SoftBank Group

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SoftBank Group
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{{EngvarB|date=July 2016}} {{Use dmy dates|date=July 2016}}{{Expand Japanese|ソフトバンクグループ|date=March 2019}}

TOPIX Core30 component| ISIN = JP3436100006Masayoshi Son| location = Tokyo Shiodome BuildingMinato, Tokyo>Minato-ku, Tokyo| location_country = Japan(Founder & CEO)}}Ronald D. Fisher{{small|(Vice Chairman)}}Conglomerate (company)>ConglomerateInternetInvestment>SemiconductorsInternet of Things>Artificial IntelligenceRobotics>E-commerce}}9.15 trillionWEBSITE=WWW.SOFTBANK.JPACCESSDATE=13 AUGUST 2015, 1.30 trillion}} (2018)1.23 trillion}} (2018)31.18 trillion}} (2018)6.27 trillion}} (2018)WEBSITE=WWW.SOFTBANK.JPACCESSDATE=13 AUGUST 2015, | owner = Masayoshi Son (21.21%)SoftBank Group#SoftBank Corp. (99.99%)>SB CreativeSprint Corporation (83%)HTTP://WWW.SOFTBANK.CO.JP/EN/NEWS/PRESS/2013/20130806_01/ PUBLISHER =SOFTBANK ACCESSDATE=30 AUGUST 2013, Brightstar Corporation>Brightstar Corp. (87.1%)Yahoo! Japan (48.17%)>Alibaba Group (27.5%)Fortress Investment Group (100%)Arm Holdings (100%)>Boston Dynamics (100%)Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks}}weblink}}}}{{Nihongo foot|SoftBank Group Corp.|ソフトバンクグループ株式会社|Sofutobanku Gurūpu Kabushiki-gaisha}}WEB, Changes of Corporate Names, Softbank Group, 2015-07-15,weblink 2015-11-30, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Tokyo. The company owns stakes in Softbank Corp. ((:ja:ソフトバンク|ja)), Softbank Vision Fund ((:ja:ソフトバンク・ビジョン・ファンド|ja)), Arm Holdings, Fortress Investment Group, Boston Dynamics, Sprint (85%), Alibaba (29.5%), Yahoo Japan (48.17%), Brightstar (87.1%), Uber (15%), Didi Chuxing (ca.20%), Ola (ca.30%), Renren (42.9%), InMobi (45%), Hike (25.8%), Snapdeal (ca.30%), Fanatics (ca.22%), Improbable Worlds (ca.50%), Paytm (ca.20%), OYO (42%), Ping An Insurance (7.41%), Slack Technologies (ca.5%), WeWork (ca.22%), {{ill|Zhongan Online P&C Insurance|zh|众安保险|vertical-align=sup}} (5%), Compass (ca.22%), AUTO1 Group (ca.20%), Wag (45%), Katerra (ca.28%), Cruise Automation (ca.19.6%), ParkJockeyNEWS,weblink Softbank Invests in a New-Age Cloud Company, Fortune, 2018-05-11, en, , Tokopedia (Indonesia)NEWS,weblink Tokopedia raises $1.1b from SoftBank, Alibaba to evolve into infrastructure-as-a-service, TechinAsia, 29 July 2019, , and many more companies. It also runs Vision Fund, the world's largest technology-focused venture capital fund, with over $100 billion in capital.NEWS, Crane, John, Exposing SoftBank’s Hunger for Saudi Blood Money,weblink The Startup, 21 May 2019, NEWS, Wong, Jacky, How Much Is the World's Largest Tech Fund Worth to SoftBank?,weblink Wall Street Journal, 9 May 2018, The company is known for its leadership by founder Masayoshi Son.NEWS,weblink Masayoshi Son's $58 Billion Payday on Alibaba, 2014-05-08,, 12 November 2017, It now owns operations in broadband; fixed-line telecommunications; e-commerce; internet; technology services; finance; media and marketing; semiconductor design; and other businesses.SoftBank was ranked in the Forbes Global 2000 list as the 36th largest public company in the world,NEWS,weblink Forbes Global 2000, 2017, Forbes,, and the 2nd largest publicly traded company in Japan after Toyota.NEWS,weblink The World's Largest Public Companies, Forbes, 2018-09-26, en, The logo of SoftBank is based on the Kaientai, a naval trading company that existed at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate.WEB,weblink Origin of Brand Name and Logo, SoftBank Group Corp., 2018-09-26,


