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SoftBank has $50bn to invest -- now it needs targets

Japanese tech group is under pressure to find its next Alibaba to back

Masayoshi Son is hoping to ease SoftBank's heavy reliance on its Alibaba stake. (Photo by Shihoko Nakaoka)

TOKYO -- Masayoshi Son has always liked to think he can "feel" when he is talking to a promising entrepreneur. For the Japanese technology investor, even a brief face-to-face encounter can be enough to convince him to invest billions in a startup.

Capturing that same magic over a video conference call is not so easy. But that is what Son is under pressure to do now that a series of asset sales has left SoftBank Group with only one dominant asset: Alibaba.

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