Saudi Arabia-backed fund helps push SoftBank profit higher

Under tycoon CEO Masayoshi Son, SoftBank, which started as a software firm, has increasingly been seen as an investment firm, plowing funds into a broad range of companies and projects. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2019
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Saudi Arabia-backed fund helps push SoftBank profit higher

  • Investment vehicles led by KSA-partnered Vision Fund see gains of more than $7.3bn
  • SoftBank has completed deals with the likes of French robotics firm Aldebaran and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba

TOKYO: Japan’s SoftBank Group said on Wednesday its net profit jumped more than 50 percent for the nine months to December thanks to strong returns from its high-tech investment fund.
Net profit rose 51.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.5 trillion yen ($13.7 billion), the mobile giant and IT investor said.
The rise was largely driven by gains of more than 800 billion yen from its investment funds, led by SoftBank Vision Fund whose partners include Saudi Arabia.
SoftBank Corp, the mobile carrier arm of the technology conglomerate, said Tuesday its net profit jumped nearly 19 percent for the nine months to December, buoyed by a gain in subscribers.
It was the first earnings announcement since its disappointing stock market debut in December.
Under tycoon CEO Masayoshi Son, SoftBank, which started as a software firm, has increasingly been seen as an investment firm, plowing funds into a broad range of companies and projects outside its core business.
In recent years, it has completed deals with the likes of French robotics firm Aldebaran and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
It has also made high-profile investments in the autonomous vehicles sector, announcing a tie-up with car giant Toyota for “new mobility services” such as meal deliveries.


Alibaba head’s remarks spark debate over China working hours

Updated 2 min 54 sec ago
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Alibaba head’s remarks spark debate over China working hours

  • Jack Ma is one of China's richest men and his comments last week brought both condemnation and support as China's more mature economy enters a period of slower growth

BEIJING: Remarks by the head of Chinese online business giant Alibaba that young people should work 12-hour days, six days a week if they want financial success have prompted a public debate over work-life balance in the country.
Jack Ma is one of China’s richest men and his comments last week brought both condemnation and support as China’s more mature economy enters a period of slower growth.
Newspaper People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, issued an editorial, saying mandatory overtime reflects managerial arrogance and was also impractical and unfair to workers. Online complaints included blaming long work hours for a lower birth rate in the country.
Ma has responded to the criticism by saying work should be a joy and also include time for study, reflection and self-improvement.