Masayoshi Son

Masayoshi Son was born on August 11, 1957 in Japan. He is the founder and CEO of SoftBank Group Corporation.

 

Education

Masayoshi Son graduated from the prestigious University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Economics and Computer Science.

 

Career

Masayoshi Son was born to a family of Korean immigrants and he became a Japanese citizen in 1990. He said he was ambitious at an early age. When he was 16, he met his idol, the businessman Den Fujita, who had launched McDonald’s in Japan. Fujita advised him to study at abroad and learn English, so he went to study in the United States. When he was 23, he finished his studies at the University of California at Berkeley and returned to Japan to found his company SoftBank. He was one of the first businessmen in Japan to invest heavily in information technology. He invested in many startups, including the famous Yahoo search engine. He founded Yahoo Japan and is still chairman of its board of directors. He jumped at a chance to buy a one-third stake in the Chinese online sales site Alibaba.com for $20 million in 2000. Alibaba, now traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is valued at more than $200 billion.

Masayoshi Son embarked in 2006 on creating a telephone network by acquiring Vodafone Japan, which is now Softbank Mobile. In 2013 he bought 73 percent of the United States phone giant Sprint, his largest acquisition to date.

 

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Anecdotes

While a student at Berkeley, he started a business leasing video game consoles to play PacMan and Space Invaders at locations across the campus. He is also the owner since 2005 of a Japanese baseball team, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Forbes estimates his fortune is $14.5 billion.

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