Oct 17, 2016

    S. Arabia diversifies into technology


    SAUDI Arabia is joining hands with Japanese tech company SoftBank to launch a fund for investing in the technology sector as it aims to accelerate a shift away from oil dependency.

    Saudi Arabia's economy, which is largely dependent on oil, has been sluggish due to drops in crude oil prices.

    The nation's fiscal deficit this year is expected to reach about 10 trillion yen (S$130 billion).

    The Saudi government, which in April unveiled a comprehensive Vision 2030 economic policy, has been trying to diversify the nation's industries and strengthen overseas investment.

    It says it will nurture small- and mid-sized companies; vitalise the culture, sports and entertainment sectors; and promote employment among young people and women.

    To strengthen investment abroad, the Saudi government plans to list some stock of state-run oil company Saudi Aramco.

    Funds would be allocated to the government-affiliated Public Investment Fund.

    If the project goes to plan, PIF assets are expected to be worth about 208 trillion yen - which would make it one of the world's most valuable funds.THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/