SoftBank to invest $10 bn in India, focus e-commerce

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 28 2014, 08:06am hrs
Japanese telecom major SoftBank aims to invest $10 billion in India, with a focus on the rapidly growing e-commerce space. Masayoshi Son, Japan's richest person and chairman and CEO of Softbank, told telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday that India is the top-most priority for the company.

Son told the minister that the visit of PM Narendra Modi to Japan has created a climate of hope and optimism about greater economic cooperation between India and Japan. He expressed immense faith in e-commerce potential of India. He estimated it to become a $0.5 trillion business in 10 years, an official statement said.

Son added that the growth of e-commerce would lead to employment generation in India by opening up new avenues. He requested the minister to develop robust mobile phone infrastructure and sort out the issues relating to spectrum.

The 57-year-old Son, who has a personal net worth of $16.6 billion, is reportedly planning

$1 billion worth of investment in online retailer Snapdeal, besides other e-commerce websites like Paytm and radio taxi service Olacabs. At present, it has investment worth $21 million in Hike, a mobile messenger service which is a joint venture with Sunil Mittal's Bharti Group, and $200 million in mobile advertising firm InMobi. Besides telecom, SoftBank is a major investor in the communication and media space, one of its biggest successes being China's Alibaba.com.

At the meeting on Monday, Prasad shared the vision of 'Digital India' with Son. He informed Son about incentives such as electronic manufacturing clusters and MSIPS that the government is providing to boost electronic manufacturing. He shared the Smart City project that this government has committed to develop and explained how this would create huge demand for electronic goods and IT services in the coming years. The minister also informed Son about the vision of the government to transform India into an IT product nation, the statement said.