Masayoshi Son is a Japanese entrepreneur who founded Softbank. He is the chief executive officer of Softbank and Softbank Mobile and the chairman of Sprint Corporation. He had an estimated net worth of 8.1 billion dollars in 2011 and is the second wealthiest man in Japan.
Son was born on 11th August 1957 in Tosu, Japan. When he was a teenager he met the founder of McDonald, Japan who advised him to learn English and pursue a career in the informatics industry. Son took his guidance seriously and moved to California, United States where he attended University of California in Berkeley and L.A. His major was economics and computer science. Son graduated in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He wanted to become part of the commercial revolution which he thought would be brought about by computer technology. He was sure that it was computer chips that would make him rich. He decided to come up with one idea each day and soon designed and patented a translating device which was purchased by Sharp Electronics for one million dollars. Masayoshi Son later founded Softbank Corporation which became the biggest software and systems hardware distributor and largest computer magazines and books publisher in Japan.
Some of Son’s other ventures include establishing Yahoo! Broadband in 2001 in collaboration with Yahoo! Japan in which he has a controlling interest. After the depreciation of Softbank equity he focused his attention and time on Yahoo! Broadband and BB Phone. Presently Yahoo! BB has almost 4.3 million subscribers who pay up to 20 to 30 dollars per month. Despite that the company loses 100 million every month and is in a debt of 1.3 billion dollars. In a strange move Yahoo! BB acquired Japan Telecom and became Japan’s topmost provider of broadband. Son has a 31% stake in Yahoo! Inc and has invested in other internet companies as well.
Many compare Son to the likes of Akio Morita (head of Sony), Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) and Soichiro Honda (founder of Honda). He is however different in his entrepreneurial style which is his forceful merger and acquisition strategies. His diversification policies have made Softbank a leader of hardware manufacturing, software development and the foremost service providers in the country. The corporation is continually expanding in new fields. They started multinational operations by creating Softbank America. In 1990 he began a joint venture named Novell Japan with Novell Inc. including companies such as Fujitsu, Canon, Sony, Toshiba and NEC.
Masayoshi Son’s determination to stay on top got him through the 2000 dot com crash even after he lost 75 billion yen. In 2006 he acquired Vodafone KK. Forbes also calls him a philanthropist; he pledged to give away 10 billion yen and his remaining salary till he retired to the victims of the earthquake disaster in Japan. According to Forbes Son is ‘Japan’s Hottest Entrepreneur’. He has been in the leading ten of the Global Power Elite. The U.S News & World Report titled him as ‘Japan’s most renowned digital-age entrepreneur’.