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Masayoshi Son is a Japanese entrepreneur and investor who is best known as the founder and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., a multinational conglomerate based in Japan. Born on August 11, 1957, in Tosu, Saga Prefecture, Japan, Son has become one of the most influential figures in the technology and investment industries.
Son founded SoftBank Corporation in 1981 as a software distribution company. Under his leadership, SoftBank transformed into a diversified conglomerate with investments in various sectors, including telecommunications, technology, finance, robotics, and more. SoftBank’s investment arm, the SoftBank Vision Fund, has made significant investments in prominent companies around the world.
Son’s investment strategy has been characterized by bold and high-profile bets on disruptive technologies and startups. One of his most notable investments was in Alibaba Group, a Chinese e-commerce giant, which has yielded substantial returns for SoftBank. Son is also recognized for his visionary thinking and long-term perspective on technology’s impact on society.
Throughout his career, Son has faced both successes and challenges. While some of his investments have been highly profitable, others, such as the investment in WeWork, have experienced setbacks. Nevertheless, Son’s contributions to the technology and investment landscape, as well as his philanthropic endeavors, have established him as a prominent figure in the business world.
|11 August, 1957
|Tosu, Saga, Japan
|5 ft 7 in
|Serramonte High School in Daly City, California
|University of California, Berkeley
|Entrepreneur, Investor, Philanthropist
|Founder & CEO, SoftBank
Masayoshi Son Early life
Masayoshi Son, a prominent Japanese entrepreneur and investor, was born on August 11, 1957, in Tosu, Saga Prefecture, Japan. He grew up in a family of Korean descent. His family was of modest means, and his father worked as a pachinko parlor operator.
Son displayed entrepreneurial tendencies from an early age. At the age of 16, he moved to California, United States, to attend high school. While in the United States, Son developed an interest in technology and entrepreneurship. He attended Serramonte High School in Daly City, California, and later transferred to the prestigious Berkeley Hills Campus of Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California.
After graduating from high school, Son enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied economics and computer science. During his time at Berkeley, he also became involved in various business ventures. In 1980, at the age of 23, Son founded a software distribution company called SoftBank Corp., which specialized in distributing packaged software.
Son’s entrepreneurial journey faced significant challenges in the early years. In 1981, his company suffered a major setback when an earthquake struck Japan, resulting in significant inventory losses. However, he persisted and rebuilt his business.
In the mid-1990s, Son made a pivotal decision that would shape his future success. He recognized the potential of the internet and shifted SoftBank’s focus to investing in internet and technology companies. This strategic shift proved to be a turning point for Son and his company.
Over the years, Masayoshi Son established himself as a visionary investor and built a reputation for making bold bets on promising startups. He played a crucial role in the early success of companies like Alibaba, Yahoo Japan, and Vodafone Japan, among others.
Masayoshi Son’s educational background is as follows:
High School: After completing his early education in Japan, Son moved to the United States to attend high school. He enrolled at Serramonte High School in Daly City, California. Later, he transferred to the Berkeley Hills Campus of Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California. Son’s time in American high schools played a formative role in his exposure to technology and entrepreneurship.
University: After graduating from high school, Masayoshi Son pursued higher education at the University of California, Berkeley. He studied economics and computer science at the university. Son’s education at UC Berkeley provided him with a strong academic foundation and equipped him with the skills and knowledge to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions.
It is worth noting that Masayoshi Son’s entrepreneurial drive and success are often attributed to his unique vision, business acumen, and ability to identify emerging trends in the technology sector. While his formal education played a role in shaping his early experiences, it is his entrepreneurial spirit and ability to seize opportunities that have been instrumental in his professional journey.
Masayoshi Son Soft bank
Masayoshi Son is best known as the founder and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., commonly referred to as SoftBank. SoftBank is a Japanese multinational conglomerate that operates in various sectors, including telecommunications, technology, finance, robotics, and more.
Son founded SoftBank in 1981 as a software distribution company. Over the years, he transformed it into a diversified holding company with investments in numerous industries. SoftBank’s primary business segments include SoftBank Vision Fund, SoftBank Telecom, SoftBank Robotics, and SoftBank Investment Advisers.
SoftBank’s investment arm, SoftBank Vision Fund, is one of the largest technology investment funds globally. It has made substantial investments in prominent companies, including Alibaba Group, Uber Technologies, WeWork, ARM Holdings, Slack Technologies, and many others. SoftBank’s investments often focus on disruptive and innovative technologies that have the potential to reshape industries.
Under Masayoshi Son’s leadership, SoftBank has made headlines for its ambitious and sometimes controversial investment decisions. While many of Son’s investments have been successful and generated significant returns, some have also faced challenges and experienced setbacks. Notable examples include the struggles faced by WeWork and the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SoftBank’s investment portfolio.
In addition to its investments, SoftBank is a major player in the telecommunications industry in Japan. It operates SoftBank Mobile, one of Japan’s largest mobile network operators, offering mobile and fixed-line communication services to consumers and businesses.
Masayoshi Son’s leadership and strategic vision have shaped SoftBank into a globally recognized conglomerate. His relentless pursuit of technology-driven innovation and his willingness to take bold risks have established him as one of the most influential figures in the business and technology world.
