India’s Modi, Softbank’s Son discuss more investments after big tech bets


NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and SoftBank Group (9984.T) founder Masayoshi Son met on Monday to discuss more investments by the country’s biggest tech backer, as a startup boom appears to cool in India amid worries about the global economy.

The Japanese firm has injected more than $14 billion into India’s tech industry, including in payments app Paytm whose market value has sunk since listing in Mumbai in November.

Fund raising has become much more difficult this year for Indian startups after attracting a record $35 billion in 2021, while Softbank this month posted a record $26.2 billion loss at its Vision Fund investment arm.

“Further propelling Japanese investments in India,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, said on Twitter posting pictures of Modi and Son in a meeting in Tokyo.

Bagchi said talks focused on “Softbank’s future participation in India in technology, energy, finance, R&D, etc” without giving details.

In a video statement shared by New Delhi after the meeting, Son said India was growing “very quickly” and had become the third-biggest generator of startups in the world.

“India’s future is bright,” he said, adding Modi was keen to keep supporting the startup sector.

Modi also met officials from Suzuki Motor Corp (7269.T), the majority owner of India’s biggest automaker, Maruti Suzuki, and discussed investment in electric vehicles and batteries.

In a separate meeting with the chief of Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing Co Ltd (9983.T), Modi urged the retailer to invest in India’s upcoming all-in-one mega textile parks.

The prime minister is in Tokyo for a summit of the leaders of the Quad group of countries – India, the United States, Japan and Australia – and the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity. (Source: Reuters)