SoftBank, the phoenix of Japanese new technology

Is this the beginning of another renaissance? “ The time to strike back is coming”Masayoshi Son, founder and president of Japanese tech giant SoftBank, which has been in deep financial trouble since 2022, confirmed to its shareholders in June. Referring to the improvement of the accounts, the strange leader promised a new stage in the development of the established group. as a result of more or less successful investments in hundreds of promising startups.

Read also: The article is reserved for our subscribers After record profits, SoftBank records… historic losses

And again, Mr. Son announces that he has found a martingale. This time it will be artificial intelligence. SoftBank, a historic financier of new technologies for more than two decades, the future will depend on AI. She is “reinvigorated my desire to invest in technology”, explains the boss. The basis of this revival will be the listing on Wall Street in September of one of its nuggets, British Arm, a world reference in microprocessor architecture, a potential beneficiary of the growth of artificial intelligence.

True, the 2023-2024 published in mid-August the results of the first quarter of the financial year show improvements for SoftBank. Of course, losses totaled ¥477.6 billion (€3 billion) from April to June, while analysts had expected a modest profit of ¥75 billion. But results are improving: a year ago, SoftBank and its powerful VisionFund posted losses of 3.2 trillion yen (20.2 billion euros) in the same period of the year.

Getting out of trouble

The Tokyo-based group, with 55,000 employees, is looking to return to the top after a slump, as it has often done since it was founded. And that never shakes the confidence of Masayoshi Son, 69e world happiness, according to the magazine Forbes. Because the businessman has everything that is a phoenix and shows an authentic talent to rise from adversity. Born in 1957 in Tosu (Kyushu Island, southwest of the archipelago), he is the youngest of a Korean family that settled in Japan during the colonial period (1910-1945). His birth name is Son Jeong-ui. Choosing a Japanese name allowed people to avoid discrimination.

His taste for business developed through contact with his father, who created a series of business works. As soon as he graduated from college, his father sold soya (Korean alcohol) smuggling. He then started raising pigs, then ran a pachinko room (Japanese slot machines) and a consumer credit service.

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Georgie Collins

"Falls down a lot. Writer. Passionate alcohol maven. Future teen idol. Hardcore music practitioner. Food fanatic. Devoted travel fan."