Masayoshi Son, the founder, chairman, and CEO of SoftBank Group, has navigated a remarkable journey in the business world, experiencing the highs and lows of wealth accumulation. Born in Japan as a third-generation Zainichi Korean, Son’s early life was marked by his family’s involvement in illegal businesses, setting the stage for his future entrepreneurial endeavors.
Educational pursuits led Son to the United States, where he graduated from Berkeley with a B.A. in Economics in 1980. Notably, his entrepreneurial spirit emerged with the establishment of Unison World, a video game company that he later sold for a substantial sum of around $2 million. This financial windfall became the foundation for the establishment of SoftBank Corp in 1981.
Son’s trajectory as an entrepreneur and investor was characterized by early investments in prominent tech companies, including Yahoo and Alibaba. This propelled him to the position of the world’s richest man for a brief period, reaching a staggering net worth of $78 billion. However, the volatility of the stock market led to a significant reduction in his wealth, bringing it down to $8 billion.
Undeterred by setbacks, Son displayed resilience and strategic acumen, spearheading SoftBank’s resurgence. A pivotal moment came in 2006 when he successfully acquired Vodafone Japan, revitalizing his stature in the business world. Currently, his net worth stands at $23 billion, placing him among the wealthiest individuals globally.
SoftBank Group’s influence extends beyond its founder’s individual wealth. Son oversees Son’s Vision Funds, attracting investments from tech giants like Apple, Qualcomm, Foxconn, and notable figures such as Larry Ellison and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund. The conglomerate’s ventures into Indian startups like Ola, Oyo, and Paytm showcased its global reach.
Despite enduring failures in various investments, Masayoshi Son’s ability to navigate the complexities of the business landscape has solidified his position as a prominent and influential figure. His journey reflects not only the challenges of entrepreneurship but also the resilience needed to rebound and remain a force in the ever-evolving world of business.