Founding and early years

SoftBank was founded in September 1981 as a SOFTBANK Corp. by then-24-year-old Masayoshi Son, originally as a computer parts store. They went into the publishing business in May 1982 with the launches of the Oh! PC and Oh! MZ magazines, about NEC and Sharp computers respectively.WEB,weblink Japanese-Style Entrepreneurship: An Interview with Softbank'S CEO, Masayoshi Son, 1 January 1992, Oh!PC had a circulation of 140,000 copies by 1989.WEB,weblink Japan's Big Three Carriers Explained - SoftBank, 27 October 2013, It would go on to become Japan's largest publisher of computer and technology magazines and of trade shows.In 1994 the company went public and was valued at $3 billion. SoftBank agreed in September 1995 to purchase U.S.-based Ziff Davis publishing for $2.1 billion.WEB,weblink Softbank Agrees to Buy Ziff-Davis PC Magazine Group, Bloomberg Business, News,

1995–2009 expansion

SoftBank bought COMDEX from The Interface Group on 1 April 1995 for $800 million, and ZDI on 29 February 1996.NEWS,weblink A Japanese Gambler Hits the Jackpot With Softbank, Andrew Pollack, 1995-02-19, The New York Times, 2017-12-10, en-US, 0362-4331, WEB,weblink Worst in Show How Key3Media, the company behind the big tech trade show Comdex, went bankrupt, 1 September 2003, CNN Money, Caulfield, Brian, 2017-12-10, SoftBank sold COMDEX to Key3Media, a spin-off of Ziff Davis, in 2001.WEB,weblink Business News – Latest Headlines on CNN Business - CNN, CNN, In the nineties Son made large forays into Internet services. In 1996, SoftBank made a joint venture with rising American internet company Yahoo!, creating Yahoo! Japan, which would go on to become a dominant site in the country.WEB,weblink Mr. How Son Captured Japan's Internet Economy - August 16, 1999,, In October 1999, SoftBank became a holding company.WEB,weblink History - Company Info - SoftBank Group Corp. - SoftBank Group, In 2000, SoftBank made its most successful investment ever{{snd}}$20 million to a then fledgling Chinese Internet venture Alibaba.NEWS,weblink Softbank to Invest $20 Million In Hong Kong's, Sender, Henny, 2000-01-18, Wall Street Journal, 2017-12-11, Ling, Connie, en-US, 0099-9660, This investment turned into $60 billion when Alibaba went public in September 2014.NEWS,weblink Valuing SoftBank in Alibaba's Aftermath, Galani, Una, DealBook, 2017-10-20, en, WEB,weblink SoftBank's Alibaba Alchemy: How to Turn $20 Million Into $50 Billion, Pfanner, Eric, 2014-09-19, WSJ, en-US, 2017-12-11, File:SoftBank Hankyu-Ibaraki.JPG|thumb|250px|left|SoftBank store in Ibaraki, OsakaOsakaOn 28 January 2005, SoftBank became the owner of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, a Nippon Professional Baseball team. On 17 March 2006, SoftBank announced its agreement to buy Vodafone Japan, giving it a stake in Japan's $78 billion mobile market. In April 2006, they bought a 23% stake of Betfair, an Internet betting exchange. In August 2006, SoftBank sold all its shares of SBI Group to a subsidiary of SBI's holding company, making SBI independent. On 1 October 2006, Vodafone Japan changed its corporate name, mobile phone brand name, and its mobile phone domain name to SoftBank Mobile, SoftBank, and [], respectively.WEB,weblink ja:ボーダフォン、メールのドメイン名も「ソフトバンク」へ──10月1日から, Japanese, ITmedia Mobile, 2006-07-13, 2013-07-02, On 28 January 2008, it was announced that SoftBank and Tiffany & Co. collaborated in making a limited 10 model-only cellphone. This cellphone contains more than 400 platinum diamonds, totaling more than 20 carats. The cost is said to be more than 100,000,000 yen.NEWS,weblink ja:上戸彩:超高価ケータイ「ないしょにしてね」, Sports Nippon, 2008-01-29, Japanese,weblink" title="">weblink 2008-01-30,

