Ecosystem Roundup: SoftBank sells off Vision Fund assets | TaniFund’s license revoked | OpenAI to announce Google search competitor

SoftBank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son

SoftBank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son

Dear reader,

SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund, under the guidance of founder Masayoshi Son, is undergoing a significant transformation, shifting focus towards semiconductors and AI.

This strategic shift has led to the selling off or writing down of publicly listed holdings, resulting in a substantial reduction in the US-listed portfolio’s value.

The decline is attributed to SoftBank’s divestment of stakes and the market value decrease of firms like Coupang, DoorDash, and Grab.

Son’s attention has turned to chip company Arm, in which SoftBank holds a 90% stake, now valued more than the entirety of SoftBank. Amidst staff reductions, the Vision Fund is refocusing on asset management and mitigating losses. Plans for additional Vision Funds remain uncertain, with Son contemplating a significant investment in a chip venture.

The recent gain in the December quarter of 2023 suggests a potential turnaround for the Vision Fund amidst its AI-focused strategy, exemplified by the sale of most of its Alibaba stake.




SoftBank sells off Vision Fund assets as Son pivots to AI, chips
Its US-listed portfolio, for one, has shrunk by nearly US$29B since late 2021; The cause is a mix between SoftBank selling off stakes and a decline in market value for firms like Coupang, DoorDash, and Grab.

Indonesian market regulator revokes TaniFund’s license, asks firm to liquidate
TaniFund has struggled with bad credit; Reports said that from Oct 2022 to early 2023, its 90-day repayment success rate had declined from 50% to 36%; By 2022-end, OJK had received 29 customer complaints concerning default cases.

OpenAI plans to announce Google search competitor on Monday, sources say
OpenAI’s search product is an extension of its flagship ChatGPT product, and enables ChatGPT to pull in direct information from the Web and include citations, according to Bloomberg.

Japan pushing South Korea’s Naver to sell stake in Line
Following a data leak that affected Line’s Japanese users, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued orders to Line operator LY Corporation to reform its corporate structure, among other things.

SeaTown leads US$40M funding of asset servicing firm Linnovate Partners
Linnovate Partners’s PE and VC clients leverage its asset servicing solutions to enhance operations through fund administration, investor relations, and regulatory compliance.

VNG posts US$297M in revenue, US$82M in losses for 2023
The revenue is below the US$393.3M target it had set in July last year; CEO Le Hong Minh said that the company’s gaming segment grew in 2023 after a flat 2022, while its international revenue continued to improve.

SoftBank’s Vision Funds post annual gain of US$4.6B in FYE March 2024
This result included gains associated with the Vision Funds’ investments in chipmaker Arm and other subsidiaries of SoftBank; SoftBank had posted over US$33.8B loss in the previous financial year.

Jejakin raises US$2.7M to help organisations achieve net zero targets
The investors are Bhinneka Power, Indogen Capital, SMDV, and East Ventures; Jejakin allows companies to carry out emission calculations from operational activities, making it easier to determine, execute, and report sustainability plans.

IT ministry, IBM launch new initiative for Indonesian startups to achieve PMF
The SSI X IBM programme offers a chance for startups to become official build partners of and gain exposure to IBM’s base and ecosystem; Startups in the bootstrap to Series A funding stages can apply.

TikTok to label AI-generated content from OpenAI and elsewhere
Researchers have expressed concern that AI-generated content could be used to interfere with US elections this fall, and TikTok was already among a group of 20 tech companies that earlier this year signed an accord pledging to fight it.

Malaysia signs 25 LOIs with sovereign wealth funds, global VCs at KL20 summit
The 25 entities participating in the LOIs have a combined AUM valuation exceeding US$1B; A thousand international investors, startups, and over 3,000 global and local participants attended the conference.


Road to Echelon X: Exciting things we have in store
Here’s a quick glimpse of the upcoming Echelon X, from thought-provoking panel discussions to exciting partnerships and collaborations.


How Patsnap aims to lead the way in AI innovation with its in-house model development
Unlike many others, Patsnap develops its models rather than relying on external organisations such as OpenAI.

Funding frenzy in SEA: From AI chatbots to sustainable rice farming
Key investments include Brainfish, Runchise, and NSG BioLabs, spanning AI, agritech, renewable energy, and HR.


Vatic AI to focus on financial services clientele following Dilip Krishnan’s appointment as CEO
Vatic AI aims to leverage its Qscore product, which utilises AI to predict the credit qualifications of anonymous online audiences.

Cambodia: A rising tech power in Southeast Asia
Cambodia’s tech scene has vast potential; we must showcase it globally to attract international players and unlock its full potential.

How to win the war for top talent in emerging Asia
Attracting talent is just the start; the real test lies in retaining them for the long haul, where deeper engagement strategies become vital.

With AI comes huge reputational risks: How businesses can navigate the ChatGPT era
Navigating the benefits of AI technology requires balancing its advantages with the need to mitigate reputational risks.


What if cybersecurity included everyone it protects?
Hackuity promotes diversity in cybersecurity, fostering inclusive global teams to address industry challenges effectively.

The 3 questions that will help maximise every entrepreneur’s productivity
To run a business successfully, you must know not only about the insides of the business but also about managing your time well. As an entrepreneur, your time cannot be dedicated to every single activity.

Rewiring our world: How neuroscience unlocks the secret to sustainable tech
Neuroscience offers tools designed to engage, motivate, and inspire — tools that can make sustainability a core part of the tech culture.

Can generative AI usher us into the gilded age of ad creativity?
Creativity will always involve humans; our goal is to forge a fair future where human creativity collaborates seamlessly with transformative tech.

Charting the roadmap for the era of pervasive AI
Leaders need to grasp the current AI landscape, its key technologies, opportunities, and how organisations can advance AI technology.

India beats Singapore, US to rank highest for AI project implementation
About 70% of companies in India have AI projects up and running or in motion, in stark contrast with the global average of 49%.

The perils of oversharing: How social media feeds cyberattacks
Oversharing on social media platforms may seem innocuous, but the ramifications can be far-reaching and severe.

The journey of Alternō: A tale of innovation, sustainability, and friendship
Alternō envisions a world where sustainable energy is accessible and affordable for all, heralding a new era of eco-conscious living.

Following triumph at global startup competition, RizqX aims to further promote its halal investments platform
RizqX focuses on empowering Muslims to make informed financial decisions following Shariah principles.

X marks Echelon. Join us at Singapore EXPO on May 15-16 for the 10th edition of Asia’s leading tech and startup conference. Enjoy 2 days of building connections with potential investors, partners, and customers, exploring innovation, and sharing insights with 8,000+ key decision-makers of Asia’s tech ecosystem. Get your tickets here.

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