Seeking to woo investors from Asia’s second biggest economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today began his six-day Japan visit as he met Masayoshi Son, the CEO of Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Group, which is eyeing “one of the biggest” investments in solar power sector in India. Jaitley said many investors including SoftBank are keen to invest in infrastructure sector to be part of the Indian growth story. “There are people who want to participate in infrastructure growth story. For example, SoftBank meeting we just had, they are looking at one of the biggest investments in solar power already,” he said after meeting Son. In June last year, SoftBank announced it was forming a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group to invest about USD 20 billion in renewable energy in India. The joint venture would aim to generate 20 gigawatts of electricity.
“They have made considerable headway and have identified location. It will probably be one of the largest investment in those areas,” Jaitley said. The Japanese telecom and Internet giant has made a string of tech investments in India, investing USD 2 billion in the past two years. SoftBank is looking at accelerating the pace of investments in the future. “India has a great future…we are interested in investing for Internet companies also for solar energy. We would make a strong commitment,” Son said. Son had previously said that India’s market is poised for massive growth, making it an important destination for investors. SoftBank has in the past two years made a string of tech investments in India, including USD 627 million in online- retailing marketplace Snapdeal and leading a USD 210 million funding round in taxi-hailing app Ola Cabs.
It paid USD 200 million for a 35 per cent stake in InMobi, an Indian mobile-advertising network, starting in 2011. SoftBank also has a joint venture with Bharti Group, Bharti SoftBank, the investments of which include the mobile application Hike Messenger. Its other investments include real-estate website Housing.com, hotel-booking app Oyo Rooms and Grofers.