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KDDI seeks to win 5G era with $180m startup fund

Japanese telecom also eyes new fields like entertainment and fintech

KDDI President Makoto Takahashi aims to use the company's communications network to foster startups. (Photo by Manami Yamada)

TOKYO -- Japanese telecom KDDI will establish a 20 billion yen ($186 million) fund to bolster investment in fifth-generation wireless service and other digital technologies, responding to encroachment into its domain by companies such as online retailer Rakuten.

KDDI intends to improve collaboration with startups developing technologies including 5G, the "internet of things" and artificial intelligence, President Makoto Takahashi told reporters on Thursday in Tokyo. The company will harness its communications network to expand these ventures and partner with them on such tasks as the development of next-generation services.

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