Apple to invest $1bn in SoftBank fund

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Smartphone-maker plans to invest up to $1 billion in Japanese telco's $100 billion Vision Fund

Apple has confirmed its plans to invest $1 billion in SoftBank’s global technology fund, marking a major coup for the Japanese giant.

SoftBank announced the $100 billion tech fund in October, and reports emerged in December that Apple, the world’s biggest company in terms of market capitalisation, was looking to get on board.

SoftBank, which owns a network in Japan as well as Sprint in the United States, has already pledged to invest at least $25 billion over the next five years in the Vision Fund, which will is expected to launch later this year. It will focus on emerging technologies, such as 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence.

"We've worked closely with SoftBank for many years and we believe their new fund will speed the development of technologies which may be strategically important to Apple," the iPhone-maker said in a statement.

The Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also pledged an investment, worth up to $45 billion over five years. Foxconn, Qualcomm and the family office of Oracle founder Larry Ellison have all also held talks with SoftBank about possible investment opportunities, according to Reuters.

When he announced the fund, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said it would become the “Biggest investor in the technology sector” in the world. Following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, Son said $50 billion of the funds would be invest in the United States, creating 50,000 new jobs in the country.

Around 10% of those jobs are expected to be created through Sprint. The Japanese firm has held a majority share in the telco since 2013.

After a meeting between Son and Trump, the latter claimed credit for the investment announcement, saying: "Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!"