Will seriously accelerate investment in India: Masayoshi Son

Warns that India needs to overcome mobile broadband infrastructure and electricity challenges to fuel the growth momentum

Shutapa Paul
Published: Jan 16, 2016 12:47:12 PM IST
Updated: Jan 16, 2016 02:43:01 PM IST
Will seriously accelerate investment in India: Masayoshi Son
Image: Getty Images
Masayoshi Son is the founder and CEO of Softbank

Softbank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son reaffirmed his belief in the Indian market by voicing plans of increasing investment in India. Last year, Son had announced that he would invest USD 10 billion in 10 years. “If I have said USD 10 billion in 10 years, I have already done USD 2 billion that is over pacing. I think we will seriously accelerate,” Son said at the Startup India policy event held in the capital on Saturday. Softbank is a Japanese telecom and media company.

Exuding enthusiasm for the Indian market, Son said that the 21st Century belongs to India. “Every time I visit India I get more excited, more convinced…India can be bigger in momentum than China in the next 10 years,” said Son adding that in the next one year there would be more startups popping up in India rather than witnessing consolidation. While mobile Internet will make the domestic Internet market “big enough”, Son cautioned that mobile broadband infrastructure and electricity were two areas that were still lacking in the country.

Softbank has pumped in capital in startups such as Snapdeal, Oyo Rooms and Housing.com among others. The venture also has plans of investing USD 20 billion in the solar projects in India. While divulging his thinking behind investing in potential startups, Son said that he looks at the investors’ eyes. “You don’t fall in love with a beautiful person just with logic,” said Son on a lighter vein adding that he backs entrepreneurs. “The captain of the ship has to make up his mind from day one that I will be the last guy to leave the ship. Whenever there is crisis, even if I will be the last guy, I will sail the ship back again. That strong mind makes people follow you. If you have that kind of leader, I like to bet on them,” said Son.

The new business models should have capability of analysing big data using power of computing, create algorithms, and deep learning, said Son. “The Information revolution will be 100 times bigger than industrial revolution,” said Son. Asking entrepreneurs to retain passion to tide over crisis, Son also had a word of caution for young entrepreneurs. “Investors are coming with big cheques. (So) some times the entrepreneurs (think) that they have already become rich without delivering something. They should never misunderstand. They should keep the passion to grow the company,” said Son.

Speaking earlier at the event, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised startup friendly measures in the forthcoming Union Budget.

"Government will be a facilitator with negligible role in day-to-day interventions...Once the startup movement picks up, Indian entrepreneurship will enjoy eventual freedom from the state...Startup friendly tax measures to be announced in the Budget," he said.

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