May 22, 2019 / 12:40 AM / 6 months ago

SoftBank executive sees major Mexican consumer firms as potential partners

FILE PHOTO: A man talks on the phone as he stand in front of an advertising poster of the SoftBank telecommunications company in Tokyo October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - An executive in Japan’s SoftBank Group said on Tuesday that the technology conglomerate is open to partnering with major Mexican consumer companies, such as retailer Femsa and bread-maker Bimbo, along with startups in the country.

SoftBank announced in March that it would launch the $5 billion Innovation Fund dedicated to Latin America, focusing on financial technology, e-commerce, healthcare and mobility.

Shu Nyatta, a fund partner who is based in Silicon Valley and Miami, said at a conference in Mexico City that SoftBank wants to support companies that provide better access to consumers for a variety of services. Entrenched players have something to bring to the table as well, he said.

“The Bimbos and Femsas of the world all have this opportunity, to take their distribution, relationships, advantages, add some technology through partnerships or in-house, and transform their businesses,” he said.

“We’re not biased against these incumbents with advantages. We’re happy to partner where it makes sense. But has to be the right progressive thinking, the right technology,” he said.

Nyatta pointed to Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza as an example of a long-established consumer company that used technology to reinvent itself.

Bimbo, one of the world’s largest bread producers, has a vast distribution network in Mexico that covers markets and corner stores even in remote corners of the country.

Femsa’s footprint in Mexico spans nearly 18,000 Oxxo convenience stores. Shoppers can pay in cash for a variety of online merchants and financial services. The retailer has also partnered with Amazon.com Inc to let shoppers pay for purchases in cash and pick up packages in its stores.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; editing by Julia Love and Leslie Adler

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