Apple will invest $1 billion into the world's largest technology venture fund

Tim CookGetty Images/Andrew BurtonApple CEO Tim Cook

Apple will invest $1 billion into the SoftBank Vision Fund, which aims to launch this year, Dow Jones first reported on Wednesday.

Apple is joining investors such as Qualcomm and Saudi Arabia’s government fund, which is expected to plow $45 billion into the $100 billion fund. The fund will likely be the world’s largest.

Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank, which owns wireless carrier Sprint among other holdings, is expected to use the fund to invest in technologies like artificial intelligence. Previous reports suggested Apple hopes to gain a better understanding of emerging technologies, in addition to any returns the fund may generate.

In December, president-elect Donald Trump claimed credit for a promise by Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son to invest $50 billion in US companies, bringing 50,000 jobs to the country. Son later revealed that the investment would come from the Vision Fund.

Apple is unusual among tech giants in that it doesn’t run its own venture capital wing. It has invested in companies in the past, though, and Apple has done business with Softbank for years.

Most recently, Apple invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, the Uber of China. Before that, Apple mostly invested in complementary companies like ARM, which designs the chips used in the iPhone, although it divested its stake years before ARM was sold to Softbank for over $30 billion in 2016.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

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