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With Southeast Asia in sight, KDDI sets aside $2bn for investment

Philippines and Vietnam cited as potential destinations

KDDI aims to expand its telecom offerings in Southeast Asia and develop new services for Japan.

TOKYO -- Japanese telecom carrier KDDI is ready to spend 200 billion yen ($1.82 billion) on investments including overseas operations and acquisitions during the current fiscal year, viewing Southeast Asia as an especially promising market.

"It would be good if we can find a company [to partner with] in such places as the Philippines or Vietnam or elsewhere in Southeast Asia," President Makoto Takahashi said. The amount would be a more than 30% increase from the average of the previous two years.

Although Takahashi did not provide a breakdown of the spending, Southeast Asia, where the number of smartphone users is growing, appears to be a target. The Philippines has a population of over 100 million, with the average age in the early 20s, and its economy has been growing at an annual clip of nearly 7%. Vietnam's economy has also been expanding rapidly, at more than 6%.

KDDI is already developing telecom services in Mongolia and Myanmar in collaboration with Japanese trader Sumitomo and local partners.

Back in Japan, KDDI likely will invest actively in nontelecom businesses such as e-commerce, video streaming and financial services by buying into startups in those fields, among other steps.

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