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Reckoning with Xi’s new Great Wall of China

TOKYO – SoftBank billionaire Masayoshi Son is as confused as anyone about what’s going on in Xi Jinping’s China.

In recent years, Son’s US$100 billion Vision Fund has gone big on Asia’s biggest economy. As of the end of July, 23% of that war chest was invested in Chinese companies.

But Son has been skittish about President Xi’s intensifying crackdown on mainland tech giants, from Ant Group to Didi Global to Tencent Holdings. He has now pivoted to a defensive posture on China. “It’s because we would like to wait and see a while,” he says.

SoftBank, he admits, is “facing tough challenges when it comes to investments in China.” He adds: “That’s something we’d like to be careful about, and be cautious.”

Son is not alone.