Japan’s SBI looks to Saudi Aramco as it continues Middle East expansion

Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings and Saudi Arabia's state oil company Saudi Aramco are considering partnering on investment projects in digital assets and semiconductor production. The sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation that includes the establishment of SBI Middle East in Riyadh as a base for operations in that region.

According to the MoU, signed on December 7, SBI and Saudi Aramco will consider collaborating in the field of digital assets and co-investing in their digital asset portfolios. They can identify Japanese digital asset startups that might be interested in expanding into Saudi Arabia and launching semiconductor production projects in both countries. Besides:

"The scope of the alliance may be expanded through an agreement between the Company and Aramco."

Saudi Aramco is the world's second-largest corporation by revenue, after Walmart. The MoU mentioned Saudi Aramco's investments aimed at complementing its supply chain. Cryptocurrency “it is not recognized by legal entities” in Saudi Arabia, although the government has shown a healthy interest in Web3. SBI Holdings' partnership with Taiwan-based Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing was also highlighted.

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This is the latest step that SBI Holdings has taken to establish a presence in the Middle East. In November, entered into a joint venture with SC Ventures, the fintech investment arm of British bank Standard Chartered, to create an investment company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to invest in "market infrastructure, compliance and risk management tools, DeFi, tokenization , consumer payments and the metaverse.”

In September, UAE-based SBI Holdings and TradeFinex partner in a joint venture based in Japan to localize TradeFinex's XDC Network enterprise blockchain there.

SBI Holdings is the largest external shareholder of Ripple. He has been a partner of Ripple since 2018. At the end of November, SBI Holdings announced an MoU with Circle that would boost USDC (USDC) Web3 circulation and services in Japan, subject to regulatory approval.

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