SoftBank Vision Fund Team: Hiring Begins For China Team, Sources Say

SoftBank Vision Fund
SoftBank Vision Fund has reportedly started hiring an investment team in China, people familiar with the decision revealed.
(Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Japan's SoftBank Vision fund has started hiring an investment team to be based in China, targeting at least its first 20 employees, in preparation for its expansion in the world's second-largest economy, Reuters exclusively reported.

The Vision Fund is on track to set up its office in Shanghai by 2019, two sources familiar with the decision told Reuters. After Shanghai, the Japanese multinational holding conglomerate plans to set up shop in Beijing and eventually Hong Kong, according to the sources who spoke under condition of anonymity.

The move is only necessary as the company continues to add more Chinese tech startups under in its portfolio. The Vision Fund, in fact, started moving in India to open offices in the Southeast Asian country where it already invested a total of $5 billion. It also has plans to hire and establish offices in Saudi Arabia where its largest financial support was sourced from.

SoftBank Vision Fund has been aggressively investing in Chinese companies since 2013. It has stakes in Man Bang Group, Ping An Healthcare, and Technology Co, and most recently in Bytedance Technology Co. that runs the country's biggest news aggregator site Toutiao and the popular video streaming app Tik Tok.

The global advisory firm has also invested $500 million in China's WeWork in July and has since been involved directly with bringing the company overseas.

Even its core founder Masayoshi Son was among the very first investors who bet on Alibaba Group in 2000.

As a whole, the unit was designed to make aggressive investments in the technology sector, as well as businesses and platforms that Softbank believes will advance the next age of innovation. The fund also served as a catalyst for a more rapid channel of investments, the SoftBank 2.0.

SoftBank Vision Fund is nearing its 12-figure goal of $100 billion. In May it already raised over $93 billion from sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, another retch giant Apple Inc., and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd.

Other units of the Japanese multinational holding conglomerate have also set ambitious goals. For instance, its mobile unit SoftBank Group sets a target share price of $13.31 per share as it surges toward being Japan's largest initial public offering in December.

At that target share price, Softbank Group is on track to generate $23 billion from sales of more than a third of its holding in Softbank Corp, according to Nikkei Asian Review. 

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