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ECONOMY

SoftBank’s Son sees 10 trillion yen fund as stepping stone beyond IT

  • February 9, 2017
  • , Nikkei , p. 14
  • JMH Translation

During the announcement of the company’s financial results on Feb. 8, SoftBank Group President Masayoshi Son disclosed that the group will soon launch an investment fund of about 10 trillion yen in cooperation with Saudi Arabia. The president said that the fund will expand investment in new areas such as healthcare. Son said, “I will create a new organic system of businesses that share the same strategy and visions” in collaboration with enterprises involved in the initiative.

 

“Global venture capital investment totals 65 billion dollars,” Son averred. We will turn a new page in the history of the world economy with SoftBank’s 100-billion-dollar (new fund).”

 

SoftBank will provide 25 billion dollars to the new fund over the next five years, while the Saudi government-backed fund will supply 45 billion dollars. Aside from the two, other Middle Eastern government funds are likely to participate, bringing the estimated size of the fund to over 100 billion dollars.

 

Son explained that through establishment of the new fund, new business opportunities will present themselves, as all existing industries redefine themselves through the advent of “[technological] singularity,” where artificial intelligence exceeds the aggregate intelligence of human race.

 

He revealed his plans to expand investment in fields beyond internet and communications. One such field is healthcare, on which he elaborated by saying, “Although the focus has been on biotechnology in medicine, from now on, it will involve deep learning (by AI). The technology will be used in DNA analysis and prediction of disease for incorporation in the treatment of patients. [The use of AI] is something that naturally follows the revolution in information. (Slightly abridged)

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