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SoftBank to invest $10Bn on Indian e-commerce & telecom companies

Softbank LogoJapanese telecom giant SoftBank has committed to invest $10 billion in the IT and communications segment in India in the coming years, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has told PTI.

As per an official statement to the publication, SoftBank will be looking for opportunities in the telecom and e-commerce segment. Softbank Chairman Masayoshi Son has also requested the minister to sort out the spectrum issues and develop a robust mobile phone infrastructure in the country.

This statement comes on the heels of SoftBank’s $627 million investment into the online marketplace Snapdeal, making it the largest investor in the company. SoftBank is also leading a $210 million investment into the cab booking service Olacabs. A source-based ET report also suggests that SoftBank is in talks to invest $300 million in the mobile-focused marketplace and digital wallet service Paytm.

SoftBank’s investments in India

SoftBank has been fairly active in the country in the past year or so. Earlier this month, it had entered into a joint venture with the Hollywood production house and media company Legendary Entertainment, to offer premium content on its mobile platforms, with a focus on India and China markets.

It had also formed a mobile internet joint venture with Bharti Enterprises that runs Airtel called Bharti Softbank (BSB) in October 2011. This venture currently operates three mobile ventures including mobile messaging app Hike, mobile gaming venture Tiny Mogul Games and location-based deals service Hoppr

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Brightstar, of which Softbank is the largest shareholder, had also picked up a majority stake in Bharti owned Beetel in July this year. Brightstar had mentioned that this acquisition will enable them to distribute mobile devices and accessories from popular manufacturers through Beetel’s distribution channels in the country. Interestingly, former Google executive Nikesh Arora who was on Airtel’s board from 2008 to March 2014, had joined as the CEO of SoftBank Internet and Media Inc (SIMI) and Vice President of Softbank Corporation in July this year.

Back in September 2011, SoftBank had also invested $200 million into the mobile ad network InMobi, which was the largest investment raised by an Internet company in India until Flipkart raised $360 million investment in October last year and followed it up with a $1 billion investment in July this year. 

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