RealTime IT News

Softbank To Sink $400 Million in Korean Net Firms

Softbank is planning to invest a total of about US$400 million in Korean Internet-based companies, with funding for US$100 million starting this month.

The Japanese software giant, which is run by a Korean-Japanese businessman, initially planned to invest US$100 million, but has decided to add US$300 million in additional investment. It intends to raise the fund during the second half of the year.

Last December, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son promised in Seoul to invest $100 million in the nation through Softbank Softbank Korea over the next three years.

"The amount is inadequate considering to the nation's fast-growing Internet industry. Thus we will raise an additional $300 million during the latter half of this year," said Sunny Lee, president of Softbank Korea.

For the funding, Softbank will raise 80 percent of the target amount though its own financial resources and the rest through IPOs, according to Lee.

The company is aiming at local Internet firms that are engaged in financial services, brokerage service, trading and insurance as well as wireless ISPs.

"There are 250 Internet-related firms waiting to get listed on the KOSDAQ market and we've decided to expand the investment to acquire a leading edge, which is essential in the Internet business," Lee said.

Softbank estimates that the number of Internet users in Korea is around 13 million, or nearly 30 percent of the nation's total population. Currently, the market capitalization of Internet companies in the Kosdaq, the over-the-counter stock market, is about 90 trillion won (about US$75 billion).