Pfizer has unveiled plans to build a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia.

The facility, in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), north of Jeddah, will incorporate "medicine manufacturing and packaging technologies within one complex", the drugs giant noted. The new plant will "contribute to the commercial and economic development of the national economy" and will create "new and skilled employment opportunities".

The official Saudi Press Agency stated that the facility will cover 65,000 square metres. Production will begin in 2015, and as many as 200 workers will work there.

No financial details were disclosed but Pfizer said the project will benefit from "the competitive advantages offered by the Saudi Government". The latter is looking to attract more investors and is promoting KAEC as "a business and industry centre of excellence that encompasses state-of-the-art infrastructure and amenities. Mohanad Hilal, secretary general of the economic cities authority, said the news "highlights the tangible steps that have been made by Saudi Arabia toward diversification into non-oil based industries and resources".

Bulent Atlig, vice president of Pfizer Global Supply, said the project "demonstrates the confidence we have in the Saudi Arabian business environment and the high level of opportunity we see here as a growth market". The Saudi pharmaceutical market is the biggest in the Gulf but the major foreign players have a low profile at present, with the exception of GlaxoSmithKline, which has a market share of around 11%.