Softbank To Maintain Saudi Ties Even After Khashoggi Murder: SoftBank Chief

While condemning the murder of a veteran US based Saudi journalist allegedly at the hands of security men of Saudi Arabia in the Turkish capital of Istanbul, the chief of the Japanese tech and investment group Softbank has said the firm must continue to work together with the kingdom.

Softbank chief Masayoshi Son said that his company had a “responsibility” to the Saudi people in a comment that was the first that was made by him since the murder of veteran journalist and contributor to The Washington Post Jamal Khashoggi.

One of the major investors in the $93bn Vision Fund of SoftBank is Saudi Arabia.

This is the fund that has aided the Japanese company in reporting an increase in its quarterly profits in the third quarter.

The Vision Fund is completely focused on start-ups and tech companies in the emerging markets and it has sizable investments made in companies like WeWork, Slack and Nvidia.

But there was a critical focus on the close financial and business relationship between Saudi Arabia and SoftBank by many after a global hue and cry – especially in the Western countries after the murder of Khashoggi last month inside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul.

Following the disappearance of the journalist, there was a host of business executives who had withdrawn from the a high profile investment conference in the Saudi capital of Riyadh and Son was amongst those who had decided to stay away from the conference.

“It is true that a horrible incident happened,” Mr Son said on Monday. “On the other hand, we have a responsibility towards the Saudi people, and we must carry out our responsibility rather than turn our backs on them.

“These funds are important to the Saudi people in ensuring their economy diversifies and is no longer dependent on oil.”

These comments coincided with the Japanese firm announcing an earnings update where the company reported a significant increase in its first half net profit which it reported at 840bn yen (£5.6bn) compared to 103bn yen in the same period a year earlier.

Son has been the founder and guide of Softbank and has helped transformed the firm into one of the largest technology company in the world.

SoftBank is known to invest in very promising tech companies and start-ups which mostly ends in the investor making profits and Son is credited with guiding SoftBank through this process. One of the major biggest investments in terms of returns that had ever been made by SoftBank was one in the Chinese retailer Alibaba where it was an early investor and Son had reportedly managed to visualize the potential of the company at a very early stage.

Most recent investments by the Japanese firm has been in the area of autonomous driving technologies and the company has invested in projects such as GM’s autonomous driving unit called Cruise and has formed partnership with Toyota for the development of autonomous technology driven vehicles.

(Adapted form BBC.com)

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Categories: Economy & Finance, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability, Uncategorized

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