Saudi Arabia Is Trying To Pivot From Big Oil To Big Tech – Slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: The country of Saudi Arabia has scrounged up several billion dollars in investments from major tech companies, which are interested in building cloud computing centers in the region. According to Reuters, the Saudi Minister of Communication and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha discussed the investments at LEAP, an international technology conference that began today in Riyadh, the country’s capital city. Players like Microsoft and Oracle are investing billions of dollars into the country, with Microsoft forking over $2.1 billion while Oracle invests $1.5 billion. Huawei, a Chinese tech company, is also investing a reported $400 million.

“The investments… will enhance the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s position as the largest digital market in the Middle East and North Africa,” Alswaha said at LEAP, as quoted by Reuters. While the timeline of these investments is not clear, Oracle told Reuters that its funds will be distributed over several years. Alswaha is tempting these companies with government contracts, and while details are scant, it’s likely that Saudi Arabia is giving them prime real estate for a low cost to build their cloud computing centers in Riyadh. “The investments are a part of Saudi Arabia’s planned pivot away from oil and toward tech, which the country is calling Vision 2030,” adds Gizmodo. “That pivot is already underway as Tonomus, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s own architecture, engineering, and sustainability amalgamation called NEOM made a $1 billion investment in artificial intelligence and the metaverse.”

One of the three areas of Neom that has been officially announced and underway is The Line, “a linear city with Utopian vistas straight out of a Hollywood movie,” reported CNBC last October. “Composed of two parallel skyscrapers that cut right through the desert for 170 kilometers from the coast to the mountains, The Line will be 200 meters wide and soar to a height of 500 meters (higher than most of the world’s towers) — and for an added surreal touch, will be encased on all sides with gigantic mirrors.”

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