Softbank’s Internet subsidiary plans to invest $4.7 billion in five years, focusing on AI

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Z holdings, an Internet subsidiary of Softbank group of Japan, outlined on Monday a huge plan to invest 500 billion yen (about 4.7 billion US dollars) in science and technology in the next five years, focusing on artificial intelligence (AI).
The announcement comes after Z Holdings’ Internet business, Yahoo Japan, merged with instant messaging service operator line to create a $30 billion internet giant. Novel coronavirus pneumonia was delayed by the market disruption of the new crown pneumonia outbreak, which was completed by October last year. It has also been criticized by overseas hedge funds for offering too low a price.
Z Holdings said in a statement that it aims to achieve 2 trillion yen (18.8 billion US dollars) in sales and 225 billion yen (2.1 billion US dollars) in revenue within three years.
After a complex deal, two-thirds of Z holdings will be owned by a holdings, a new holding company, with Softbank Corp, the Softbank group’s Japan Telecom subsidiary, and naver, the South Korean operator. Z holdings is a consolidated subsidiary of Softbank, and naver is the former majority owner of line.
Kentaro Kawabe, chief executive of Z holdings, and Takeshi idezawa, chief executive of line, will become co CEOs of the merged entity, with businesses spanning e-commerce, payment, advertising and chat.
Z Holdings said it was seeking to integrate line’s QR code payment service line pay into paypay in April 2022. Softbank has been actively promoting paypay to attract consumers away from cash.
By the end of February, paypay had 36 million users in Japan and line pay had about 39 million users. The merger enables paypay to reach more than 80 million Japanese users of line information services. The two former competitors are already merging their businesses. From the second half of April, line pay users will be able to pay at paypay sites that accept QR code payment.
Z Holdings has retained its listing status, one of many such companies in which Softbank has a domestic stake, despite calls for Japanese companies to remove such structures. Z holdings also controls online fashion retailer Zozo and office supplies company askul.
Softbank founder sun Zhengyi, who has invested in several of the world’s largest start-ups, has planned the deal to build a Japanese technology leader that can compete with global rivals such as Google, Amazon and Tencent. (Tencent technology reviser / Jinlu)