2010–2016 acquisitions

On 3 February 2010, SoftBank acquired 13.7% in Ustream with the option to increase shares to 30% by July 2011.{{Citation | newspaper = Japan Today | url =weblink | title = Softbank profit soars; buys stake in Ustream | date = 3 February 2010}} On 1 October 2010, Ayumi Hamasaki became the commercial spokesperson.{{Citation | title = Head lines | url =weblink | publisher = Yahoo | place = JP}}{{dead link|date=August 2013}}On 3 October 2012, the take over of competitor eAccess was announced, and was completed in January 2013.WEB, Santos, Alexis,weblink Softbank to acquire competitor eAccess, expand LTE network by 50 percent, Engadget, 2012-10-03, 2013-07-02, On 1 July 2013, SoftBank announced that Willcom became a wholly owned subsidiary effective 1 July 2013, after termination of rehabilitation proceedings. eAccess was merged with Willcom, which resulted in a new subsidiary and brand from Yahoo! Japan, Ymobile Corporation.(File:お父さん犬 (5377659450).jpg|thumb|left|200px|Merchandise drinking mug featuring "Otosan", the SoftBank mascot)On 15 October 2012, SoftBank announced plans to take control of American Sprint Nextel by purchasing a 70% stake for $20 billion.NEWS,weblink Softbank to Buy 70 Percent Stake in Sprint: Sources, CNBC, 15 October 2012, On 6 July 2013, the United States Federal Communications Commission approved SoftBank's acquisition of the Sprint Corporation for $22.2 billion for a 78% ownership interest in Sprint. The acquisition involved payment of $17.2 billion in cash to Sprint shareholders, with the balance $5 billion as capital contribution. The transaction was financed by way of cash and a bridge loan from a consortium of banks.WEB, Soni, Phalguni, The latest word in telecom,weblink Market Realist, Market Realist, Inc., 21 April 2014, On 6 August 2013, SoftBank bought 2% more shares of Sprint Corporation, increasing its ownership stake in the company to 80%.File:Softbank in Sendai & the decorations of Sendai Star Festival.JPG|thumb|SoftBank store in Sendai, with decorations for the TanabataTanabataIn October 2013, SoftBank acquired 51% stake in Supercell for a reported $2.1 billion. Later on 25 October 2014, they invested $210 million in OlaCabs,NEWS,weblink The Times Of India, Olacabs raises $210 million from Japan's SoftBank Corp; enters b Club, 25 October 2014, $627 million in Snapdeal with 30% stake in the company on 28 October 2014, and a $100 million investment in with 30% stake in the company in November 2014.NEWS,weblink The Times Of India, Startup valued at Rs 1,500 crore after SoftBank acquires 30% stake for $70 million, 19 November 2014, In 2013, the company brought a controlling stake in French company Aldebaran Robotics, which was rebranded SoftBank Robotics. In 2014, teams from both companies co-designed Pepper, a humanoid robot. In 2015, SoftBank increased its stake to 95% of Aldebaran Robotics.WEB,weblink Aldebaran Robotics Founder and CEO Steps Down, SoftBank Appoints New Leader, IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News, WEB,weblink Softbank's Robotics Business Prepares To Scale Up, Parmy, Olson, In 2015, SoftBank acquired DramaFever.WEB,weblink Post-acquistion [sic], DramaFever has more muscle to spread Asian entertainment to the West, J.T. Quigley, 22 May 2015, 22 May 2015, Tech In Asia, In May 2015, Masayoshi Son said he would appoint Nikesh Arora, a former Google executive, as Representative Director and President of SoftBank. Arora has been heading SoftBank's investment arm.NEWS, Martin, Alexander, SoftBank CEO Taps a Future Successor in Nikesh Arora,weblink The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal, 11 May 2015, 11 May 2015, On 1 June 2015, SoftBank acquired additional 22.7% stake in Supercell, increasing its total stake to 73.2% and becoming the sole external shareholder of the company.