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SoftBank's Vision Fund to hire China team, open its first mainland office

The Vision Fund plans to open its first China office in Shanghai next year, followed by Beijing and Hong Kong



The SoftBank-led is hiring an investment team to be based in China as the $100 billion investment giant expands in one of the world's most vibrant tech markets, two people with direct knowledge of the move told Reuters.

The plans to open its first China office in next year, followed by and Hong Kong.

Altogether it hopes to hire about 20 people, said the people, who declined to be named as the information was confidential.

The raised more than $93 billion at its first close last May with investors including the sovereign wealth funds of and Abu Dhabi, and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn).

In a statement at the time, said the fund was targeting a total of $100 billion within six months.

Earlier this year, the fund hired Eric Chen, who last worked as a Hong Kong-based managing director at private equity firm Silver Lake before setting up his own venture, to head its upcoming China team, the people added.

Chen joined Investment Advisers, which oversees Vision Fund, as a partner in March and is based in San Francisco, according to his LinkedIn profile and confirmation from the people. He could not be reached for comment.

A spokesman declined to comment.

Already this year the Vision Fund has moved to open offices in India, where it has spent $5 billion betting on the future of technology, and Saudi Arabia, home to its biggest backer - sovereign wealth fund PIF.

The openings come as the fund must manage its sprawling web of portfolio covering everything from shared working space to insurance and healthcare.

SoftBank is no stranger in China. Founder was an early backer of in 2000. Since 2013, SoftBank has invested over $13 billion in Chinese such as ride-hailing champion Didi Chuxing.

The Vision Fund has made five investments in China, according to Refinitiv data.

Since its first close on May 17 last year, the Vision Fund has invested in truck-hailing company Man Bang Group, Ping An Healthcare and Technology Co, a one-stop healthcare platform backed by Ping An Insurance Group, and most recently Bytedance Technology Co, China's largest media start-up managing aggregator Toutiao and online short-video streaming app TikTok, the data showed.

Bytedance is valued at $75 billion in its latest fundraising, Reuters has reported.

The fund has also invested $500 million in the Chinese unit of U.S.-based shared working space provider WeWork Cos in July, as part of its support for WeWork's global push.

First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 14:15 IST