Saudi Arabia to invest $6.4b in future tech
Saudi Arabia has launched investments worth $6.4 billion in future technologies, the Saudi minister of communication and information technology said on Tuesday, as the kingdom races to diversify its economy from oil in the face of fierce regional competition.
Wealthy Gulf countries have launched initiatives to boost non-oil growth and reduce dependence on crude oil as climate change campaigners and volatility in oil prices have put pressure on government finances.
The investments announced on Tuesday include a $2 billion joint venture between eWTP Arabia Capital, a fund backed by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Alibaba, and China's J&T Express Group, minister Abdullah Alswaha said.
Saudi oil giant Aramco will inject, via its fund Prosperity7 Ventures, $1 billion to help entrepreneurs across the globe build transformative start-ups, while Saudi Telecom Co (STC) will invest $1 billion in the infrastructure of submarine cables and data centres, he said.
"Right now, the tech and digital market is around $40 billion which is the largest by far in the region. We're very proud of the growth that we have seen in the region, specifically in areas around e-commerce, gaming, digital content and cloud," Alswaha said.