{{Citation needed|date=December 2017}} In June 2015, SoftBank announced it would invest US$1 billion in the Korean e-commerce website Coupang as part of its overseas expansion plans.NEWS, Ando, Ritsuko,weblink SoftBank to invest $1 billion in Korean e-commerce site Coupang, Reuters, 3 June 2015, 3 June 2015, In July 2015, SoftBank announced the renaming of the company from SoftBank Corp. to SoftBank Group Corp. Meanwhile, SoftBank Mobile was renamed to SoftBank Corp., the now former name of the company as a whole.WEB,weblink Changes of Corporate Names of SoftBank Corp. and Subsidiary - Press Releases - News - About Us - SoftBank Group, 7 December 2016, On 16 February 2016, SoftBank announced they would repurchase a record 14.2% of shares, valued at $4.4bn, in order to boost investor confidence.WEB,weblink Softbank reveals record $4.4bn share buyback, 16 February 2016, 7 December 2016,, On 31 March 2016, they announced they would sell shares worth $7.9 billion of their stake in Alibaba Group. On 21 June 2016, SoftBank sold its 84% stake in Supercell for reported US$7.3 billion to Tencent.NEWS,weblink Yahoo! News, Softbank sells stake in game developer Supercell to Tencent, 21 June 2016, 19 July 2016, On 3 June 2016, Softbank agreed to sell most of its stake in GungHo Online Entertainment (approximately 23.47%) for about $685 million, which would thus end Softbank's majority ownership of the company, resulting in Gungho no longer being an associate of Softbank.WEB,weblink Puzzle & Dragons studio GungHo to regain majority stake from SoftBank for $685m,, WEB,weblink SoftBank to sell most of its stake in 'Puzzle & Dragons' maker GungHo, 6 June 2016,, Execution of Agreement to Tender in Tender Offer for Shares of an Associate | Press Releases | News | About Us | SoftBank Group The offer was accepted by Gungho and completed by 22 June, thus allowing Gungho to become an independent company.WEB,weblink Tender in Tender Offer for Shares of an Associate - Press Releases - News - SoftBank Group Corp. - SoftBank Group,, WEB,weblink Results of Tender in Tender Offer for Shares of an Associate - Press Releases - News - SoftBank Group Corp. - SoftBank Group,, In June 2016, Nikesh Arora stepped down as president of SoftBank amidst pressure from investors. Board member Ron Fisher and Baer Capital Partners founder Alok Sama stepped in to manage Arora's overseas investment duties.NEWS, Martin, Alexander, SoftBank President Nikesh Arora to Step Down,weblink The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal, 21 Jun 2016, 21 June 2016, Just a month later, Son announced the company's largest deal ever to buy British chip designer ARM Holdings for more than US$32 billion.NEWS, Wong, Jacky, SoftBank-ARM: These Chips Don't Come Cheap,weblink The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal, 18 July 2016, 18 July 2016, WEB,weblink ARM Holdings in £24bn Japanese takeover deal, Simon, Jack, 18 July 2016, 7 December 2016,, This acquisition was completed on 5 September 2016.WEB,weblink SoftBank acquires ARM, Warren, Tom, 5 September 2016, The Verge, 5 September 2016, On 6 December 2016, after meeting with US President-elect Donald Trump, chief executive Masayoshi Son announced SoftBank will be investing US$50 billion in the United States toward businesses creating 50,000 new US jobs.NEWS, Knutson, Ryan, When Billionaires Meet: $50 Billion Pledge From SoftBank to Trump,weblink Wall Street Journal, 6 December 2016, WEB,weblink Trump: SoftBank to add $50B, 50K jobs in U.S.,, USA today, Amazon to add 100,000full-time jobs in U.S. by '19, Friday 13 January 2017, page B1/B2