Masayoshi Son Professional Life
Masayoshi Son’s professional life is characterized by his entrepreneurial spirit, bold investments, and leadership of SoftBank Group Corp. Here are some key highlights of his professional journey:
In 1981, at the age of 23, Masayoshi Son founded SoftBank Corporation as a software distribution company in Japan. The company initially focused on distributing packaged software, but Son recognized the potential of the internet and shifted the company’s direction towards technology investments.
Internet and Technology Investments
In the mid-1990s, Son started investing in internet and technology companies, which proved to be a transformative move. SoftBank became known for its strategic investments in prominent startups and established companies. One of Son’s most significant investments was in Alibaba Group, a Chinese e-commerce giant, which turned out to be highly lucrative and helped solidify SoftBank’s position as a global technology investor.
SoftBank Vision Fund
In 2017, Masayoshi Son launched the SoftBank Vision Fund, a massive technology investment fund with a capital of $100 billion. The fund aims to invest in transformative and innovative companies across various sectors, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, internet of things, and biotechnology. SoftBank Vision Fund has made notable investments in companies like Uber, Slack, ARM Holdings, DoorDash, and many others.
Expansion into Telecom
SoftBank expanded its operations into the telecommunications industry, becoming one of Japan’s largest mobile network operators. Through its subsidiary, SoftBank Mobile, the company offers mobile and fixed-line communication services to consumers and businesses in Japan.
Leadership and Management Style
Masayoshi Son is known for his hands-on approach to management and his visionary leadership style. He has a reputation for taking bold risks and making high-profile investments. Son is also known for his long-term thinking and his belief in the transformative power of technology to drive innovation and change.
Challenges and Setbacks
While SoftBank’s investments have seen considerable success, the company has also faced challenges and setbacks. Notably, the investment in WeWork faced difficulties, leading to financial losses and a reassessment of SoftBank’s investment strategy. The COVID-19 pandemic also had an impact on SoftBank’s investment portfolio, requiring adjustments and evaluations of its holdings.
Throughout his professional life, Masayoshi Son has demonstrated a keen eye for investment opportunities, a penchant for disruptive technologies, and a willingness to take risks. His contributions to the technology and investment landscape have cemented his status as one of Japan’s most influential business leaders.
Masayoshi Son Philanthropy
Masayoshi Son has engaged in philanthropic activities and made significant charitable contributions throughout his career. Here are some notable instances of his philanthropy:
The 300-Year Vision: In 2010, Masayoshi Son announced his commitment to donate the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes through what he called “The 300-Year Vision.” The vision encompasses supporting innovative technologies and projects that have a positive impact on society and aims to contribute to the betterment of humanity for the next 300 years.
SoftBank Foundation: Masayoshi Son established the SoftBank Foundation in 1996, which focuses on supporting education and cultural initiatives. The foundation provides scholarships to students and grants to educational institutions in Japan, helping to promote academic development and access to education.
Disaster Relief Efforts: Son has been actively involved in disaster relief efforts, particularly in Japan. After the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, he donated 10 billion yen (approximately $100 million) to support the recovery and reconstruction efforts in the affected areas. Additionally, SoftBank provided free Wi-Fi and mobile phone charging stations in disaster-stricken regions.
COVID-19 Relief Efforts: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Masayoshi Son pledged to donate one year’s worth of his salary, approximately 1 billion yen (around $9 million), to support the development of treatments and vaccines for the virus. SoftBank Group also provided financial assistance to businesses affected by the pandemic and offered free access to online education platforms.
Future Generation: Son has expressed a strong commitment to supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. He has established initiatives such as the SoftBank Innovation Program, which provides financial support and mentoring to promising startups, aiming to foster technological advancements and entrepreneurial success.
Pledge to Donate Wealth: In 2019, Masayoshi Son announced that he would be giving away approximately $41 billion of his personal fortune to accelerate his philanthropic endeavors. This pledge is one of the largest commitments to philanthropy by an individual.
Education Initiatives: Son has shown a strong emphasis on supporting education. In 2014, he established the “Kizuna AI Education Project,” aiming to provide online education to children affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Additionally, he has donated funds to educational institutions, including the University of California, Berkeley, and the Indian School of Business.
Renewable Energy: Son is passionate about renewable energy and has invested in various clean energy projects. In 2011, he established the SoftBank Renewable Energy division, which focuses on developing and investing in renewable energy sources. The division has been involved in solar and wind energy projects both in Japan and internationally.
Artificial Intelligence Research: Son has demonstrated support for artificial intelligence (AI) research and development. In 2017, he donated $100 million to establish the “Vision Fund for AI” at the University of Cambridge, aiming to advance AI-related research and address global challenges.
Environmental Conservation: Son has expressed concern for environmental issues and has taken steps to promote conservation efforts. He is a signatory of The Giving Pledge, a commitment by wealthy individuals to donate a significant portion of their wealth to philanthropy. Through his philanthropic activities, he aims to contribute to initiatives that combat climate change and promote sustainability.
These facts highlight Masayoshi Son’s diverse philanthropic interests, including education, renewable energy, AI research, and environmental conservation. His substantial contributions and commitment to philanthropy demonstrate a desire to make a positive impact on society and address key global challenges.
Masayoshi Son Networth
Masayoshi Son’s net worth was estimated to be around $48 billion. However, it’s important to note that net worth can fluctuate over time due to various factors such as investments, business performance, and market conditions.
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