Switching Back To Offense Mode
SoftBank Group's chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son, announced on Wednesday that the Japanese investment firm is preparing to transition from a defensive stance to an offensive strategy, aiming to seize the opportunities presented by the flourishing field of artificial intelligence.
- During the company's annual general meeting, Son emphasized the need for this strategic shift, stating, “In the past few years, we focused on being [on] ‘defense.’ Three years ago, we didn’t have a lot of cash on hand. But because we have been in defense mode, we have built our cash on hand to five trillion yen ($35.3 billion)”.
- SoftBank Group, known for its extensive involvement in venture capital through its Vision Fund, has experienced a series of challenges and triumphs.
- During the defense mode phase, the company curtailed new investments and reduced its stake in Alibaba. In May, the Vision Fund encountered a significant setback, reporting an unprecedented loss of $32 billion.
China, ARM And Chatbots
SoftBank's Vision Fund has made significant investments in Chinese tech firms, which faced challenges due to Beijing's regulatory crackdown on the country's tech sector and subsequent decline in share prices. Notable companies in SoftBank's portfolio include ByteDance, DiDi Grocery and Coupang.
- SoftBank is also currently preparing for the initial public offering (IPO) of Arm, the UK-based chip design firm it acquired in 2016. Arm has filed for listing in the United States, and according to SoftBank's CFO Yoshimitsu Goto, the IPO process is progressing smoothly.
- The field of artificial intelligence has experienced remarkable growth in recent months, driven in part by the viral popularity of the chatbot ChatGPT. ChatGPT has captivated researchers and the general public with its remarkable ability to generate human-like responses to user prompts. Son himself expressed his enthusiasm for ChatGPT, stating that he was a heavy user of the tool.
Artificial Intelligence To Lead The Way
SoftBank Group's chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son, expressed his keen interest and dedication to the AI revolution, believing that computers and AI will surpass human capabilities. “What I am interested in most, what I am working on most, is the AI revolution. I believe that mankind is going to be exceeded by computer or AI,” Son stated. He further emphasized the company's ambition, stating, “We would like to be [in] the leading position for the AI revolution”.
- He expressed his belief that this reality would unfold by the time his grandkids reached his current age. In his vision, SoftBank would play a crucial role as an architect, becoming an infrastructure player on top of which many AI projects flourish.
- Yet, the potential perils of artificial intelligence have been a topic of concern among prominent figures in the tech industry. They have emphasized the need for a global regulatory body to oversee A.I. technology and mitigate any existential threats it may pose to humanity.
Please note that this article does not constitute investment advice in any form. This article is not a research report and is not intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision. All investments involve risk and the past performance of a security or financial product does not guarantee future returns. Investors have to conduct their own research before conducting any transaction. There is always the risk of losing parts or all of your money when you invest in securities or other financial products. Please note that the writer of this article is not registered as a financial advisor.