Last year we published a blog post about the Saudi Vision 2030 rebrand. In the time since there have been several developments that have shown how the kingdom is continuing to push forward with its ambitious plans.
The mechanism at the center of Vision 2030 has been the launch of the Public Investment Fund (PIF). The PIF is a sovereign wealth fund with over $600 billion in assets. The fund has been used to invest in a variety of sectors, including technology, infrastructure, and tourism.
One of the most headline-grabbing developments has been the kingdom's increasing involvement in the world of sports. In 2023, Saudi Arabia hosted the third Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as well as multiple high-profile boxing matches taking place in the country due to its state-of-the-art facilities. The kingdom has also been involved in the creation of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which has attracted some of the biggest names in the sport before proposing a merger with the PGA Tour which would put the control of professional golf in the hands of the kingdom.
Another key development has been the launch of the Saudi Premier League. The league is the first professional football league in Saudi Arabia, and it is hoped that it will help to raise the standard of football in the country. The league has already attracted some big-name players, such as two of the last Ballon d’Or winners in Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. The kingdom is also investing heavily in infrastructure, such as stadiums and training facilities. The aim is to create a world-class sports destination that will attract both domestic and international visitors.
These high-profile events have helped to raise the profile of Saudi Arabia on the world stage and have shown that it is serious about its commitment to Vision 2030. The events have also been met with some criticism, with some accusing the kingdom of using sport to "sportswash" its human rights record. However, the kingdom has defended its involvement in sports, arguing that it is simply trying to use sports to promote its culture and values.
In terms of non-sporting developments away from the headlines, the PIF has made multiple major business investments in the manner of a traditional hedge fund. However, it is important to note that PIF is not a traditional hedge fund. It is a sovereign wealth fund, which means that it is owned by the government of Saudi Arabia. This gives PIF a different investment mandate than a traditional hedge fund, and it also means that it is subject to different regulations.
That said, it does invest in hedge funds, and as of 2023, it is the largest investor in hedge funds in the world. According to the 2023 Preqin Global Hedge Fund Report, PIF had $430 billion invested in hedge funds, which is more than the combined assets of the next 10 largest investors in hedge funds.
If PIF were considered a hedge fund, it would rank #1 in the world by assets under management. The current #1 hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, has AUM of $126 billion, so PIF would be more than three times larger.
The Saudi Vision 2030 rebrand is a long-term project, and it will take many years to achieve its goals. It is still too early to say whether the Saudi Vision 2030 rebrand will be successful. However, the developments of the past year show that the kingdom is making progress and that it is committed to its plans. Only time will tell whether the kingdom will be able to achieve its goals, but it is clear that Saudi Arabia is determined to try.
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