SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son, who had committed to invest $10 billion in India over a decade, on Friday said that he remained bullish on the country and would expand on his existing Internet investments.
“I have the funds, we are looking for opportunities,” Son, 59, said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. He added that he is expecting to surpass his commitment of $10 billion that he made in October 2014.
Son-led SoftBank has already invested $2 billion in India in the last two years. E-commerce marketplace Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd), cab aggregator Ola Cabs (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd), budget hotels aggregator Oyo Rooms (Oravel Travel Pvt. Ltd) and hyperlocal start-up Grofers India Pvt. Ltd were among the recipients.
Son spoke about what the world would be like in 30 years. “Computer intelligence will surpass mankind intelligence by 2018,” he predicted.
Son claimed his investment in ARM Holdings will lead this change. ARM is a UK-based chip maker, which Son acquired for $32 billion early this year. He claims to have paid a 40% premium for the publicly listed company.
“I told myself, I am the luckiest man, I got the company so cheap,” he said. Thirty years on, Son envisions it will be a trillion-dollar bet. “ARM sold 15 billion chips last year… and it will sell one trillion chips over the next 20 years. If one chip is for $1, it is a $1 trillion bet,” he said in a conversation with R. Sukumar, editor of Mint.
Last month, Son along with the Saudi Arabian government announced a $100 billion fund to make investments in technology, of which SoftBank’s share will be $25 billion.
In the last two years, SoftBank has also worked on a human robot, Pepper. Son claims it is the first human robot with emotions. He believes that if robots only chase productivity it will be dangerous for mankind.
Son sits atop a sprawling technology conglomerate that owns Japan’s largest telecommunications company, the local arm of global internet major Yahoo! and UK’s ARM Holdings besides having a plethora of investments in firms across the world.
Now the second richest man in Japan, Son made a fortune from his investment in China’s Alibaba Holdings Group Ltd. In 2000, he invested $20 million in the then fledgling Alibaba that went public in 2014. The initial public offering valued Son’s 32% stake at $79 billion.
Son claims it is easier for him to see the long-term potential of companies. “I am actually better at forecasting 30 years later than three years later.”
Little wonder then that he wants to be remembered as a “crazy guy who bet on the future”.
This article was first published on Livemint.com