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.


Coordinated Arab efforts urged to overcome challenges

Updated 16 July 2019
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Coordinated Arab efforts urged to overcome challenges

CAIRO: Dr. Khalid Al-Ghamdi, chairman of the Arab Media Standing Committee and general supervisor of foreign media at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media, called for coordinated Arab efforts to overcome regional challenges particularly the Palestinian issue and terrorism.
Al-Ghamdi was presiding over the committee’s 93rd session held at Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo on Sunday.
He said the meeting discussed a number of key issues including the Arab Media Charter of Honor. It was, Al-Ghamdi said, a continuation of previous meetings to discuss their outcomes and review the results in the light of proposals put forward by different member Arab countries.
The meeting was also attended by Arab League’s Assistant Secretary-General for Social Affairs Ambassador Badr El-Din Alali, Counselor Fawzi Al-Ghwail, director of the technical department of the Council of Arab Information Ministers, representatives of Arab member states, representatives of Arab information ministries and the heads of Arab media agencies and institutions.
Alali said the Palestinian question continues to remain the main issue in addition to the terrorist threats, sustainable development and the Arab image in the West.
“Implementing the Arab Media Strategy and improving media practices using the latest technologies is vital for media to effectively contributing to awareness programs and supporting the region’s vital issues.”
He said the inclusion of the Arab Media Charter of Honor and media education to the agenda is of great importance.
He also express resolve to counter the phenomenon of fake news and that the Arab media is serious about countering this problem.