After $32B Loss in May, SoftBank to Go on ‘Offense Mode’ With AI

After a series of heavy quarterly losses, Japanese investment behemoth SoftBank Group had to take a defensive approach to prevent further fallouts. However, after amassing significant capital, the holding company is now prepared to initiate its “offense mode” again and plans to use it on its artificial intelligence bets.

SoftBank Accumulated $35.3 Billion in Cash on Hand

Masayoshi Son, CEO and chairman of the Japanese investment giant SoftBank Group, said during the annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday that the company is now ready to shift from its “defense mode” to “offense mode.”

“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).”

– Masayoshi Son told the shareholders.

The move comes after a challenging period for SoftBank, which has incurred significant losses over the past few quarters. As a result, the Tokyo, Japan-based investment holding company was forced to take a much more cautious approach recently than its earlier aggressive strategy that made Softbank one of the world’s biggest startup investors.

Last month, SoftBank reported a record loss at its Vision Fund of $32 billion for the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2022, nearly twice higher than the loss reported in the previous year. In Q4 alone, SoftBank’s Vision Fund 1, Vision Fund 2, and Latin American funds lost a combined $5.8 billion, marking a fourth consecutive quarterly loss for its investment units.

ChatGPT-led AI Boom Urges SoftBank to Go on the Offensive

After playing defense for months, SoftBank’s Son told the shareholders that “the time has come to shift to offense mode.” One of the primary reasons behind the timing of this shift is the ongoing AI boom, Son stated.

“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,” said Son. “We would like to be [in] the leading position for the AI revolution.”

– Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Chairman and CEO.

While Son did not offer hints about AI companies that SoftBank is interested in, the billionaire tech entrepreneur said he is “a heavy user of ChatGPT” describing the chatbot as “amazing.” In addition, Son said that Sam Altman, CEO of the company that developed ChatGPT, is “one of the key people on Earth.”

This article originally appeared on The Tokenist

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