Super Cities №19 — Saudi Arabia, Where Markets Meet Geopolitics

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

Softbank will invest big in Saudi Arabia

SoftBank Group Corp. plans to invest as much as $25 billion in Saudi Arabia over the next three to four years as the Japanese company run by Masayoshi Son deepens investment ties with the kingdom, according to people familiar with the matter.


In May, Softbank announced a nearly $100 billion technology fund. Of that total, Saudi Arabia contributed $40 billion.

This week, Softbank announced that it would invest as much as $25 billion in Saudi Arabia. This money will go to a recently announced futurist city and aging Saudi utility infrastructure.

So Saudi Arabia invests $40 billion in Softbank and, soon after, Softbank invests $25 billion in Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia is the middle of a geopolitical crisis.

Earlier this month, after spending considerable time with Jared Kushner-Trump, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, King Salman’s favorite son, arrested en-masse leading intellectuals, princes, and business people. Robin Wright of the New Yorker called it a “purge” supported by the United States. Others have called it a coup.

As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pushes his political and economic vision, some markets will open up (e.g., renewables) and other markets will consolidate. But no one knows how it will end.

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