Japan’s private investment in India tops $1 billion in first half of 2017

Nna/kyodo

Japanese firms invested at least $1.43 billion (about ¥163 billion) in Indian private equity and venture capital deals in the first half of 2017, more than triple the $459 million in 2016, according to data provided by Indian research firm Venture Intelligence.

Telecommunications giant SoftBank Group Corp. accounted for $1.40 billion, or 98.9 percent, of the first-half sum with two large deals in the telecom sector.

Six other deals were sealed with Japanese companies, ranging from marketing for agriculture and logistics to travel and wellness, the data showed.

In one of its two deals, SoftBank invested in One97 Communications Ltd., which operates India’s largest mobile payment and commerce platform under the Paytm brand.

The remaining $30 million came from Mistletoe Inc., GREE Ventures Inc., Rebright Partners Ltd. and SoftBank, in partnership with other non-Japanese firms, in deals involving various Indian startups.

Japanese investors like RE.A.PRA Ventures Ltd. and asset management firm Asuka Holdings Inc., along with their partners, also invested undisclosed sums, according to the Chennai-based research firm that tracks private equity and venture capital investments in the country.

The Indian startups involved include agricultural marketing platform Ninjacart, logistics service platform Lets Transport, digital community platform for women POPxo, real estate service provider Property Share Online Platform Ltd., adventure travel startup Deyor Adventures Ltd., wellness startup Healthians and Balance Hero Co. that provides an app enabling prepaid mobile phone users to check their remaining credit balance.

According to the research firm, even the lesser known Japan-based investors such as Beenos Inc., Digital Garage Inc. and GMO Internet Inc. have shown a keen interest in Indian startups.

Total private equity investments recorded in the first six months of 2017 in India reached $11.34 billion, up 53.2 percent from the same period last year, Venture Intelligence said.

“The most heartening factor about the investment figures of 2017 is that it has been spread across a wide range of sectors,” said Arun Natarajan, chief executive officer of Venture Intelligence.

“While last year’s favorites, the financial services and infrastructure sectors, continue to attract mega dollars, big-ticket investments in companies like Paytm have provided reassurance that the e-commerce story in India is far from over,” he added.