MUMBAI – SoftBank Corp. will invest $627 million in Indian e-retailer Snapdeal.com to tap the growing online market there.
The telecommunications company run by billionaire Masayoshi Son said Tuesday it will also lead an investment of $210 million in ANI Technologies Pvt., which runs the popular Ola Cabs taxi booking service that competes with Uber Technologies Inc.
The announcement makes the SoftBank one of the biggest backers of Indian e-commerce, which CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets projects will grow sevenfold to $22 billion in 2018.
India has one of the youngest online populations and access to the Internet surging as more consumers gain broadband connections and smartphone adoption grows faster than China, spurred by the availability of cheap devices.
“We believe India is at a turning point in its development and have confidence that India will grow strongly over the next decade,” Son said in a statement. “As part of this belief, we intend to deploy significant capital in India over the next few years to support development of the market.”
SoftBank will further strengthen its presence in India and is keen to invest $10 billion in the country in coming years, according to a government statement citing a meeting between Son and Indian Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.