Having made a string of technology investments in India, Japanese telecom and Internet giant SoftBank has said its investments in the country will top USD 10 billion in 5-10 years.SoftBank, which owns one of Japan’s biggest mobile carriers and a controlling stake in US-based Sprint Corp, will make its first USD 350 million investment in a solar project in India, its Chief Executive Masayoshi Son told PTI here.
“We have already invested USD 2 billion and we are interested in investing more,” he said. “India has a great future. We are interested in investing in Internet companies and also in solar energy. We would make strong commitments.”Son said SoftBank is looking at accelerating the pace of investments in future.”We also made a first move on solar energy. We are making USD 350 million investment in first project in solar (in India). We will expand. In next 5-10 years, we will definitely make probably around USD 10 billion of investments,” he added.
In June last year, SoftBank announced a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group to generate 20 gigawatts of renewable energy. This would entail the three partners investing about USD 20 billion.Son said achieving the electricity generation target would depend on power purchase agreements being signed with offtaker states, adding that “we will support it”.SoftBank’s investments in the past two years include 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.SoftBank also has a JV with the Bharti Group, Bharti SoftBank, the investments of which include the mobile application Hike Messenger. Its other investments cover real estate website Housing.com, hotel-booking app Oyo Rooms and Grofers.Son said India’s market is poised for massive growth, making it an important destination for investors.
Asked whether concerns about high valuations would lead SoftBank to cut its planned investments in the country, he said, “We are very very confident about India, so we will increase investment. I am not worried. I am very very excited about the opportunity.” .