Trump banks on big tech investment from Middle East
By April Kirstin Chua
US President Donald Trump met SoftBank Vision Fund Masayoshi Son just weeks after taking his seat on the presidency to discuss a huge new technology fund and investment. The fund is almost reaching its target of $100 billion and most of the cash, reportedly, comes from the Middle East.
United Arab Emirates' sovereign wealth funds Mubadala announces its plan to contribute as much as $15 billion to the fund. A spokesman for Mubadala says it is the right investment opportunity to take advantage of an inflection point in the next wave of the technological revolution. Saudi Arabia already committed $45 billion from its public investment fund. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salaman is controlling the kingdom's economy.
The SoftBank Vision Fund was announced last October led by Masayoshi Son, who is the billionaire founder and CEO of Softbank. Japan's biggest and well-known telecommunications company has given $25 billion to the fund. Son discussed the matter with Trump in December and vowed to invest $50 billion in the US to help create 50,000 jobs. Media outlets later reported that Son had intended to cut the investment from the Vision Fund.
Trump has claimed credit for the investment. "Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election," as per the president's tweet. He criticized rival Hillary Clinton during the election campaign for accepting money from Saudi Arabia for the Clinton Fund.
Meanwhile, billions of dollars of Saudi and UAE government money will pour in US technology firms if Son makes good of his investment pledge. Mubadala adds the deal will be finalized in the next few weeks. Steve Jobs' tech giant is another noteworthy investor in the SoftBank Vision Fund.
Apple has committed to invest $1 billion, which leaves at least $14 billion up for grabs. Qualcomm, which works with Apple, will provide that money but says the amount is confidential and still under discussion.