In early January 2017, Apple announced plans to invest $1 billion in Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank's $100 billion technology venture capital fund. Apple will reportedly join a list of other expected investors which include Foxconn Technology Group and Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison. Other companies like Qualcomm have already committed to the fund.
The purpose of SoftBank's $100 billion Vision Fund is to invest in strategic areas including the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) as part of efforts by SoftBank CEO, Masayoshi Son, to help the company capitalize on emerging opportunities, according to reports.
A market analyst, according to The Wall Street Journal, is said to have stated that the investment could be aimed at helping Apple's core smartphone business maintain competitiveness as the IoT markets grow. The investment could also reflect Apple's increasing interest in partnering with other companies to ensure its growth.
For example, Apple's change in strategy and growing interest in partnerships was evident by the company's $1 billion investment in China's alternative to Uber, Didi Chuxing, in 2015.