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Softbank aims for world top 10 in 30 years

CEO Son says company will help renewable energy industry through Internet technology


Masayoshi Son, chairman of Softbank Corp., said Monday that the company aims to be listed as one of the world’s top 10 firms in market capitalization in the next 30 years.

In a press conference held in downtown Seoul, the 53-year-old chief executive officer said the firms belonging to the top 10 list have changed rapidly in the past century, noting that information technology giants like Apple and Microsoft made the list in 2011.

Son also said he will work toward increasing the number of Softbank’s affiliates from the current 800 to 5,000 in the upcoming three decades.

“We started as a single company but increased in numbers to about 800 in the past 30 years,” he said. “Softbank will not only focus on proliferating in figures of firms, but also on becoming an organization that continuously transforms through evolution.”

Son, however, said the corporation will pursue multi business models, multi headquarters and multi CEOs business strategy, instead of placing them under one big name, Softbank.
Softbank Corp. Chairman Masayoshi Son holds a press conference on the future plans of his company in Seoul on Monday.(Yonhap News)
Softbank Corp. Chairman Masayoshi Son holds a press conference on the future plans of his company in Seoul on Monday.(Yonhap News)

“To us, the affiliated firms are equal partners. It is not an order-taking relationship, but one that is equal,” said Son. “A faster decision-making process could take place by avoiding the centralization system.”

Of the 800 affiliated firms, which are Internet-related companies, foreign firms, such as those in Korea, China and the U.S. are included and Softbank is currently actively investing in Korean firms.

“We’ve invested a total of $230 million in 127 different firms up to now and we plan to increase the figure in the future,” he said.

Noting its recent cloud computing tie-up with KT Corp., the country’s largest fixed-line service operator, the 30-year-old Japanese firm expected to make greater efforts in partnering with more local firms here.

So far, it has joined hands with firms like KT, SK Telecom, Samsung, LG, Nexon, NHN, Gravity, CJ, Hangame and NC Soft, according to Son.

“It is an oriental special-class project to expand our business portfolio to companies located in other Asian regions, including Korea and China,” he said.

Son also said his company will contribute in the field of renewable energy through using Internet technology on the smart grid project.

“This comes after I realized how much threat was in nuclear energy,” he said, remembering the natural disaster that struck Japan earlier in March.

Claiming Softbank was able to achieve the current success by accepting the biggest challenge of acquiring Japan’s telecom giant Vodofone Japan in 2006, Softbank targets providing happiness for everyone through information revolution, said Son.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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