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Masayoshi Son: SoftBank founder and journey to become Japan's second richest man


Masayoshi Son is the founder and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., which owns Japan's second-largest telecommunications operator, behind NTT Docomo. This Japanese corporation has shares of more than 1000 other large corporations and companies in the world: Sprint, Alibaba, Uber, Slack, WeWork, Yahoo Japan, Boston Dynamics and also Chinese startup Didi Chuxing. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Son owns $ 16.3 billion of assets, the second richest person in Japan after the founder of fashion brand Uniqlo, Tadashi Yanai.




Masayoshi Son is Korean-Japanese. His grandparents immigrated from South Korea to Japan in search of opportunities to get rich. His father worked in various labor jobs, from farming, fishing to working in restaurants. In addition to the Japanese name Masayoshi, he is also known as the Korean name: Son Jeong-ui.



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In 1976, when he was 16, Son met one of his idols, the founder of McDonald's fast food restaurant chain in Japan, Den Fujita, who encouraged him to study in the United States. In 1977, Son went to San Francisco to continue high school and went to the University of California at Berkeley to study computer science and economics.



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But not only is an enthusiastic person cultivating knowledge, at the age of 20, he sold Sharp the first product he created with the help of several other professors, a multi-lingual translation tool for $ 1, 7 million USD. At the same time, he earned an additional $ 1.5 million by importing old game consoles from Japan into the US and installing them in dormitories and restaurants around the place he attended.

In 1980, Son graduated in economics and opened Unison World, and was later acquired by Kyocera. In 1981, he founded SoftBank at the age of 24, initially selling computer hardware, then publishing magazines Oh! PC and Oh! MZ for hardware enthusiasts. In 1994, SoftBank was listed on the stock exchange and valued at US $ 3 billion. By the 1990s, SoftBank invested in internet services, during the boom of dotcom bubble. That period, 99% of the money he earned evaporated. Even one day he lost 70 billion USD in sweat.

They partner with Yahoo! to create Yahoo! Japan, it is still the most visited website in Japan.



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In 2000, SoftBank invested $ 20 million for Alibaba's Jack Ma. This 20 million "small" figure turned into $ 60 billion when Alibaba went to the stock market in 2014. Then in 2005, they bought Vodafone Japan, changed its name to SoftBank Mobile and became a service provider. telecommunications service in the country of Cherry Blossom



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Through its $ 100 billion investment fund Vision Fund, SoftBank has invested in a lot of big startups such as Uber, WeWork, DoorDash start-up startup and India's e-commerce platform called Flipkart. . SoftBank's investment strategy itself is also said to be different from Americans. They do not pour capital in installments and monitor the development of a startup, but instead pour hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars to invest. Thanks to such vision and financial strength, Son is called by many analysts as "Silicon Valley's most powerful man" when the list of companies they invest extends from e-commerce, transport Guests until AI and machine learning.



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So where does this money come from? Saudi Arabic. Son is said to have close ties with Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) behind the Vision Fund. Reportedly, PIF has poured 45 billion out of 100 billion USD of capital from Vision Fund.



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Mr. Son is also a proud person who pays salaries to employees. Last year, six top director positions at SoftBank earned a total of $ 83 million, while Son's salary rose to $ 2.1 million under Bloomberg. But he did not hold any money. In 2011, he promised to donate $ 119 million to victims of the 9.1-magnitude earthquake in March 2011, leading to a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, along with a promise to donate. His "all remuneration" until retirement.



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SoftBank is not only a technology corporation, but its founder also invests in real estate. SoftBank CEO owns about 45 million USD of real estate in Tokyo. In 2016, he spent 326 million USD to buy Tiffany Building in Ginza shopping district, Tokyo. He also owns a 800 square meter mansion in Silicon Valley, with swimming pools, private libraries, tennis courts and an extensive garden. This house is valued at 117.5 million USD.



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In addition to his face when appearing before the press, Son's private life is very discreet. He married Mrs. Masami Ohno, the daughter of a Japanese doctor after the two met at the University of California. They have two daughters together, but that's all found on the internet. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Taizo Son, is also a billionaire with the establishment of companies like GungHo Online Entertainment or Movida Japan.



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In Silicon Valley, Masayoshi Son is friends with many characters, from Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Rupert Murdoch and Tadashi Yanai. He also met US President Donald Trump many times, and was praised by the president for investing in American companies. Last May, he announced the creation of the second Vision Fund with a capital of US $ 100 billion, while the first quarter of Vision Fund is spending US $ 50 billion on technology corporations and startups.



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Despite investing and making all-round charity, Son is still rich. In August 2012, after promising to help the victims of the 2011 earthquake, he had a wealth of $ 9.79 billion. Seven years later, that asset increased by another 6.5 billion. This 61-year-old man once shared. when he died, he wanted to be remembered as one "The madman bet his hands on the future".



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