Replicating Tencent blockbuster? Naspers earmarks $1bn for India fintech drive

By Loni Prinsloo

(Bloomberg) – Naspers Ltd. wants to spend about $1bn in India this year as it scours the globe for investments that can replicate its blockbuster bet on China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., a person familiar with the matter said.

Africa’s largest company by market value is in talks to inject around $200m into business loan provider Capital Float and payments security firm Wimbo as a first step, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.

A Naspers representative declined to comment.

Cape Town-based investment group Naspers is the largest shareholder in gaming and social media giant Tencent and has around $9bn in cash after trimming its stake last year and selling Indian e-commerce startup Flipkart to Walmart Inc.

Surging smartphone adoption has led to explosive growth in fintech and e-commerce in India and a host of local startups are vying with US giants Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. for a slice of the action.

Some of Naspers’ biggest Indian investments have focused on food delivery. It took some of the proceeds from selling down its Tencent holding to lead a $1bn funding round for Bangalore-based online food company Swiggy in December.

Part of this year’s $1bn Indian investment drive could see Naspers increase its presence in food delivery, one of the people said.