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Here in Tokyo sits the headquarters of Japanese massive conglomerate, Softbank.
It started as a software distributor, grew into a telecom giant,
and now spans many industries, pouring billions of dollars
into the likes of Alibaba, Uber and WeWork.
Its founder and CEO meets with Donald Trump
and forms business deals with Saudi Arabia's royal family.
And yet, it's a company you may know little about.
Softbank is ranked number 38 on Forbes' list of the World's Biggest Public Companies.
That's a few slots higher than General Motors and IBM.
And far ahead of Amazon, Coca-Cola and Walt Disney.
Its business dealings really know no limits.
They include telecommunications, e-commerce, finance,
technology services, semiconductor design, media and marketing,
a baseball team and even a robot.
This is Pepper.
It's a humanoid robot manufactured by SoftBank,
designed with the ability to read human emotions and even analyze voice tone.
So who is behind it all?
Founder and CEO, Masayoshi Son.
He was born in a small town in Japan and moved to California at the age of 16.
He graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Economics in 1980.
Son is known for his fierce business strategies, and they seem to pay off.
After meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump in 2016,
it was announced that Son would invest $20 billion in the U.S. tech sector.
After the announcement in the Trump Tower lobby, Softbank's stock surged more than 6%,
making Son instantly $2 billion richer.
Son is now Japan's richest man.
Yet a big part of Softbank's success and size, may actually have
less to do with Japan and more to do with China.
In 2000, Softbank made its most successful investment, putting $20 million into Alibaba.
Fourteen years later, that investment turned into an estimated $60 billion payday
when the Chinese e-commerce giant went public.
That's almost a 300,000% gain in 14 years.
With returns like that, it's no wonder Softbank's become an investing powerhouse.
Last year, Softbank invested in more than half of the top 10
biggest investments in VC-backed startups.
That included ride-hailing giants, Didi Chuxing, Grab and Ola,
as well as, Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce giant.
And those investments are coming whether companies want them or not.
When Didi Chuxing and Uber said they didn't need Softbank's money,
Son threatened to invest in their rivals instead.
Needless to say, the companies took the cash.
Then there's the acquisitions. In 2016, Softbank purchased
European semiconductor firm, Arm Holdings, for $31 billion,
the biggest purchase of a European tech company - ever.
Google-owner Alphabet also sold its robotics firm Boston Dynamics
to Softbank in 2017 for an undisclosed amount.
Much of Softbank's recent investments are part of what's known as the Vision Fund -
it's the largest technology investment fund in history.
While the $100 billion fund is primarily backed by Softbank,
it also includes massive investments from Apple, Qualcomm, Sharp
and the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The fund has also invested billions of dollars into about 30 companies -
including Uber, ARM, Nvidia and WeWork.
It recently announced a $200 billion power generation project in Saudi Arabia,
which would be the world's biggest solar project.
And it isn't stopping there.
The fund wants to become the largest shareholder
in 100 tech companies around the world once it's done investing its money -
creating the biggest ecosystem of tech companies in the world.



軟銀集團簡介 (What is Softbank? | CNBC Explains)

754 分類 收藏
Judy Huang 發佈於 2018 年 5 月 31 日
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