our two established brands: ManageEngine and Zoho, that are serving the local businesses. With our philosophy of transnational localism, we are committed to building strong roots here in order to serve the businesses and the community long term. We are here to stay, build and serve.”

Zoho continues to invest in KSA and the wider Middle East, partnering with government organisations to assist with startups. Within KSA, Zoho partnered with Monsha’at, enabling SMEs enrolled in Monsha’at’s Mazaya Programme can gain access to Zoho’s 55+ cloud-based business solutions with a wallet credit worth USD 2,500. There are similar initiatives across the Middle East and Africa.

Haytham AlOhali
Haytham AlOhali, His Excellency Vice Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Eng.

The investment was recognised by His Excellency Vice Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Eng. Haytham AlOhali. AlOhali noted that the Zoho Investment is one of the initiatives that aligns with the ambitious objectives of Vision 2030. Which aims to position the Kingdom as a thriving digital hub connecting three continents. The initiatives from Zoho will help the start-up ecosystem develop. As KSA looks to shift its economy to a more digital-based one.

Continued investments in Saudi Arabia

Zoho Corp has committed to invest around SAR 500 million (~US$133.33 million). It will focus on developing digital infrastructure and strategic partnerships similar to that with Monsha’at. Zoho will also be contributing to the Saudi Vision 2030. Zoho Corp will be investing a total of about SAR 500 million. Focusing on digital infrastructure development and strategic partnerships with local government entities. The company has already partnered with the SME authority in Saudi. Through the Monsha’at Academy and Thakaa Centre, Zoho Corp. is digitally upskilling businesses’ workforces to foster tech adoption.

Zoho has also allocated SAR 100 million in wallet credits annually for the next 10 years.  SMEs can use these funds to access any of the 55+ applications that fall under the Zoho brand or for training. This is a long-term strategy agreed upon in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). The aim is to promote the adoption of Zoho solutions and to help digitally upskill local businesses.

Applications localised and empowering KSA businesses

Manage Engine

Both Zoho and ManageEngine have an ever-growing customer base within the Kingdom. HAS is the top ten markets worldwide for ManageEngine, with over 2,000 customer organisations in KSA. Demand for its unified endpoint management (UEM) solution, Endpoint Central and IT service management (ITSM) solution, ServiceDesk Plus, is massive. The customer base spreads across different industries: IT services and solutions, oil and energy, healthcare and pharmaceutical, tourism, government and non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors. They are all looking to deploy the 60 applications within the ManageEngine suite.

Othman Al Jumaiee, Director of Information Services, Ministry of National Guard – Health Affairs, commented, “We welcome the launch of the data centres in Saudi Arabia, as it ensures increased availability, safeguarding of sensitive medical data, and helping us meet compliance-related requirements. The new facilities empower us in our mission of providing the best quality technology-based services. We look forward to building our relationship with ManageEngine and putting in place a reliable and secure IT infrastructure for the healthcare sector.”


For Zoho, the growth has been driven by Zoho One. This is its unified platform that enables organisations to pick and choose from amongst many of the Zoho applications. There is also wide adoption of Zoho Books (which is VAT-compliant, ZATCA-approved accounting software), Zoho CRM (customer experience platform), Zoho Creator (low-code application development platform) and Workplace (enterprise collaboration platform).

One application that Zoho has plans to launch in Saudi Arabia is its payroll solution. Already released in surrounding countries, Zoho recently posted that despite the plans, it has no immediate date for the launch.

Customers within the Kingdom include Badael, Al Musbah Group, Naizak, Leejam and Walaa Plus. Ahmed Amasha, Director of Customer Support, Walaa Plus, commented, “Thanks to Zoho Desk, we were able to significantly improve the quality and speed of our communication with our customers. Previously, the expected response time to customer tickets was 4-6 hours, but now we have brought it down to just 10 minutes. Having Zoho’s data centre in Saudi will help us ensure better security of our data, and support us in our goal to help Saudi businesses build exceptional brand loyalty.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Zoho continues to invest in growth on all fronts. From the launch of Zakya, its Retail POS solution that will begin its life in India to these data centres. It will be interesting to see whether Zakya launches in the Middle East or Africa next rather than Europe or the US, where the market is probably saturated already.

These data centres will also help Zoho attract interest from NGOs and government organisations looking to invest in modern SaaS technology. The platform approach and low cost approach that Zoho has might attract some significant public sector customers in the region. It will be interesting to see how its footprint develops in the coming months.


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