A general view of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)

Vision 2030

Saudi Arabia’s tech transformation: Embracing AI and semiconductors for a new era

Published: Updated:

Saudi Arabia has been making significant strides in achieving its Vision 2030 while focusing on technological advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and semiconductors. This initiative reflects the Kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy beyond oil dependence and establish itself as a leader in global technology.

For more Saudi news, visit our dedicated page.

Leading Saudi corporations and public investment bodies are pouring investments into these cutting-edge sectors, fully recognizing their potential to drive innovation and economic growth.

This week, Al Moammar Information Systems (MIS), a prominent ICT solutions and system integration company in Saudi Arabia, announced a landmark investment of $5 million (18.75 million riyals) in OpenAI. Detailed in a Tadawul Saudi Arabia release, this investment was made during a share sale round for OpenAI employees, valuing the AI company at $86 billion. OpenAI, renowned for its revolutionary work in large language models (LLMs) and the discovery of ChatGPT, is reshaping language understanding and innovation with significant backing from Microsoft.

OpenAI and ChatGPT logos are seen in this illustration taken, February 3, 2023. (Reuters)

This investment aligns with MIS’s recent board-approved strategy to allocate $10.6 million (40 million riyals) for an investment portfolio focused on global AI companies. Such investments aim to leverage growth opportunities in this burgeoning sector.

On January 21st, MIS also revealed a $5 million investment in Anthropic during its Series D financing round. Anthropic, valued pre-cash at $15 billion (56 billion riyals), is a leading name in the LLM sector. Supported by major tech and AI investors like Menlo Ventures, Google, Amazon, and Salesforce Ventures, Anthropic is at the forefront of advanced language processing.

In mid-January, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) disclosed plans to invest in the semiconductor sector, among others. Abdullah Alswaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, announced this at the World Economic Forum 2024 edition in Davos.

During the session “AI: The Great Equalizer?” Alswaha underscored Saudi Arabia’s commitment to leading in generative AI and the future of this technology. He spotlighted NanoPalm, a Saudi company, for using generative AI to develop a biorobot aimed at treating anemia.

AI in Saudi economy

Last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized the critical role of AI in Saudi Arabia’s economic development. Speaking in Riyadh at an event titled “Artificial Intelligence: A New Era,” Nadella commended the Saudi government and private sector’s efforts in utilizing AI for innovation and economic progress.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Financial Times reported in August last year - based on people familiar with the matter - that Saudi Arabia had acquired over 3,000 Nvidia H100 chips, described as “the world’s first computer [chip] designed for generative AI,” for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). This move underlines the Kingdom’s serious commitment to embracing AI technology.

In a significant global acknowledgment, Saudi Arabia ranked first - last year - in the Government Strategy Index for Artificial Intelligence by Tortoise Intelligence. This index evaluates over 60 countries, with Saudi Arabia outpacing Germany and China, which secured second and third rankings, respectively.

These developments underscore Saudi Arabia’s robust commitment to integrating cutting-edge technologies, marking the Kingdom as a pivotal player in the global AI landscape.

Read more:

MENA investors prepare for dynamic 2024 amid global unrest

UK fintech firms head to Saudi Arabia seeking startup funding

How to find jobs in Saudi Arabia and the UAE - all you need to know

Before you go