SoftBank targets India's renewable energy market with Foxconn and Bharti

SoftBank, Foxconn, and Bharti have formed a joint venture to invest in renewable energy plants across India to help the Indian government achieve its 2020 solar energy targets.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Japanese telco giant SoftBank, together with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group and Indian business conglomerate Bharti Enterprises, have announced they will be investing in renewable energy plants across India as part of a new joint venture.

The joint venture SBG Cleantech said it intends to contribute to the Indian government's target to achieve a capacity of 10 gigawatts (GW) of solar and 60 GW of wind by 2022. It plans to participate in the 2015-16 rounds of solar power plant tenders ‎under India's national solar mission program and state-specific solar programs.

To be headquartered in Delhi, SBG Cleantech will be led by Bharti veteran Manoj Kohli as executive chairman, and Raman Nanda as CEO.

SoftBank CEO and chairman Masayoshi Son said the company is interested in the potential India has to offer.

"We have already made considerable investments in the technology sector here. With this partnership, our goal is to create a market-leading ‎clean energy company, to fuel India's growth with clean and renewable sources of energy," he said.

Late last year, SoftBank forked out more than US$800 million for two Indian e-commerce companies, Snapdeal and ANI Technologies, as part of its 10-year investment plan for India.

The telecom giant agreed to pay US$627 million for a stake in Snapdeal to become the biggest investor in the Indian online shopping website.

Meanwhile, SoftBank said it would lead a US$210 million investment round for ANI Technologies, an Indian website offering cabs and car rental services, as well as a mobile app for taxi bookings.

Just last week, SoftBank's robotic business received a leg up from Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group and Foxconn.

Under the agreement, Alibaba and Foxconn invested 14.5 billion yen into SoftBank Robotic Holding, giving each company a 20 percent stake in the company, while SoftBank continues to hold onto a 60 percent share.

Earlier this year, SoftBank joined forces with Foxconn to develop a humanoid robot named Pepper. Pepper was developed by SoftBank's French subsidiary Aldebaran, and built by Foxconn, while the robot smarts were supplied via IBM's Watson.

As part of the new agreement, SoftBank said the three companies will build a structure to bring Pepper and other robotics businesses to global markets.

Over the weekend, SoftBank Robotics announced that 1,000 units of Pepper sold out in one minute. Additional sales of Pepper are scheduled to be announced on SoftBank's website in July.

Further expanding into the robotics space, SoftBank was recently named as the lead investor in a $20 million Series A financing round for Californian-based Fetch Robotics, which has developed a robotics system for use in warehouse delivery and order fulfillment.

Aside from robotics and renewable energy, SoftBank is Japan's third-largest telco, and has a 70 percent stake in US telco Sprint. Other sectors SoftBank has a hand in include media and entertainment with Yahoo! Japan, and education with its Cyber University.

With its increasing size, and the addition of Google chief business officer Nikesh Arora to the team last year, there were suggestions that the Japanese company was on its way to competing with the likes of Google.

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