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Saudi minister meets with Google, Zoom in California

The official visit comes as Saudi Arabia seeks to grow its industrial sector.
Guests attend the Global AI 2020 (Artificial Intelligence) Summit in Riyadh on Oct. 21, 2020.

Saudi Arabia’s minister of Industry and Mineral Resources recently visited the US state of California in an effort to strengthen ties with American tech companies. 

What happened: The official Saudi Press Agency reported Sunday that Minister Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef met with the CEO of electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors. He also visited the headquarters of search engine giant Google, video communications company Zoom, and the artificial intelligence (AI) and computer software company Nvidia. 

The meetings focused on investment opportunities between the United States and Saudi Arabia in the industrial and mining sectors. The minister also discussed boosting cooperation and trade opportunities with the Silicon Valley-based companies, according to the agency. 

Spokespeople for Google, Zoom and Lucid Motors did not immediately respond to Al-Monitor’s requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Nvidia declined to comment. 

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia wants to grow its industrial and mining sectors per the Vision 2030 economic diversification initiative. The Gulf kingdom has had some success in this regard this year. More factories opened and investments into existing factories increased substantially during the first half of 2022, Ali Metwally reported for Al-Monitor recently. 

Mining could relate Khorayef’s meeting with Lucid Motors due to the rare earth minerals needed to produce electric vehicles. Relatedly, Saudi Arabia recently signed mining agreements with Jordan and India

Nvidia’s work in artificial intelligence is also noteworthy in the Saudi economic context. The Saudi oil giant Aramco in particular has expanded its support for AI initiatives this year. 

Know more: Saudi Arabia already has a lot invested in Google. In August, a regulatory filing revealed that the Saudi Public Investment Fund has $464 million invested in Google’s parent company, Alphabet. 

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