Japan’s SoftBank has announced the second edition of its mega Vision Fund focused on investment into artificial intelligence-related technologies. The fund is expected to have a corpus of 108 billion.

SoftBank announced the list of expected participants in the new fund on Friday.

It is expected to exceed the first fund's value of $100 billion. For the new fund, the SoftBank will contribute $38 billion.

Prominent companies joining Vision Fund 2 include Apple, Microsoft, Standard Chartered Bank, Foxconn, financial giants Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and MUFG Bank.

In May, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son had said that Vision Fund 2 will be bigger than its predecessor.

However, sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are absent from the list.

The National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan and investors from Taiwan are among the new participants in the fund.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi had expressed willingness to invest in the second fund but Riyadh’s commitment would be less than the $45 billion it offered in the first fund.

SoftBank said it expects the capital contribution of Fund 2 to rise further as discussions are in progress with potential participants.

The first fund was noted for investing billions of dollars into technology and telecommunication companies and delivered about 45 percent rate of return to partners on a net equity basis.

Among the invested companies included Uber, Slack, The We Company, and Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.

SoftBank stock jumped 0.59 percent in morning trade.

AI as a sunrise sector of investment

Meanwhile, analysts have highlighted the rise of AI and machine learning as areas of big-ticket investments.

According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, they have the potential to create an additional $2.6 trillion in value by 2020 in marketing and sales, and $2 trillion in manufacturing.

In 2018, artificial Intelligence-related companies raised $9.3 billion. It was a whopping 72 percent increase over 2017, according to the PwC/CB Insights MoneyTree Report.

In Q1 2019, the number of artificial intelligence deals jumped to 116, compared to 104 deals in Q4, 2018, said the PwC/CB Insights MoneyTree Report Q1 2019.

SoftBank’s newest robot is designed to mop the floor. Getty Images/Kazuhiro Nogi

AI-based marketing patents are also growing at a massive annual rate of 29.3 percent between 2010 and 2018, according to insight.

Apple’s aggressive expansion in AI projects

In the latest AI news, Apple’s investment in various AI projects has been notable.

Apple is also adding high profile talent to various AI projects. It recently hired a prominent figure from Google’s artificial intelligence research wing.

Ian Goodfellow had worked at Google and OpenAI, founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Goodfellow is known for his GANs, a type of AI network that generates visual imagery. He joined Apple as its director for machine learning projects.

Google’s head of AI, John Giannandrea joined the iPhone maker in April last year.