Here is the paragraph in which "for him to affect the race" occurs:

But even if the fund ends up flopping, it will have several lasting effects on technology investing. The first is that the deployment of so much cash now will help shape the industries of the future. Mr Son is pumping money into “frontier technologies” from robotics to the internet of things. He already owns stakes in ride-hailing firms such as Uber; in WeWork, a co-working company; and in Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce firm that was this week sold to Walmart (see article). In five years’ time the fund plans to have invested in 70-100 technology unicorns, privately held startups valued at $1bn or more. Its money, often handed to entrepreneurs in multiples of the amounts they initially demand and accompanied by the threat that the cash will go to the competition if they balk, gives startups the wherewithal to outgun worse-funded rivals. Mr Son’s bets do not have to pay off for him to affect the race.

Could someone explain why Mr. Son's investment does not have to pay off for him to affect the race?

Source: The Economist: 12 May 2018 issue, The meaning of the Vision Fund

  • 1
    It’s explained in the first sentences quoted. – Jim May 12 '18 at 4:06

As Jim said in the comments, it’s repetition and reiteration of the first sentence in the paragraph. Simply by funding one company, other non-funded companies close (because of the competition). The funded company doesn’t have to return a profit, they might go bust, too, but the non-funded competition will go out of business faster. So Mr Son doesn’t have to see a return on his investment (win his bet) to indirectly put unfunded companies out of business (affect the race).

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