Japanese telecom and media group SoftBank will “seriously” accelerate its investments in India, Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said at the start-up conference in New Delhi on Saturday.
Softbank had previously said it would invest $10 billion in India over 10 years.
“The time has come that the Indian economy will be big enough going forward. Mobile internet will make the domestic internet market big enough,” Son said.
“I think we would seriously accelerate our investments in India going forward.”
When asked about what he sees when funding any start-up he said he looks at the leadership and the commitment and determination to the company.
“I look at the eyes and ideas of an entrepreneur-which field and passion, before investing,” he said.
He further added that India can be bigger in momentum than China in the next 10 years.
“This is the beginning of big bang start up boom in India,” Son said, adding that passion more important than making money.
Son also believes that the 21st century belongs to India because Indian people are smart, they speak English and because India has a large percentage of young population.
SoftBank, whose $2 billion investments in Indian start-ups so far have targeted companies like SnapDeal, Housing.Com and Oyo Rooms, had also announced plans for investing $20 billion in the country’s solar space, as per information provided by the commerce and industry ministry.
Son said the time had come for the “Big Bang of innovation” in India and that each time he visits this country, the more convinced he becomes that it is in India where he would like to pump in the company’s money.
Yet, he said, there was no question either of mindless investments, adding start-ups must focus on customer satisfaction 5-10 years down the line and that must be their prime driver.
“We are very happy with the portfolio we have. We will continue to look for new opportunities. Internet and solar are the sectors that excite me,” he said.
Son, Japan’s second-richest person with a net worth of $14.1 billion said infrastructure was important and mobile broadband infrastructure was lacking in India.