Times of India — BEIJING: Indian online marketplace Snapdeal is set to raise $500 million from a group of foreign investors including China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, three people familiar with the matter said on Monday. One of the people said the deal could be finalized within a few days at the earliest but may also take weeks.
Tech in Asia — SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has high hopes for the burgeoning internet-of-things movement. “Each individual, on average, will have more than 1,000 devices that are connected to the internet by 2040,” he told the audience at SoftBank World yesterday. “There will be no devices that aren’t connected.”
Want China Times — ZTE Corporation, China’s leading telecom equipment producer, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese telecom giant SoftBank to enhance their research and development based on ZTE’s Pre5G and Massive MIMO (multiple input multiple output) technology, reports Ccstock.cn, the online version of the Chinese-language Securities Daily.
Telecom Asia — In a keynote speech at the ZTE Global Analyst Conference Monday, Hidebumi Kitahara, senior director for Softbank, described 2017 as a “turning point” for 5G. In a media question-and-answer session later, Kitahara emphasized that while Softbank is moving towards 5G, it’s a process and not an exact science. “As for 2017 being a ‘turning point’, it depends on the definition,” he said. “It’s not like we have all the components. But we are doing a step-by-step migration and 2017 is when it will start to turn.”
China Tech News — Alibaba Group announced that the company and Taiwan-based Foxconn have made strategic investments of JPY14.5 billion, which is about CNY732 million, into SoftBank Robotics Holdings Corporation. Under the agreement signed by the three parties, Alibaba and Foxconn will hold a 20% stake in SBRH, respectively; while SoftBank will own the remaining 60%.
NEW DELHI: Japan-based telecom and Internet major SoftBank Corp and Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group are in talks to form a joint venture for electronics manufacturing in India, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make-in-India’ push helps the country to become an attractive alternative to China as a manufacturing base. Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and maker of the iconic iPhones, will lead the new joint venture while SoftBank will support the former for the same, Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank told ET.
Foxconn Electronics will team up with Japan-based Softbank to form a joint venture for manufacturing robot products, according to Japan-based Nikkei Asian Review. Foxconn and Softbank have been cooperating on the production of robots since June 2014, and Foxconn has rolled out a bunch of ‘Pepper’ robots developed by Softbank’s subsidiary, Aldebaran, said the report.
Smartphones launched by the top-three Japan-based telecom operators for summer 2015 are almost identical in hardware specifications, but the carriers have been trying to differentiate their products with special features, according to Digitimes Research. The three carriers, NTT DoCoMo, Softbank and KDDI au, all are selling smartphones from Sony Mobile Communications and Samsung Electronics, blurring the brand recognition.
TOKYO: Japanese telecoms group SoftBank Corp is investing US$1 billion in South Korean online retailer Coupang as part of a plan to step up its overseas expansion and as it struggles to turn around U.S. carrier Sprint which it bought in 2013. SoftBank has been turning to overseas deals for growth amid a lacklustre Japanese economy and shrinking demographics. The latest move comes two days after SoftBank said it had increased its controlling stake in Supercell, the Finnish mobile games maker best known for its hit title ‘Clash of Clans’.
TOKYO: Japan’s SoftBank unveiled a management reshuffle on Monday, appointing investments head Nikesh Arora as president and naming him as a potential successor to CEO Masayoshi Son, as the telecoms conglomerate steps up its overseas expansion. The move comes as Son and SoftBank are battling to make their 2013 acquisition of US carrier Sprint Corp for more than $20 billion profitable. A sluggish Japanese economy, though, has forced the company to increasingly look overseas for growth.
Tokyo-based ecommerce startup Origami today announced a JPY 1.6 billion (US$13.3 million) series B funding round led by SoftBank Group, Credit Saison, and angel investor Makoto Takano. In addition to the new investment, Origami has also partnered with SoftBank Group and Credit Saison to boost its online-to-offline (O2O) focused mobile shopping experience.
The Indonesian ecommerce joint venture between postal service SingPost and mobile device retailer Trikomsel will go live some time in May, according to Trikomsel president and CEO Sugiono Wiyono. Previously a somewhat mysterious project, we now know the ecommerce firm will start with selling smartphones, clothing, and sports gear. Following a move by Lippo Group’s MatahariMall to offer online-to-offline service in which customers can order online, then pay and pick up goods at a physical store, Trikomsel will leverage its own nationwide network of nearly 1,000 brick-and-mortar shops in the same way.
Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston was in Tokyo this morning to announce the firm’s partnership with SoftBank Commerce and Service (SoftBank C&S). Speaking at the New Economy Summit, Houston also announced that Dropbox has surpassed 10 million Japanese users since opening a Tokyo office last October. Houston explained that the partnership with SoftBank C&S – Japan’s largest information and communications technology distributor – aims to bring Dropbox for Business to one million Japanese users over the next five years.
MUMBAI: A group of investors led by Japanese mobile telecom firm SoftBank Corp is in talks to buy a 20 per cent stake in Indian handset maker Micromax Informatics for up to $1 billion, two people aware of the discussions said. The investment would value Micromax, an unlisted provider of affordable smartphones that competes with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co, at around $5 billion, the people said. They did not want to be named because the talks aren’t public.
MUMBAI: A group of investors led by Japanese mobile telecom firm SoftBank Corp is in talks to buy a 20% stake in Indian handset maker Micromax Informatics for up to $1 billion, two people aware of the discussions said. The investment would value Micromax, an unlisted provider of affordable smartphones that competes with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co, at around $5 billion, the people said. They did not want to be named because the talks aren’t public.
For viewers of Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”, Mumbai’s vast Dharavi slum is a byword for poverty, but to online retailer Snapdeal.com it is a battleground for new customers and, it hopes, a source of better margins. The company’s aspirations are backed up by serious investment from the likes of Japan’s Softbank Corp, which ploughed $627 million into Snapdeal last October, and could soon get a boost from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which is in talks for another cash investment, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.
On Friday, while Asia was sleeping, Mountain View-based startup Quixey announced it closed a US$60 million funding round led by Alibaba, with participation from Softbank, Goldman Sachs, GGV Capital, and others. Re/code first reported the then-upcoming round back in February, so Quixey’s announcement marks the company’s official confirmation.
Pertino, a company reinventing networking for the mobile and cloud era, today announced the launch of a Japanese sales channel for its SDN-powered cloud networking service through a distribution partnership with SoftBank Commerce & Services Corp. (SoftBank C&S). This is the first major partnership in Japan and the second inked under the company’s BlueSky Partner Program—launched in September 2014—following last quarter’s announcement of an alliance with Dell to integrate and resell Pertino’s Cloud Network Engine service within the Dell Cloud Marketplace.
Today, Indonesian jobs information site Qerja announced that after just eight months in operation, the company has secured a series A funding round from the SB ISAT Fund, a collaboration between SoftBank and Indosat. The amount of the round was not disclosed, but Qerja is calling it “one of the highest Series A valuations of any Southeast Asian startup.” The round, it says, puts Qerja at an eight digit valuation. Previously, Qerja was supported by a seed round raised from Mountain Kejora Ventures (formerly known as Mountain SEA Ventures).
India’s startups have been mostly looking West for investment cash, but this is changing. Last year was an inflection point when Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank, visited India and announced plans to pump US$10 billion into India’s “information revolution.” Two-thirds of the first billion from SoftBank went to Snapdeal, to help it compete with ecommerce leaders Flipkart and Amazon. And nearly a quarter of a billion went to taxi app Ola to take on Uber.