The Khashoggi scandal heavily affected Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the international community and big tech but not Softbank it seems. The Tech group has said it will continue to work with Riyadh.
Masayoshi Son, the Softbank Chief revealed this when he said his firm has a ‘responsibility’ to the Saudi people.
Saudi Arabia is the major investor in Softbank’s $93bn (£71bn) Vision Fund.
The Vision Fund helped the Japanese firm post a jump in quarterly profits.
The fund, which holds investments in WeWork, Slack and Nvidia, is an investment vehicle focused on emerging technology.
Son was one of the high profile personalities who withdrew from the Davos conference hosted by Saudi Arabia. Richard Branson and other key execs of top companies also protested the Khashoggi disappearance by not attending.
The Saudi state has been blamed for what is now known as Khashoggi’s murder.
‘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.’
Softbank recently revealed its earnings which showed a sharp increase in first held net profit from 103bn yen to 840bn yen (£5.6bn)
Mr. Son founded Softbank and has guided it to become one of the world’s biggest technology companies. He is credited for having an eye for firms with big potential, being an early investor in Alibaba and one of the first to see the potential in e-commerce.
Self-driving technologies have attracted recent investment from Softbank, including GM’s autonomous unit Cruise and a partnership with Toyota to develop transport services using autonomous vehicles.