Masayoshi Son is a Japanese entrepreneur and investor who is best known for founding and leading the SoftBank Group Corporation, a multinational conglomerate that has investments in technology, telecommunications, finance, and more. Son is widely regarded as one of the most successful and influential business figures in Japan, and his personal wealth is estimated to be around $25 billion as of 2021.
Son was born in Tosu, Japan, in 1957. His family was of Korean descent and had been living in Japan for several generations. Son was a bright and ambitious student who showed an early interest in business and entrepreneurship. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a degree in economics in 1980.
After graduation, Son returned to Japan and founded his first business, a software distribution company called SoftBank. The company quickly grew and expanded into other areas, such as computer hardware and publishing. In the 1990s, SoftBank became a major player in the Japanese telecommunications industry and helped to introduce the internet to Japanese consumers.
Son’s most famous investment, however, came in 1999 when he invested $20 million in a fledgling internet company called Alibaba. The investment proved to be a huge success, as Alibaba grew into one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. SoftBank’s stake in Alibaba is now worth billions of dollars.
Under Son’s leadership, SoftBank has continued to invest in a wide range of technology and telecommunications companies, including Sprint and ARM Holdings. In recent years, SoftBank has also been involved in several high-profile investment funds, including the Vision Fund, which has invested billions of dollars in companies such as Uber and WeWork.
Son’s personal wealth has fluctuated over the years, but he remains one of the wealthiest people in Japan and the world. In addition to his business success, Son is also known for his philanthropy and has donated billions of dollars to various causes, including disaster relief efforts in Japan and education initiatives in developing countries.
Despite his enormous wealth and success, Son has faced some setbacks and controversies over the years. SoftBank’s investment in WeWork, for example, was widely criticized after the company’s valuation plummeted, and Son has also faced criticism for his close ties to Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Overall, Masayoshi Son’s career has been marked by bold investments, ambitious goals, and a willingness to take risks in pursuit of success. His impact on the Japanese and global business world is undeniable, and he remains a key figure in the tech industry and beyond.
1957: Masayoshi Son is born in Tosu, Japan.
1980: Son graduates from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in economics.
1981: Son founds his first company, SoftBank, a software distribution business.
1990s: SoftBank expands into the Japanese telecommunications industry and helps to introduce the internet to Japanese consumers.
1999: SoftBank invests $20 million in Alibaba, a then-fledgling e-commerce company.
2006: SoftBank acquires Vodafone Japan, becoming the third-largest mobile phone operator in Japan.
2013: SoftBank acquires a majority stake in Sprint, a major US telecommunications company.
2016: SoftBank establishes the Vision Fund, a $100 billion investment fund focused on technology startups.
2018: SoftBank invests in WeWork, a shared workspace provider, but the investment is later criticized after the company’s valuation plummets.
2021: Son’s personal wealth is estimated to be around $25 billion, and SoftBank remains a major player in the global technology and telecommunications industries.
5 Interesting Facts about Masayoshi Son:
- Son was one of the first Japanese entrepreneurs to recognize the potential of the internet, and he helped to introduce it to Japan through SoftBank’s investments and acquisitions.
- Despite his enormous wealth and success, Son is known for his frugal lifestyle and has been seen shopping for clothes at discount stores.
- Son is a proponent of artificial intelligence and believes that it will transform the global economy in the coming decades.
- In addition to his business interests, Son is also a philanthropist and has donated billions of dollars to various causes.
- Son is known for his unique management style, which emphasizes risk-taking and unconventional thinking.
5 Quotes from Masayoshi Son:
- “When you’re a risk-taker, you have to be prepared to lose. If you’re not prepared to lose, you shouldn’t be doing it.”
- “I always believe in the human being, and that human being has unlimited potential.”
- “If you’re going to do something, do it. If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.”
- “I believe that the next 30 years will be the age of the smart robot.”
- “I don’t want to make money by just investing in something. I want to make money by changing the world.”