Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala said they will be focusing more investments in technology, citing impressive returns and the potential of localising industries to benefit their own economies.
Speaking at the ongoing Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, Yasir bin Othman al-Rumayyan, PIF managing director and board member, said the investment return PIF generates from companies and funds such as Uber and Japanese Softbank’s $100bn Vision Fund “is very difficult to achieve in conventional sectors”.
Al-Rumayyan also cited the fund’s investments in companies like US-based electric vehicles (EV) manufacturer Lucid, as well as Magic Leap, an augmented reality startup also based in the US.
“We invested in Lucid because EV is grabbing market share. In addition to potential investment returns, it has the potential to localise the industry in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Rumayyan said. “If we can save oil in transport, then we can use it in materials and other industries.”
Mubadala Group CEO Khaldoon Khalida al-Mubarak echoed Al-Rumayyan, saying that the sovereign wealth fund has been increasingly focusing on technology investments over the past six years. “We are investing heavily [in technology]… we are a bit late in the game: we should have started many, many years ago,” Al-Mubarak said at the summit’s opening panel session.
The executive said the fund’s technology focus is motivated in part by the need to develop these industries in the UAE. “We see a lot of technology influence in the oil and gas sector; we see a lot of opportunities,” the executive said, though he added that the retraining new technologies requires, outweighs long-term benefits.
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