Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp is stepping up its India focus with the launch of a new Asia fund worth $5 billion, half of which will be invested in the country, multiple people familiar with the matter told CNBC-TV18.
The Asia fund will be devoted to invest in differentiated companies across development, innovation, technology and telecom, consistent with SoftBank’s strategy.
“The fund will have a 50 percent dedicated allocation to India, which means $2.5 billion will be invested in India out of that fund alone,” said one of the persons familiar with the matter, asking not to be named.
SoftBank is betting big on India at a time when most foreign investors have slowed their incremental investment plans in the world’s fastest growing economy, though net foreign direct investment (FDI) flows improved significantly in the first two months of 2018-19.
“Rising trade protectionism poses a grave risk to near-term and long-term global growth prospects by adversely impacting investment, disrupting global supply chains and hampering productivity,” the RBI’s monetary policy committee said on Wednesday.
“The roadshows for the fund may begin by September and based on the response, the company is hopeful to launch the fund within the first quarter of FY19,” added another person familiar with the development, again requesting anonymity.
The company's investment in the country has crossed $8 billion in five years, one of the highest in the private equity sector.
In 2014, Masayashi Son, the chairman of SoftBank, had committed to investing $10 billion in India by 2024. With the new investment plans, the company is due to cross the target in advance.
The company had earlier invested in Indian internet companies such as Flipkart, Paytm, Snapdeal, Housing, Oyo and InMobi as well as cab hailing company Ola. It sold its nearly 20 percent stake in Flipkart to Walmart in May.