Marshall Choy, SVP of Product at SambaNova Systems

Riyadh "Riyadh Daily"
SambaNova Expands to Saudi Arabia: A Strategic Move to Foster AI Innovation and Economic Growth


- What motivated your company to expand to Saudi Arabia?

We are making a strategic investment in Saudi Arabia because the region - like the US - believes AI is a strategic imperative to fuel its economic growth and become a global hub for knowledge-based innovation.

Technology – specifically AI – is reshuffling the world order. As the US, Middle East and other global powers continue to invest and innovate, there is a growing opportunity to create state-of-the-art AI capabilities that help companies gain a competitive advantage to improve decision making and save costs - all with the option to operate on-premise and with privacy of enterprise models at the forefront. As the region aims to become a more prominent global player in AI, deep investment in one of the late stage US enterprise AI players will be key.  

Our goal is to provide durable AI infrastructure to promote the prosperous future of the kingdom by deploying SambaNova Systems. We also plan to help enable, through collaboration, durable model leadership to help establish kingdom leadership for the kingdom in the Middle East and North Africa.

And finally, we will partner with local Saudi organizations to develop and provide skill enablement to support the above two items, enabling deeper expertise in all aspects of AI engineering through collaboration, education and structured training.


- How does the move align with SambaNova's long term strategic goals?

We are focused on forming partnerships that enable entities -- whether they are government institutions or corporations - to achieve their digital transformation goals. Nearly every company needs to be an AI company. We believe AI is an asset, not a tool, and SambaNova delivers enterprise customers secure ownership of their models, as well as the ability to train them on their data, maximizing the value of their AI investment.


- In terms of government incentives and support, how do you see the Saudi government playing a role in supporting AI expansion in the country?

The Saudi government will be helpful in supporting AI expansion in the region. We've seen this elsewhere, where the partnership between a government ministry, private enterprises, and technology providers like SambaNova form the basis for a successful deployment at national and corporate levels. This all comes on the heels of a planned $40B push from the government of Saudi Arabia to invest in AI.



- What potential do you see in the Saudi market for our AI technologies and services?

Beyond technology, AI is going to have a profound impact into business, government and society in the long-term. So, it's important to have alignment across government, private industry and the technology sector, because this will be something that touches every aspect of life and society.

We see this as having a very profound impact on how the growing Saudi startup ecosystem is able to foster innovation and properly grow their businesses using state-of-the-art AI capabilities like SambaNova Suite.


- How does the business environment in Saudi Arabia enhance SambaNova’s growth and innovation capabilities?

I observed a willingness and an appetite to engage, collaborate, and move forward quickly, because there are ambitious AI adoption and acceleration goals within the kingdom.


- What future developments does your company foresee in the context of its operations in Saudi Arabia?

We envision taking things further to deliver AI products and capabilities, as well as co-designing with our partners in the kingdom, to create more localized or regionalized solutions and capabilities specific for the Saudi market.


- How does Saudi Arabia fit into the global AI landscape in your company's view?

Saudi Arabia, similar to many countries across the world, is a peer in innovation on the global stage.


- How do you perceive the Saudi culture?  

The people of Saudi Arabia are incredibly welcoming. I was thrilled to exchange ideas with people who are equally passionate about the possibilities of AI and how it will impact the way we all live and work.

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