||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia. (July 2013)|
Masayoshi Son Softbank Mobile Summit 2008
August 11, 1957 |
Tosu, Saga Prefecture, Japan
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley|
|Occupation||Founder and CEO of SoftBank|
|Net worth||US$ 18.4 billion|
Masayoshi Son (Japanese: 孫 正義 Hepburn: Son Masayoshi?, Korean: 손정의 Son Jeong-ui; born August 11, 1957) is a Japanese businessman and the founder and current chief executive officer of SoftBank, the chief executive officer of SoftBank Mobile, and current chairman of Sprint Corporation. According to Forbes magazine, his net worth is $9.1 billion as of 2013 and he is the second richest man in Japan, despite having the distinction of losing the most money in history (approximately $70 billion during the dot com crash of 2000). Forbes also describes him as a philanthropist.
Of Korean ethnicity, Son's family adopted the Japanese surname Yasumoto (安本?) in daily life to avoid discrimination by having a Korean surname, and Son used this surname when he was a child. Son pursued his interests in business by securing a meeting with Japan McDonald's president Den Fujita. Taking his advice, Son began studying English and computer science.
At age 16, Son moved to California and finished high school while staying with friends and family in South San Francisco. He attended the University of California, Berkeley and Los Angeles in which he majored in economics and studied computer science. Enamored by a microchip featured in a magazine, Son at age 19 became confident that computer technology would ignite the next commercial revolution.
Convinced that anything related to microchips could yield a fortune, Son decided to produce at least one entrepreneurial idea a day. He patented a translating device that he eventually sold to Sharp Electronics for $1 million. Applications of the patent include the Wizard series of Sharp PDAs.
Although SoftBank's stake in Yahoo! had dwindled to 7%, Son established Yahoo! BroadBand in September 2001 with Yahoo! Japan in which he still owned a controlling interest. After a severe devaluation of SoftBank's equity, Son was forced to focus his attention on Yahoo! BB and BB Phone. So far, SoftBank has accumulated about $1.3 billion in debt. Yet, Yahoo! BB acquired Japan Telecom, the then third largest broadband and landline provider with 600,000 residential and 170,000 commercial subscribers. Yahoo! BB is now Japan's leading broadband provider.
Vodafone K. K.
On March 17, 2006 Vodafone Group announced it had agreed to sell Vodafone K.K. to SoftBank for approximately 1.75 trillion Japanese yen (approximately US$ 15.1 billion). On April 14, 2006 SoftBank and Vodafone K. K. jointly announced, that the brand and company name Vodafone will be changed to a "new, easy-to-understand and familiar company name and brand". Masayoshi Son is the CEO (Representative Director) of Vodafone K. K.
Through SoftBank Masayoshi Son bought 76% in Sprint. SoftBank has further accumulated shares in Sprint (S); to about 80% ownership.
Investment in Solar Power
In response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, Masayoshi Son criticized the nuclear industry for creating “the problem that worries Japanese the most today”, and engaged in investing in a nation-wide solar power network for Japan.
- "Masayoshi Son", Forbes (profile), retrieved April 27, 2011.
- Sorkin, Andrew Ross (2010-12-13). "A Key Figure in the Future of Yahoo". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
- "Masayoshi Son". Business week. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Penn, Michael (2011-04-23). "Masayoshi Son Castigates the Nuclear Industry". Shingetsu Blog. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- Yasu, Mariko (2011-06-23). "Softbank's CEO Wants a Solar-Powered Japan". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- "Softbank’s Son pledges 120 milion salary for quake relief", Bloomberg, 2011-04-04.
- 孫正義 (masason) on Twitter
- 孫正義 (masayosison) on Facebook
- Masayoshi Son, AXA Talents, August 1, 2006.
- "Bio and Photo", Time (magazine)
- "Son prefers small shares of companies to huge shares", Business Week, 2000