Saudi Arabia's PIF acquires 5 percent Nintendo stake in latest Japanese gaming investment
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) bought a 5 percent stake - worth $2.98 billion - in Japanese gaming company Nintendo, continuing its streak of purchases in the industry.
The sovereign wealth fund, worth around $500 billion, bought 6.5 million shares in the Kyoto-based creator of Super Mario World and Donkey Kong, making it the fifth-largest shareholder.
“Saudi Arabia has been beefing up efforts to create its own content industry,” said Hideki Yasuda, a senior analyst at a Japanese investment company to Bloomberg.
“This series of investment in Japanese games companies is likely a way for them to learn from Japan,” said Yasuda.
The New Arab contacted Nintendo about the Saudi purchase but received no response by the time of publication.
A Nintendo spokesman said the company learnt about the acquisition through news reports, and would not comment on individual shareholders, according to Bloomberg.
Nintendo projected a 29 percent year-on-year decline in net projects last week, according to the Financial Times. The company's president, Shuntaro Furukawa, warned that global chip shortages could have an impact on the production of their popular Switch console.
Nevertheless, the gaming industry has become a favoured investment opportunity for the Saudis, who see the growth of nontraditional sectors as key to their “Vision 2030” plan to refashion the economy.
The Kingdom recently introduced "game development" into their computing curriculum to “enhance the culture of innovation…and training citizens to be able to design and program e-games,” according to the Vision 2030 Quality of Life programme.
Saudi Arabia’s gaming market hit $1 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2030, according to the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.