Apple joins Foxconn and Microsoft in $108 billion fund focused on A.I.

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Apple could be a $2 trillion company by end of 2021
New fund will be organized by SoftBank.
Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has teamed up with investors including Foxconn, Microsoft and… the National Bank of Kazakhstan to participate in a new “technology mega fund.”

The $108 billion fund is organized by SoftBank Group Corp. The goal is to focus on investing in A.I. related technologies.

The Vision Fund 2 is a follow-up to SoftBank’s previous $100 million Vision Fund. The first fund was backed by governments from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Neither Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi are involved in Vision Fund 2 at present.

Other players in the fund

Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, SMBC Nikko Securities, Daiwa Securities Group, Standard Chartered Bank, and “major participants from Taiwan” are also investing in the fund. SoftBank will contribute $38 billion of its own funds to the overall pot.

SoftBank’s board of directors met Thursday to approve the investment.

U.S. regulators are currently readying to approve the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. The completion of this deal will clear SoftBank of billions of dollars of debt. This gives it cash to invest again.

Apple has not revealed exactly how much money it is investing in the fund. But it’s yet more evidence that the company is keen to explore A.I. technology after years in which it fell behind in this area.

Even if, in this case at least, it’s only about chasing return on investment.

Source: MarketWatch and TechCrunch