Saudi Arabia may not be a country that seems involved in the anime industry, but it surprisingly is and will be even more soon. Recently, it was announced that the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) increased its stake in the Japanese studio, Toei Animation.
In a report by Reuters, it was revealed that Saudi Arabia’s PIF is increasing its stake in Toei Animation to 6.03%.
Along with this, the PIF also increased its stake in another Japanese company – the gaming giant, Nintendo.
Saudi Arabia and Anime
When it comes to Saudi Arabia’s involvement in companies around the world, the country’s involvement in sports is usually what comes to mind.
This is because the country is investing and even buying various sporting organizations from all over the world.
For instance, Saudi Arabia’s PIF purchased the Premier League club, Newcastle United F.C.
Sports aside, Saudi Arabia is also expanding to other fields, including anime.
Just last year, the country launched the Anime Village as part of its Jeddah Season 2022 event. It featured anime-themed sights and activities.
These investments and ventures into sporting and entertainment fields are believed to be part of the country’s strategy to diversify its economy and reduce its oil dependence. This is in line with the Saudi Vision 2023 initiative.
However, there’s also a belief that its sporting initiatives in particular are part of a "sportswashing" movement that uses sports to improve a country’s reputation on the world stage in light of human rights issues.
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Saudi Arabia PIF and Toei Animation
According to the latest report by Reuters, Saudi Arabia’s PIF increased its stake in Toei Animation from 5% to 6.03%.
This means it has invested more in the studio behind hits such as Dragon Ball and One Piece.
Meanwhile, PIF’s increase in its Nintendo stake is bigger, as it now has an 8.26% stake, up from the previous 6.07%.
Any sort of investment or takeover from another company or even country is a cause for concern for some fans.
Aside from hesitancy in supporting some countries, something like this may influence Toei Animation’s output.
For now, there is no clear word yet on the potential effect of this increase in stake.
After all, a 6.03% stake likely isn’t enough to seriously affect Toei Animation's creative direction.
Regardless, it remains to be seen if this increase in ownership will affect future Toei productions.
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