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$ 8.1 billion|
Masayoshi Son (Japanese: 孫正義, Chinese: 孫正義, Korean: 손정의 Son Jeong-ui; born August 11, 1957) is a Japanese businessman and the founder and current chief executive officer of SoftBank, and the chief executive officer of SoftBank Mobile. According to Forbes magazine, his net worth is $8.1 billion as of 2011 and he is the second richest man in Japan, despite being the person who has lost the most money in history (approximately $70 billion in the dot com crash of 2000).  Forbes also describes him as a philanthropist.
Of Korean descent, 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. Using ADSL technology that could reach speeds upwards of 10 Mbit/s (new service can reach about 100 Mbit/s), Yahoo! BB currently reaches 4.3 million subscribers each paying about $20–$30 a month, but continues to lose about $100 million a month. 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.
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, Forbes, retrieved April 27, 2011.
- Andrew Ross Sorkin (2010-12-13). "A Key Figure in the Future of Yahoo". New York Times. Retrieved 07 April 2012.
- "Masayoshi Son". Businessweek. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Michael Penn (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.
- 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