SoftBank’s Chief Seeks to Boost Investment in Indonesia

SoftBank Group Corp. will invest $2 billion in Indonesia through ride-hailing giant Grab over the next five years and plans to explore investment opportunities in the country’s electric battery and renewable energy sectors.

The Japanese conglomerate, which announced plans last week to raise a total of $108 billion for its second Vision Fund, will also increase its investment in e-commerce startup Tokopedia, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son told reporters in Jakarta after his meeting with President Joko Widodo on Monday.

“We will invest $2 billion through Grab,” Son told reporters. A SoftBank spokeswoman said this is an investment that’s already been made in the ride-hailing company and not a fresh capital.

“Tokopedia is also very, very important so we’ll increase our investment into Tokopedia and help it grow,” Son said.

Son is betting big that hitching rides via an app and autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation. In addition to Uber Technologies Inc., SoftBank has poured about $3 billion into Grab, including $1.46 billion just a few months ago.

The serial investor may pump in $3 billion into Indonesian companies over the next three years, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said Monday.

Separately, Singapore-based Grab said in a statement it will deploy the money from SoftBank in Indonesia over the next five years to set up a second headquarters in the country and to create a next-generation transportation network based on electric vehicles. Grab has already invested more than $1 billion in Indonesia.

“We are definitely interested in electric vehicles, the batteries and the charging system,” Son said. “We will invest in the ecosystem — We would like to get the blue sky back to Jakarta.”

Son said his strategy is to help create more Indonesian unicorns, or private companies with $1 billion valuation or more.

One of the areas Grab is targeting is health-care. Grab plans to launch online health-care service in Indonesia in the next three months, aiming to increase access to doctors and medical services for all Indonesians, the company said in the statement.

Original post by Viriya Singgih and Yoolim Lee on Bloomberg

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