SoftBank-led Vision Fund hires investment team to be based in China as the 100 billion dollars investment giant expands in one of world’s most vibrant tech markets, official sources said.
The Vision Fund plans to open its first China office in Shanghai next year, followed by Beijing and Hong Kong.
Altogether it hopes to hire about 20 people, said the sources, who declined to be named as the information was confidential.
The Vision Fund raised more than 93 billion dollars at its first close last May with other investors.
These investors include the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, Apple Inc and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn).
In a statement at the time, SoftBank said the fund was targeting a total of 100 billion dollars 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,.
He is to head its upcoming China team, the sources added.
Chen joined SoftBank Investment Advisers, which oversees Vision Fund, as a partner in March.
He is based in San Francisco, according to his LinkedIn profile and confirmation from the people. He could not be reached for comment.
A SoftBank spokesman declined to comment.
Already this year the Vision Fund has moved to open offices in India.
In India, it has spent five billion dollars 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 companies covering everything from shared working space to insurance and healthcare.
SoftBank is no stranger in China.
Founder Masayoshi Son was an early backer of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group in 2000.
Since 2013, SoftBank has invested over 13 billion dollars in Chinese companies 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 .
It has also investef in Technology Co, a one-stop healthcare platform backed by Ping An Insurance Group.
Most recently, it invested in Beijing Bytedance Technology Co, China’s largest media start-up managing news aggregator Toutiao and online short-video streaming app TikTok, the data showed.
Bytedance is valued at 75 billion dollars in its latest fundraising, media has reported.
The fund has also invested 500 million dollars in Chinese unit of U.S.-based shared working space provider WeWork Cos in July, as part of its support for WeWork’s global push.