Plans by Softbank Investment International (Strategic) to raise up to US$300 million for its Greater China Internet fund have been set back by external market conditions. Softbank Investment president Junichi Goto said 'outside circumstances', such as a sharp fall in stock prices, had dealt a blow to Softbank's ability to raise funds. 'There is no more easy money,' Mr Goto said. 'We have to explain more about the details of our investment strategy, what kind of companies we are investing in and so on, and we have to show investors that these investments are still viable. 'Nowadays, investors think clearly before they invest.' SAR-listed Softbank Investment - formerly known as household fabrics and garment manufacturer Cheung Wah Development - had planned to raise US$200 million to US$300 million for its venture-capital fund, which had a mandate to invest in traditional off-line businesses in the mainland with a view to transforming them into online entities. However, the fund - known as Asia Net-trans Fund - was worth only US$36 million when it launched in June, of which US$6 million had been contributed by Softbank International. About half of the fund has been invested in six or seven projects in Asia, including technology investment bank e2Capital and consumer-oriented financial Web sites operator Morningstar Asia. Mr Goto expected the fund to be fully invested next month. Although external conditions affected the company's ability to raise venture capital, present conditions made it easier to find cheaper investments. Mr Goto said many investors welcomed the concept of changing off-line businesses into online operations. Pure Internet companies were no longer welcomed by investors, he said. Mr Goto said the company was considering setting up another venture fund but refused to reveal details. Softbank Asia Net-trans Fund was managed under Softbank China Venture Investment - the Asian venture fund management unit of Japan's largest Internet company Softbank Group, a sister company of Softbank International. Softbank China Venture also manages the US$50 million China Enterprises Fund, which invests in mainland Internet businesses. Its key holdings include Nasdaq-listed Chinese portal Netease.com. Mr Goto said the Japan-based parent's interest in Softbank Investment had been reduced to about 55 per cent from an initial 61.1 per cent. Meanwhile, shareholders of Softbank Investment yesterday approved the US$2.4 million acquisition of a 10 per cent stake in fund management ratings firm Morningstar Asia from Advanced Internet Visions - a 70 per cent-owned subsidiary of Pacific Century CyberWorks.