#Asia SoftBank may scale up its planned US$10B investment in India


SoftBank has already invested massive amounts in Indian tax-hailing app company Ola and e-commerce giant Snapdeal

Masayoshi Son, Founder and CEO Soft Bank (L) with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R)

Masayoshi Son, Founder and CEO Soft Bank (L) with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R)

The possibility that India could surpass China in the near future has Japan-based SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son betting big on India — so much so that the Internet and telecom giant could scale up its planned US$10 billion investment in India.

“If I rescale, I will scale up. What will US$10 billion become, I don’t know. If I have said that we will invest US$10 billion in 10 years, we have invested US$2 billion in a year. That’s over-pacing and I think we will accelerate,” Son said at the ‘Startup India, Standup India’ event in Delhi on Saturday.

At the ‘Startup India, Standup India’, the government unveiled a series of measures to ease the regulatory hurdles and provide incentives to help grow entrepreneurship and build a stronger startup ecosystem in India.

The 21st century belongs to India where huge opportunities exist, he said at the event. “Every market is different. I truly think this is really the beginning of Big Bang for India.”

“In the next 10 years, India will repeat the growth that China saw in the last 10 years and in my opinion, India could be bigger (than China),” he added.

Also Read: At a glance: 10 key points of Startup India action plan

SoftBank Internet and Media Inc, a unit of SoftBank, is an investor in India’s online taxi-hailing giant Ola and e-commerce major Snapdeal. Its first investment in India was mobile ad network InMobi, which received US$200 million for a 35 per cent stake.

SoftBank has also formed a joint venture with India’s Bharti Group, called Bharti SoftBank. It runs instant messaging app Hike which recently raised an undisclosed amount from the founders of Dropbox and WordPress.

How does Son decide on which startup to invest in? “Whenever I invest I look at the eyes and I look at the field. Are they unique and is the market growing,” he said.

Also Read: SoftBank-backed Grofers shuts operations in 9 cities due to poor uptake

“My team always does some homework before the season. In the case of China, Alibaba they did not have much of a team. So it was like an instinct,” he said. “For a startup, it is like falling in love with a beautiful girl, it’s not always about logic.”

While he is happy with SoftBank’s current portfolio, he said Internet and solar are the sectors that excited him.

Son, Japan’s second-richest person with a net worth of over US$14 billion, said infrastructure is important for India’s growth and mobile broadband infrastructure is still lacking in India.

Image Credit: Press Information Bureau

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