SoftBank to invest USD 2 billion in Indonesia following discussions with President Widodo

Grab’s CEO, Grab Indonesia’s president, and Tokopedia’s CEO also attended the meeting

Photo courtesy by Grab Indonesia

Masayoshi Son, a Japanese business magnate and CEO of telco and investment firm SoftBank, had a meeting with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo this morning in Jakarta.

The meeting was also attended by Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs Luhut Panjaitan, Grab’s co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan, the president of Grab Indonesia Ridzki Kramadibrata, as well as the co-founder and CEO of Tokopedia William Tanuwijaya.

The much-anticipated discussion covered Indonesia’s plans to become the largest digital economy in Southeast Asia over the next few years, by focusing on investment opportunities and developing homegrown technology talent, according to an official statement issued by Grab.

As a result of the meeting, Son said that SoftBank will invest USD 2 billion in Indonesia over the next three years. This funding will be channeled through Grab.

In its official statement, Grab said that together with SoftBank, it will invest in the creation of a next-generation transport network for Indonesia based around an electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem. The two companies will also develop geo-mapping solutions in order to boost the adoption of future technologies in Indonesia. Grab will also be launching its healthtech services in Indonesia in the next several months, challenging incumbent Halodoc that is backed by Grab’s archival, Gojek.

This partnership with SoftBank will see Grab open a second headquarters in Indonesia to house Grab’s research and development (R&D) center and will also serve as headquarters for the GrabFood business.

Besides Grab, SoftBank will also channel investments through Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Tokopedia and other startups. Tokopedia’s CEO William Tanuwijaya told local media that the firm will utilize the investment to further develop and accelerate its artificial intelligence tech capabilities. The technology will be used to build “smart warehouses” across Indonesia.

With this new service, small and medium enterprises in rural areas will be able to use Tokopedia’s logistics network to grow their businesses. Tanuwijaya declined to tell media the financial details regarding SoftBank’s investment or when Tokopedia planned to launch its smart warehouse service.

SoftBank previously invested USD 2 billion in Indonesia through different digital companies, local publication Gatra reported Son saying.

With this additional investment, Softbank is committed to creating more unicorns in Indonesia in the next few years. In addition, Son hopes that this initiative will help boost the economy and create more jobs in Indonesia.

Update: Grab reached out to KrASIA to clarify that the “USD 2 billion investment” Masayoshi Son plans to bring to Indonesia “will be channeled only through Grab and will not go into Tokopedia or other companies.” The Grab spokesperson said that Son committed to investing more into startups and Tokopedia “outside of the USD 2 billion.” We have edited the fourth paragraph to reflect this change.