November 2, 2023
By Sharan Kaur Phillora
Hong Kong’s blockchain gaming juggernaut, Animoca Brands, has netted US$50 million in funding from Saudi Arabia’s Neom Company, a venture underpinned by the Public Investment Fund. This financial handshake comes amidst a growing camaraderie between the two markets, aiming to bolster economic ties further.
Here’s what we know:
The inked memorandum of understanding outlines a shared vision to propel Web3 initiatives, aligning perfectly with Saudi’s Vision 2030 blueprint, where Neom holds a spotlight as a key project. The funding mechanics involve a 50-50 split; half the amount sails through convertible notes capped at A$4.50 (US$2.86) per share, and the other half via shares scooped up from the secondary market.
The alliance’s core objective is to construct enterprise Web3 services and foster the local Web3 ecosystem. Animoca plans to usher in its subsidiaries, partners, and investees into this collaborative venture, aiming to morph the Web3 narrative in the region.
Animoca co-founder and chairman Yat Siu is all thumbs up about this partnership. He said, “We are honoured and excited to partner with and receive investment from Neom, one of the world’s most ambitious projects seeking to use innovation and technology to redefine how we live, work, and play.” Siu sees the sprouting Web3 ecosystem as the dawn of a new ‘meta-nation’, and with Neom’s involvement, this vision could take a real form.
The Neom project, launched in 2017, aspires to transform a vast stretch in northwestern Saudi Arabia into a high-tech trade nucleus powered by clean energy. While Neom has kept the cards close to its chest regarding its Web3 integration vision, a job posting for a “Web3 Analyst” in August hinted at its metaverse exploration ambitions.
Animoca Brands celebrated for its games and metaverse subsidiary The Sandbox, finds a harmonious tune with Neom’s futuristic ethos. The partnership is a part of Saudi Arabia’s broader canvas to attract tech-centric investments, aligning with its Saudi Vision 2030 to diversify from an oil-centric economy. Particularly, Saudi has been warming up to investments from China, its largest trade ally, and is keen on building bridges in the Greater Bay Area, encompassing Hong Kong, Macau, and key cities in Guangdong province.
This Animoca-Neom collaboration underscores mutual respect and a shared vision to unfurl a brighter, blockchain-empowered future. Siu remarked, “Such deals strongly indicate the presence of underlying trust,” highlighting the positive aura surrounding Hong Kong and Middle East collaborations in the burgeoning digital realm.
About the author
Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.