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Jakarta Post

Softbank invests another $2 billion in Grab, pledges more for EV projects

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, July 29, 2019   /   04:20 pm
Softbank invests another $2 billion in Grab, pledges more for EV projects A GrabBike driver smiles as he greets his customer. Sofbank announced on Monday another US$2 billion investment for the Indonesian operation of the Singapore-based ride hailing company. (Photo Courtesy of JP/ Arief Suhardiman )

Japan-based Softbank Group has pledged to invest in renewable energy and the electric vehicle ecosystem in Indonesia as well as announcing another round of investment for the Indonesian operation of the Singapore-based ride-hailing company Grab.

Softbank’s founder and CEO Masayoshi Son said on Monday the company was seeking opportunities to commit more investments in Indonesia, particularly in the electric vehicle sector as well as the country’s renewable energy sector.

“We are definitely interested in electric vehicles, the batteries and the charging system. We will invest in the ecosystem,” said Son following a meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at Merdeka Palace, Jakarta. “We would like to get the blue sky back to Jakarta.”

Jakarta’s low air quality took center stage recently as the capital’s residents filed a civil lawsuit with the Central Jakarta District Court, demanding that the central and regional governments fight air pollution in the capital city.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the government would set up a pilot project in the electric vehicle ecosystem in Jakarta and he expected the supporting infrastructure for the pilot project to be completed in the next three years.

Such a move came amid the government’s plan to issue a presidential regulation that will provide fiscal incentives to spur the development of electric vehicles in the country, as it has set a goal of exporting 200,000 electric cars by 2025, or 20 percent of the overall export target.

In addition, Son also announced that Softbank would invest US$2 billion to expand the Indonesian operation of ride-hailing firm Grab, which would include the establishment of Grab’s second headquarters in Jakarta, as well as increased investment in homegrown marketplace Tokopedia.

The latest pledge to invest in Grab was an addition to the $1.5 billion Softbank invested in the ride-hailing company in March.

Son added that Softbank would also seek to add more investments to local start-ups in a bid to create more unicorns – technology start-ups with a valuation of at least US$ 1 billion  – in Indonesia with a particular focus on artificial intelligence.

Such a focus was in line with the recent unveiling of Softbank’s $108 billion Vision Fund 2, launched with the financial backing of technology giants Apple and Microsoft, among other investors, with the aim of investing in technology firms.

In a statement, Grab said the company’s second headquarters in Indonesia would be home to its research and development center as well as its food delivery service GrabFood.

“We will expand our food [delivery] service and we also would like to develop research and development [facilities] as well as artificial intelligence in Indonesia,” said Grab Indonesia president Ridzki Kramadibrata. (hen)