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SoftBank venture arm to launch new US$500M early-stage investment fund

SoftBank Group Corp.'s venture capital arm SoftBank Ventures Asia is looking to unveil a new fund in April, worth as much as US$500 million, for early-stage investments, Reuters reported.

National Pension Service of South Korea, SoftBank and other companies and asset management firms will reportedly contribute to the planned fund, SoftBank Ventures Asia CEO J.P. Lee said.

The move comes at a time SoftBank Ventures Asia is opening new offices in Asia, while Japan's SoftBank Group is aiming to go beyond its mainstay telecom business and emerge as a strong tech investor.

"It's an important signal within the SoftBank Group that SoftBank thinks early-stage investments are important and will make continued efforts on them," Lee told Reuters.

SoftBank Ventures Korea was relaunched as SoftBank Ventures Asia in January, and named Seung Lee CFO.

SoftBank Group also launched a US$5 billion fund on March 7 to support the growth of technology startups in Latin America.