Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank Group has plans to invest as much as US$25 billion in Saudi Arabia over the next three to four years, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
US$15 billion of that proposed funding will reportedly go to a mega city on the Red Sea coast dubbed NEOM, which will be connected to Egypt and Jordan. Crown Prince Salman announced the plans for the project last month, saying it will operate independently from the “existing government framework,” and will be backed by US$500 billion from the Saudi government, its sovereign wealth fund and international investors.
According to the anonymous sources, SoftBank’s Vision Fund also plans investments of as much as US$10 billion in state-controlled Saudi Electricity Co to support growth of the firm’s renewable energy business. The planned investments could boost crown prince Salman’s position amid his leadership purge, as well as the country’s efforts to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil, says Bloomberg.
Representatives from SoftBank and Saudi Electricity both reportedly declined to comment on the news.
SoftBank head Masayoshi Son’s previous moves to deepen ties with Saudi Arabia included raising US$45 billion from the country’s Public Investment Fund for a US$100 billion fund earlier this year.