Global technology deals fuel Saudi economic transformation

Global technology deals fuel Saudi economic transformation

The largest technology fund in the world just took a significant stake in the most important chip company in the world. Interestingly enough, neither company is from Silicon Valley.

In this global tech deal, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative, the investor, will take an $8 billion, 25 percent stake in British chip supplier ARM, sold to the sovereign wealth fund by its owner, and Vision partner, SoftBank, the Japanese multinational telecommunications, and Internet giant.

Chips made by ARM power iPhones and millions of other mobile devices worldwide. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative is part of a long-term economic blueprint designed to curtail the country’s dependence on oil.

Technology will be a key enabler and driver of numerous changes envisaged by Vision 2030, with the goal of developing the nation’s digital infrastructure and stimulating the related economic sectors, industries, and private sector entities.

A new report from International Data Corporation (IDC) provides an in-depth analysis of the program and its anticipated impact on the kingdom’s economy and broader society. Titled ‘Envisioning an ICT-Led Approach to the National Transformation Program for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,’ the report, detailed here, also examines the global technology trends that are driving the goals of the Vision 2030 initiative.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman visited Silicon Valley in 2016, highlighting the role that digital technology, and particularly entrepreneurs and startups, can play in a growing economy.

SoftBank founder and chairman, Masayoshi Son met with President Trump before his inauguration in January about using the company’s $100 billion funds to buy stakes in American tech companies, with the aim of creating thousands of new jobs.

But what role Silicon Valley and other global tech regions may play in this digital transformation remains uncertain. Questions about how politicians in Britain, the United States and elsewhere will respond to such investments in their national technology industries is also unclear.

To download the full 80-page report from IDC, click here.

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