It looks like Apple wants to play a bigger role in the advancement of emerging technologies — the company has confirmed that it is investing a whopping $1 billion in the Softbank Fund.
The investment will help as the SoftBank Fund aims to close initial funding by the end of the month, with a final close expected for sometime in mid-2017, according to an article from the Wall Street Journal. Apple joins a growing list of large tech companies — the likes of Qualcomm and Foxconn have also invested in the fund.
“We believe their new fund will speed the development of technologies which may be strategically important to Apple,” said Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet in the Wall Street Journal report.
The fund has a target of $100 billion, so while a $1 billion donation would only be one percent of that goal, it would mean that the largest tech company in the world supports the fund, and that could cause others to invest in it too. SoftBank itself will contribute $25 billion, while the Saudi Arabian government is expected to be the largest contributor with $45 billion.
The SoftBank Fund itself is expected to invest in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, and has even caught the attention of President-elect Donald Trump, who recently met with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son to discuss a pledge for $50 billion of the fund to be invested in the U.S. The fund hopes to launch at some point in 2017.
Rumors began surfacing that Apple was in talks to invest in the fund late last year, however it was unclear at the time if those talks would ultimately result in an investment.
Of course, investing in the fund could also be helpful for Apple — it could help the company gain an insight into the innovation taking place in emerging technologies, which could then be implemented into Apple’s new products.
The investment does represent something of a shift for Apple, which has for the most part only invested small stakes in small companies until now. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the company invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, China’s Uber competitor, in 2016. SoftBank itself also made an investment in that company.
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