Big Bucks for Middle East Tech: Saudi-China Venture Fund Hits $1.1 Billion Mark
Chinese VC MSA Capital Plans to Raise 1.3 Trillion Funds
Saudi Arabia – China Expand Economic Cooperation
A Chinese venture capital (VC) firm, backed by the Saudi Arabian Wealth Fund, is set to create a venture fund with a capital of about $1.1 billion to invest in Middle Eastern startups. This is expected to be the largest venture fund in the Middle East, signaling a deepening relationship between Saudi Arabia and China.
According to Bloomberg and other sources on the 13th, MSA Capital, a Chinese VC, plans to raise $1 billion to invest in tech startups in the Middle East.
Ben Harburg, a managing partner at MSA Capital, said, “We are in discussions with local investors to launch the fund within this year.” He added, “Our goal is to push for an IPO after participating in the pre-IPO round of companies that have entered the late stage.”
Established in 2014, MSA is a VC firm managing over $2 billion in assets. JADA (Jada Fund of Funds), a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Wealth Fund’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), has invested in this company.
Saudi Arabia and China have been strengthening their close relationship recently. Following the summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in December 2022, the two countries are expanding their economic cooperation. China is the largest oil importer and Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner worldwide.
In November last year, the two countries signed their first currency swap agreement worth 50 billion yuan (about $7.9 billion). A currency swap is a foreign exchange transaction where two different currencies are exchanged at a predetermined exchange rate. The first Saudi Arabian exchange-traded fund (ETF) was also listed on the Hong Kong stock market, marking the first such listing in Asia.