Masayoshi Son, CEO of Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank, claimed that the company’s two largest investments in India — Flipkart and Paytm — have a growing customer base and majority market share as against their rivals in their respective spaces.
Son was speaking at an announcement on an earnings call on Monday for the company’s most recent quarterly financial report and highlighted that SoftBank investments are growing in selection and market share. Out of SoftBank’s $100-billion Vision Fund, the two Indian firms received a combined $3.9 billion this year.
“Flipkart, India’s number one e-tailer has 60 percent share in the domestic e-commerce market and is bigger than Amazon India. It is very difficult to see someone who is bigger than Amazon,” Son said.
“I believe after China, in terms of size, India should be next, and in a market with such huge potential, Flipkart has 60 percent market share which is a good start.”
Globally in the e-commerce space, SoftBank has invested in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Yahoo! Japan Shopping, sports e-commerce company Fanatics, besides India-based Flipkart.
Flipkart raised around $4 billion in funding this year from Tencent, eBay and Microsoft apart from SoftBank. The company was valued at over $11 billion during the fund raise, with 1 lakh sellers and a registered user base of around 100 million people. It boasts a catalogue of around 80 million products, accounts for over half of India’s online smartphone sales, claims to have captured three-fourths of the online fashion market, and is locked in a fight-to-the-finish with global behemoth, Amazon.
Son said the Vision Fund’s other big investment in India, Paytm, controls 58 percent of the digital payments market, and that the company had grown by 230 percent year-on-year in the 12 months to March 2017.
“In China, Alipay has been successful as a business model, and Alipay and SoftBank support Paytm. Again, thanks to the Alibaba Group, we are the second-largest shareholder in Paytm,” Son added.
Among SoftBank’s major bets in India are Ola and OYO Rooms. Snapdeal, which was among their initial bets in India, has decided to scale down to Snapdeal 2.0 after its talks for acquisition by Flipkart hit a wall after almost six months of negotiations. Housing and InMobi are its other investments in India and both have faced their own set of challenges.
The Vision Fund enables long-term, large-scale investments to fund growth in the technology sector, investing up to $100 billion over the next five years. The fund will invest through minority stake, majority stake and public equity investments of $100 million or more in the next 10 years.