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KKR has invested in tech companies including China's ByteDance, owner of TikTok, and India's Jio Platforms. "The big tech investing opportunity is really domestic focused companies," the private equity group says. (Nikkei montage/Reuters)
Business Spotlight

From Jio to ByteDance, KKR bets on Asia's 'local' tech champions

Pandemic fuels US investor's deal making but political tension raises risks

WATARU SUZUKI, Nikkei staff writer | India

TOKYO -- While investors and executives in Asia were still scrambling to deal with the new coronavirus outbreak in May, U.S. investment company KKR struck its biggest deal in Asia: a $1.5 billion investment in Jio Platforms, a newly established digital services arm of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries.

The deal, negotiated over Zoom calls, came in the midst of India's nationwide lockdown. The number of infections was surging, and the economy was plunging. The reality may have spooked most investors, but KKR saw a trend that convinced it to invest in Jio at a valuation of about $70 billion.

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