Saudi Arabia Backs China’s Bid to Rival OpenAI

Saudi Arabia’s Prosperity7 Ventures, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, has made a $400m investment in Zhipu AI, a Chinese generative AI startup, marking the first major foreign investment in China’s growing generative AI sector.

Founded in 2019, Beijing-based Zhipu AI is a prominent generative AI startup in China, aiming to rival global players like OpenAI and Google. It has released a chatbot and a visual language foundation model, with backing from major firms like Alibaba and Tencent.

Zhipu AI, alongside competitors such as Moonshot AI, and MiniMax, has previously relied on government funding and local cloud service providers for growth. However, Prosperity7 Ventures’ investment hints at a potential shift in funding for China’s AI industry, especially as US restrictions limit access to international capital.

The investment also reflects Saudi Arabia’s strategic intent to cultivate a technological ecosystem capable of rivaling Silicon Valley’s dominance in the AI arena.

The bottom line: The investment underscores the shifting dynamics in global AI funding amid heightened US-China tensions. Watch this space.


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