The Wall Street Journal learned on Wednesday that Apple Inc. confirmed its $1 billion investment in SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The fund is the world’s largest initiative for tech development in the world with an expected goal of $100 billion.
The tech giant had claimed an interest in the Vision Fund as far back as July when the organization had yet to formally establish itself in London, United Kingdom.
At the time, CEO Tim Cook expressed an investment could be underway from Apple, but provided no additional details on the matter. Then, in December, several news outlets reported the company was in talks to chip in $1 billion to the cause.
The SoftBank Group itself and the Saudi government are currently the primary contributors to the Vision Fund, with private investors like Qualcomm, Foxconn, and Oracle’s Larry Ellison also pledging money.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund will tackle humanity’s future challenges
The Vision Fund goes beyond the usual expectations of it serving as a money pool for the hottest tech startups around the world, as it intends to invest on initiatives that actually move humanity forward.
Some of the key development areas that the Vision Fund was set up for include, of course, robotics, communications, nanotech, artificial intelligence, driverless tech, and the Internet of Things.
Other more ambitious goals step into the realm of human life itself, with aims at protecting the environment, prolonging life expectancy, and creating a safer, more sustainable world.
For this reason, the SoftBank Group plans to invest $25 billion of its own capital in the venture, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia intends to contribute $45 billion out of its Public Investment Fund.
Apple’s investment is a rare move for the company
Apple’s $1 billion investment joins those of Foxconn, and Qualcomm, who have pledged to help SoftBank’s Vision Fund reach its $100 billion goal in five years.
The move is certainly rare for Apple, a company that has recently abstained from openly participating in both private and public ventures with other industry leaders.
The Silicon Valley titan’s latest investment was in Uber’s top competitor in China, Didi Chuxing. Apple gave $1 billion to Didi back in May 2016, which eventually went on to buy the local subsidiary of Uber in the country later that year.
The SoftBank Group is the sole retailer of iPhone devices back in Japan, and it owns the mobile carrier Sprint in the United States. The conglomerate also acquired ARM last year, the company that owns the technology used in most mobiles chips of today.
SoftBank recently made headlines due to its relationship with President-Elect Donald Trump. Trump had promised to create jobs as part of his plan to “make America great again,” and the Japanese group will have a role in fulfilling that promise.
CEO Masayoshi Son and Donald Trump announced a $50 billion investment in U.S. companies to propel growth and bring unemployment rates down. It was later revealed the money would come from SoftBank’s own Vision Fund.
Source: The Wall Street Journal