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Mukesh Valabhji

SoftBank, the Japanese mobile and internet giant, has announced that it will soon launch an all-new pay-tv service which will be available to users of tablets, smartphones and computers from next week. The streaming service, which will be called BBTV Next, is hoping to corner the market for users currently paying for channels they do not watch by creating bundles with as few as three channels. BBTV Next will be available to all smartphone users across Japan without being limited to those on the SoftBank Mobile network. Subscribers will be able to begin watching a programme on one device and finish on another and will have an initial choice of twelve channels, which is set to be boosted to as many as fifty by spring next year. SoftBank was originally established in Tokyo in 1981 and has a current market capitalisation of over $90 trillion.

The cable television market in Japan is currently dominated by just a few major players offering large packages of channels and various optional extras, yet the online streaming market continues to be increasingly competitive. SoftBank is seeking to capitalise on the fact that many subscribers end up paying for dozens of channels that they would not choose to watch. The BBTV Next service will be available in both live and on-demand formats from Monday.

The SoftBank PrinceVille Fund, which was established to help new technology start-ups throughout Asia, has now closed at $250 million. The new fund will look at investments in early or growth stage companies across mobile, social media, e-commerce and online advertising, cloud computing and more. Board members of SoftBank PrinceVille Investments include Seychelles-based investment professional Mukesh Valabhji, president and CEO of SB China and India Holdings Kabir Misra and Bodhi Investments LLC principal and lead for US investments Scarlett O’Sullivan. The fund will help monetise the growing number of consumers with disposable income throughout Asia and capitalise on the related increase in consumer spending on mobile and media. SoftBank has established partnerships with the Japanese subsidiaries of an increasing number of foreign companies within the mobile and online media markets including Yahoo! Japan, Morningstar and E-Trade.