PIF $2.7b Bet on Entertainment an Investment Toward a ‘Vibrant Saudi Society’

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced on September 20 that it is setting up a new company to invest in the entertainment sector, as the Kingdom looks to achieve a more vibrant society – a stated goal of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

The company, which will have $2.67 billion in initial capital to invest, will seek to “attract strategic partnerships to build the entertainment eco-system within the country,” a statement said.

According to Arabian Business, the PIF said the company is planning to invest in a number of entertainment projects, which include an entertainment complex that will be launched by 2019. By the end of 2030, the company’s projects aim to serve more than 50 million visitors annually and create more than 22,000 jobs in the kingdom.

Red Sea Tourism in Saudi Arabia aims to create jobs, attract visitors.

Red Sea Tourism in Saudi Arabia aims to create jobs, attract visitors.

While Vision 2030 does focus on diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy away from oil and making hard but needed economic reforms, the plan also includes goals for a modern and “vibrant society” in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom intends to open up tourism, create new resorts along the West Coast of the country along the Red Sea, and provide greater entertainment options for Saudis and expatriates that are living in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has already hosted its first Comic Con and is eyeing a return of movie theaters, after creating a powerful new body called the General Authority for Entertainment headed by H.E. Ahmed Khatib.

The announcement is also “the latest in a string of potentially significant moves by the Saudi authorities to loosen some of the strictures on life inside the deeply conservative kingdom,” writes Forbes, which added a key challenge was to get Saudis to embrace spending money in the Kingdom’s borders in lieu of traveling abroad. “One part of that is trying to convince Saudis to spend money on leisure pursuits inside the kingdom, rather than going to the likes of nearby Dubai.”