Saudi fund-backed firm, Alat, collaborates with a Chinese surveillance maker Dahua

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Saudi fund-backed firm, Alat, collaborates with a Chinese surveillance maker Dahua
Saudi fund-backed firm, Alat, collaborates with a Chinese surveillance maker Dahua

Alat, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, announced a $200 million deal on Tuesday with a Chinese surveillance technology company, Dahua Technology, previously sanctioned by the US.

Alat, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund with ambitions to build sophisticated technologies, unveiled on Tuesday a $200 million deal with a Chinese surveillance technology business formerly sanctioned by the US.

Alat, a newly formed corporation owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), and Dahua Technology, one of China’s largest surveillance equipment manufacturers, will jointly manufacture surveillance hardware in Saudi Arabia, Alat’s new CEO revealed at a Riyadh event.

The joint company will also manufacture gear, such as sensors, for so-called “smart cities” and set up a research and development center in the kingdom.

Dahua has been prohibited from obtaining products manufactured outside of the United States using American technology since the Biden administration placed it on an entity list in 2022 due to national security concerns. The United States has also prohibited the import of Dahua technology, linking it to the abuse of China’s Uighur minority.

“They are the number two corporation in the world for what they do. We tested the technology, looked at it, and we’re really pleased with it,” Alat CEO Amit Midha stated in a discussion on whether there were any reservations about collaborating with the US-sanctioned corporation.

Midha stated that Alat, which strives to manufacture hardware such as semiconductors rather than software, will assure compliance with rules.

“You have to understand the Saudi mindset: we want to be reliable and dependable. This is fundamental,” said Midha, a former Dell Technologies executive who took up his position this month.

Alat also announced a $150 million cooperation with Japan’s SoftBank Group to produce advanced robotics in the Kingdom. It will also collaborate with US company Carrier and Saudi enterprise Tahakom.

Riyadh has strengthened its cooperation with Beijing on security and sensitive technology as political ties thaw, much to Washington’s worry.

G42, an Emirati company that develops artificial intelligence, has liquidated its stakes in China and begun the arduous process of withdrawing Chinese hardware due to US worries about its relationship with Chinese businesses.

Saudi Arabia built Alat as part of a more ambitious effort to transform the kingdom into an advanced industrial and manufacturing hub as the world’s top oil producer strives to diversify its economy beyond oil sales.

Alat intends to invest $100 billion in the kingdom by 2030, according to a statement from the firm. It plans to contribute $9.3 billion to the non-oil economy, create 39,000 skilled jobs by 2030, and eventually export its hardware.

“Saudi Arabia will no longer buy the technology. At the Riyadh event, Industry and Resources Minister Bandar Alkhorayef stated that the focus will be on technology development.

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