The Strategist

Softbank to cut investments in China due to government pressure on IT companies

08/11/2021 - 07:39

Head of Japanese telecommunications company Softbank, which is one of the world's largest investors in technology startups, said that the company will slow down with new investments in China amid difficult relations between local regulators and high-tech companies.

jpellgen (@1179_jp)
jpellgen (@1179_jp)
Speaking at Softbank's quarterly earnings presentation, Masayoshi Son said he would take a "wait-and-see attitude" until the situation with Chinese regulatory pressure on local technology businesses becomes clearer. The Japanese top executive hopes it won't take more than a year or two.

"We still have high hopes (for the Chinese tech market), but we prefer to be cautious until we can draw accurate conclusions about how far the new regulatory measures can go," the Softbank chief said. "We hope to resume our investments as soon as the situation becomes clearer." The top manager noted that Softbank has sent to China only 11% of its new investments since April.

The first wave of pressure from Chinese authorities on Chinese technology businesses is seen by many analysts as the investigation into Alibaba Internet giant Jack Ma, which began late last year. As a result of the investigation, Alibaba was fined $2.8 billion for "abuse of a dominant position. A new round of pressure on Chinese tech began in June, when the State Administration for Market Regulation launched an investigation into Didi Chuxing, the local Uber counterpart of the online cab ordering service.

The Chinese market is very important to Softbank, which owns 25% of Alibaba. Chinese startups account for approximately 23% of the assets of Softbank's venture fund, the Vision Fund.