Tokyo Trip

Al Jaber meets with SoftBank to explore energy, AI investments

SoftBank is reportedly looking to borrow $10 billion to enable investments in energy-related projects, as it also seeks to gain access to Nvidia video chips

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, met with Mr. Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank Group, in Tokyo. (Photo: Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology/ Instagram)

The UAE’s power man met with the head of SoftBank on Thursday as the Japanese firm is reportedly looking to make investments at the intersection of energy and artificial intelligence. 

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, who in addition to serving in the Cabinet as Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology is also CEO of state-owned oil company ADNOC and Chairman of alternative energy firm Masdar, met with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son in Tokyo.

The pair discussed “trends in the energy, industry and advanced technology sectors, highlighting the importance of increasing strategic investments in these areas to enhance sustainable economic growth,” according to an Instagram post from the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology.

Abu Dhabi and SoftBank have a history: The capital’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala was an anchor investor in Son’s Vision Fund I, ultimately writing down its stake as the fund’s big play for WeWork went belly up.

SoftBank’s fortunes have since reversed with Arm. The U.K. chip designer it acquired in 2016 has more than doubled its market capitalization to about $170 billion since going public last year in New York.

The Information reported on Thursday that SoftBank is looking to borrow up to $10 billion from banks to enable investments in energy-related projects. The data centers that power AI are hugely energy-intensive and face growing demand.

SoftBank is also exploring ways to gain access to a large volume of Nvidia’s graphics processing units, the building block of AI development, the Silicon Valley publication reported. 

Al Jaber also met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as well as Hayashi Yoshimasa, Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Taro Kono, Minister of Digital Transformation.

Alongside UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Thani Al Zeyoudi, he met with Ken Saito, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan to discuss strengthening trade and investments in energy and advanced industry with the world’s fourth-largest economy.