Japan's SoftBank has recently announced a US$200 million investment in InMobi, an independent mobile ad network, in a strategy to be a top Internet player in the region.
The Japanese Internet company said it is making the investments in two tranches -- the first US$100 million in September and the next in April 2012.
InMobi said the investment is one of the largest made in the mobile Internet space and will create value to their mobile advertising business, including mobile payments.
"We believe this partnership will help Softbank become the No. 1 Internet company in Asia and I look forward to working with the InMobi team," said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO, Softbank, while expressing confidence that the partnership will "further accelerate the pace of development in the mobile Internet space globally."
InMobi is an independent mobile advertising network present across four continents, reaching out to 340 million consumers. It provides solutions to advertisers, publishers and developers to support their advertising campaigns through mobile devices.
With the partnership, the two companies are expected to further explore opportunities in mobile advertising, especially given the significant number of prominent Asian Internet companies in SoftBank's investment portfolio.
"The size of the investment and quality of investor validate the enormous potential in mobile today and strengthen our role in helping the industry evolve," said Naveen Tewari, founder & CEO, InMobi. "We have already established ourselves as a leader in mobile advertising on every continent. This is just the beginning. With a global leader like SoftBank behind us, we are now well-positioned to fully capitalise on the opportunity before us through substantially increased product innovation, deeper market penetration, and acquisitions across the mobile ad value chain."
The SoftBank investment will add to the US$8 million round of funds from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Sherpalo Ventures which InMobi obtained last year. This round of investments allowed InMobi to focus on its recent US expansion, launch in Japan and continue to grow existing operations in Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa.
Just last August, InMobi acquired Sprout Inc., a provider of HTML5 rich media creative platform for agencies and brands. InMobi said its global network can combine with Sprout's rich media capabilities to reach out to more consumers worldwide.
In the Asia Pacific region, where InMobi started out in 2007, it has offices in Bangalore, Tokyo, Seoul, and Singapore.
SoftBank, on the other hand, offers a range of telecommunications and Internet services, including mobile communications, broadband infrastructure, fixed-line telecommunications, Internet culture, and more.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.