Apple, Microsoft join SoftBank's mega $108bn fund for AI

New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) In a bid to accelerate the development and adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technology, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group on Friday announced the launch of "Vision Fund 2" with participation from tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Foxconn, among others.

The new private investment fund's capital has reached about $108 billion and SoftBank Group's own investment will be $38 billion, the company said in a statement.

"The objective of the Fund is to facilitate the continued acceleration of the AI revolution through investment in market-leading, tech-enabled growth companies,' said SoftBank.

The total expected contribution of capital to the tech megafund und has reached approximately USD 108 billion

Other institutions who are expected to participate in the fund are Mizuho Bank, Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, Ltd., Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Limited, Daiwa Securities Group Inc., National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan, Standard Chartered Bank, and major participants from Taiwan.

"The new fund is expected to decrease SoftBank's reliance on Saudi Arabian investment and also potentially change the relationship between startups, corporate giants like Microsoft and investors," reports TechCrunch.

In its first $97 billion Vision Fund announced in early 2017, SoftBank invested in companies like Paytm, Oyo Rooms, ride-hailing firms Didi Chuxing and Grab and grocery delivery startup Grofers, among others.

The maiden fund has earned 62 per cent returns to date, SoftBank said last month.

According to Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Chief Executive, the new fund will benefit from the rising amount of real-world data gathered by sensors, cameras and other machines.

--IANS

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