SoftBank books $3 billion in first 5 months of partnership with Saudi PIF

Masayoshi Son. (AFP)
Updated 26 October 2017
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SoftBank books $3 billion in first 5 months of partnership with Saudi PIF

RIYADH: Masayoshi Son, the partner of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, revealed that his Vision Fund has made a return of 22 percent in its first five months of operation and turned in a profit of $3 billion.
Now he is ready to launch similar funds in the near future.
Son, also founder and chief executive of SoftBank of Japan, told the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh that now was the time to invest in the hi-technology sector because the future prospects of artificial intelligence and robotics were so positive.
“This is just the start for tech valuations. I would not call it a peak at all, it is just the beginning,” he said, contrary to some expert predictions of a “bubble” in technology valuations.
PIF pledged to commit $45 billion to the Vision Fund.
Son said that the fund had made some 15 investments in its first five months.
“People said that $100 billion is too much to put into a single fund, but I say it’s too little. I would like to do more of a similar size.
“The next one will not take five years. Each fund will be roughly the same size, but we will launch them more frequently,” he said.
“People call me an optimist, people say I’m crazy, but I take it as a compliment,” he said.
Son, who almost went bankrupt in the dot com bust of 2000, said that then was the perfect time to invest in hi-technology. “If I had any money, I would have bought then,” he said.
He was speaking after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans for a $500 billion megacity called Neom in the north west of the country bordering Jordan and Egypt.
“I’m very excited to be part of Neom, and by the role we will be playing in it with the Kingdom,” he added.
He also told how the Crown Prince had first talked to him about technology investment in Tokyo.
“People says that I convinced him to put $45 billion into the fund during a 45 minute conversation, but that is not how it happened. He already had the idea to go for artificial intelligence, robots and super technology, and we found we had a lot in common. That’s how we created a friendship, partnership and a bonding of the mind,” he said.
“It is a great dream. All the dreamers come to a new place, and we will create that at Neom,” Son said.
He mapped out a future for the business world where artificial intelligence and robotics would become the driving commercial forces.
“Ten years ago, the only technology company in the top ten biggest in the world by market capitalization was Microsoft. Today, there are seven tech companies in that list, and two of them are Chinese,” he said.
“Artificial intelligence will redefine every industry. The Internet is only a small part of the big change. AI will revolutionize all sectors,” he added.


Saudi Hajj Ministry issues new web link for Qatari pilgrims after Doha blocking

Updated 20 July 2018
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Saudi Hajj Ministry issues new web link for Qatari pilgrims after Doha blocking

  • The new link was made available as part of King Salman’s efforts to facilitate the arrival of all pilgrims
  • The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it welcomes the arrival of Qatari pilgrims this year irrespective of the on-going Gulf dispute

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that is has allocated a new website link to receive the requests of Qataris who wish to perform Hajj after the Qatari authorities blocked the old one.
Qataris wishing to perform Hajj can use the following link: https://qh1.Hajj.gov.sa instead of the old one (https://qh.Hajj.gov.sa), Saudi Press Agency reported.
The new link was made available as part of King Salman’s efforts to facilitate the arrival of all pilgrims and ensure that any obstacles that they may face are overcome.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it welcomes the arrival of Qatari pilgrims this year irrespective of the on-going Gulf dispute.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE — collectively known as the Anti-Terror Quartet — imposed a boycott on Qatar in June 2017 over Doha’s alleged ties with terror groups. Doha denies the charges.