In another sign that changes are afoot in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom plans to invest tens of billions in tech over the next five years. The move makes the kingdom one of the biggest investors in tech in the world.
As Saudi Arabia endeavors to achieve goals laid out in its ambitious Vision 2030, Prince Mohammed has taken the lead in building relationships with key international partners, meeting with tech giants such as Facebook and Microsoft.
The national transformation plan aims to diversify the kingdom's economy away from reliance on oil by expanding entrepreneurship opportunities, growing the technology sector, increasing entertainment options and opening Saudi Arabia's doors for more tourism .
The kingdom signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Japan-based SoftBank Group Corp, agreeing to invest up to $45 billion in the global technology industry through the company's tentatively named SoftBank Vision Fund.
SoftBank will invest $25 billion and anticipates other global partners adding to the fund, bringing the total pool to $100 billion and making the fund one of the world's largest private equity investors.
"The Public Investment Fund is focused on achieving attractive long-term financial returns from its investments at home and abroad, as well as supporting the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy to develop a diversified economy," Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the chairman of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, said, according to Arabian Business .
"We are delighted to sign this MOU with SBG given the long history, established industry relationships and strong investment performance of SBG and Masayoshi Son."
Previously, SoftBank has invested in companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Yahoo and Supercell Oy, making tens of billions in returns.
"With the establishment of the SoftBank Vision Fund, we will be able to step up investments in technology companies globally," Chairman and CEO of SoftBank Masayoshi Son said.
"Over the next decade, the SoftBank Vision Fund will be the biggest investor in the technology sector. We will further accelerate the Information Revolution by contributing to its development."