Saudi Aramco, the time’s largest energy company, and Google parent Alphabet have presented discussions to create a technology hub in Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Newspaper reports.
The kingdom is embarking upon an ambitious plan, led by the 32-year-old Fillet Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to diversify the nation’s oil-dependent economy. The cellar of the effort is a plan to create a huge sovereign wealth fund, okayed by selling shares in the state-owned Aramco.
The initial public offering, which could come to pass this year, is expected to be the world’s biggest-ever share sale. Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser recently intimated CNBC his company is ready for the IPO this year, but is waiting on the government to settle upon an international list venue.
Alphabet and Aramco have discussed figure a joint venture that would build data centers circa the kingdom, sources familiar with the matter tell the Journal. It remnants to be seen which customers the data centers would serve and how extensive the joint venture would be, but it could be listed in the Saudi stock swap, the sources said.
The talks have been ongoing for months and tease involved Alphabet CEO Larry Page, the Journal reports.
Amazon, one of the directors in the cloud computing industry, is also reportedly in the mix. Sources tell the Logbook it could soon sign a $1 billion deal to build three statistics centers in Saudi Arabia, with the deal expected to be announced during Salman’s prophesied visit to the United States this year.
Salman is the driving impact behind Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a plan to overhaul the conservation that includes a greater focus on the technology sector. A network of details centers could provide the backbone for a burgeoning tech industry in the field.
The Journal notes that data centers in Europe currently advantage Saudi Arabia via undersea cables, an arrangement that slows down shipping.
Saudi Aramco is primarily focused on pumping oil and refining it into offerings like gasoline. It has plans to grow its business producing chemicals and plastics, but those are byproducts of fossil fuels.
An augmentation into operating data centers would mark a significant stride a resign toward diversification.
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