Helena Lyng Blak
2 weeks ago

$100 Billion Saudi AI Fund Says It Is Willing to Divest from China

Saudi Arabia's newest AI fund is prepared to shift its investments away from China if pressured by the US.
OnePixelStudio / DepositPhotos
OnePixelStudio / DepositPhotos

Alat, a new Saudi Arabian investment fund, would be willing to divest its Chinese business if the United States demanded it, says Chief Executive Officer Amit Midha in an interview with Bloomberg.  

Specializing in semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and smart appliances and devices, Alat hopes to bring international companies’ manufacturing within these fields to Saudi Arabia. 

According to its main investor’s website, Alat’s primary goal is to ensure that “global companies set up sustainable manufacturing solutions in Saudi Arabia.”

So far, Midha says it has been enough to keep the manufacturing and supply chains between the competing tech super powers separated. But if that changes in the future, Midha seems to know who his company will pick, saying, 

“The US is the number one partner for us and the number one market for AI, chips and semiconductor industry.”

Reportedly, the US government has told officials in Saudi Arabia that they will have to choose either Chinese technology or American as they move forward in establishing their own semiconductor industry.

Alat is backed by $100 Billion in USD by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the state-owned investment fund of Saudi Arabia. The PIF holds approximately $925 billion in USD in assets, such as the Premier League football club Newcastle United, and has according to their own website created more than 600,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia. 

The fund is nevertheless at the center of its own share of controversies. In testimony before the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 2023, the NGO Human Rights Watch argued that the fund had been linked to human rights abuses.

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