On 30 January 2017, the Wall Street Journal wrote that SoftBank Group was "weighing an investment of well over $1 billion in shared-office space company WeWork Cos., in what could be among the first deals from its new $100 billion technology fund."{{Citation| last1 =Farrell| first1 = Maureen | last2 =Winkler | first2 =Rolfe | last3 =Brown| first3 =Eliot| title =SoftBank Mulls Investment of Over $1 Billion in WeWork | publisher =Wall Street Journal | publication-place =New York City | url =| accessdate =31 January 2017}} On 20 March SoftBank bought a $300m stake in WeWork.WEB,weblink Masayoshi Son goes on a $100bn shopping spree, The Economist, 2017-12-11, On 14 February 2017, SoftBank Group agreed to buy Fortress Investment Group LLC for $3.3 billion.{{Citation| last1 =Hoffman| first1 = Liz| last2 =Jenny | first2 =Strasburg| last3 =Sarah | first3 =Krouse| date =14 February 2017| title =SoftBank to Buy Fortress Investment Group for $3.3 Billion | publisher = The Wall Street Journal}} In February 2017, it was announced that Social Finance Inc. was close to raising $500 million from an investor group led by Silver Lake, and also including Softbank.{{Citation| last =Rudegeair| first =Peter | date =16 February 2017| title =Silver Lake, Softbank to Join New $500 Million Investment in Lender SoFi | publisher =The Wall Street Journal| publication-place =New York City | url =| accessdate =17 February 2017}} On 28 March 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that SoftBank Group Corporation had approached Didi Chuxing Technology Co. about investing $6 billion to help the ride-hailing firm expand in self-driving car technologies, with the bulk of the money to come from SoftBank's planned $100 billion Vision Fund.NEWS, Wu, Kane, Negishi, Mayumi, 28 March 2017, SoftBank Considers $6 Billion Investment in China Ride-Hailing Firm Didi,weblink Wall Street Journal, New York City, New York, United States, 30 March 2017, On 18 May 2017, it was reported that Softbank had completed its single largest investment in India to date, investing $1.4 billion in Paytm. At the time, Softbank was also working on a takeover of Flipkart's Snapdeal.NEWS, Mundy, Simon, 18 May 2017, India's Paytm wins $1.4bn Softbank investment,weblink Financial Times, London, 18 May 2017, subscription, On 10 August 2017, Softbank invested $2.5 billion into Flipkart.WEB, Rai, Saritha, SoftBank Fund Is Said to Invest $2.5 Billion in Flipkart,weblink Bloomberg, 12 July 2018, On May 27, 2017 Softbank and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF), the kingdom's main sovereign wealth fund, partnered to create the Softbank Vision Fund, the world's largest private equity fund with a capital of $93 billion.WEB,weblink Where the huge SoftBank-Saudi tech fund is investing,, 6 October 2017, Alkhalisi, Zahraa, 4 November 2018, Softbank Group will contribute $28 billion to the investment fund, of which $8.2 billion will come from the sale of approximately 25% of British multinational Arm Holdings shares.WEB,weblink SoftBank Vision Fund announces first major close,, 20 May 2017, 9 November 2018, Saudi Arabia is the main investor in the fund: its Public Investment Fund (PIF) will inject $45 billion into the Vision Fund over 5 years, becoming its largest investor in terms of volume.WEB,weblink Masayoshi Son and Saudi Arabia launch a monster technology fund,, 25 May 2017, 9 November 2018, Other investors include Apple, Qualcomm, ARM, Foxconn, Sharp, Larry Ellison and Mubadala.WEB,weblink Japanese Billionaire Masayoshi Son, Larry Ellison, Apple, Saudi Arabia All Bet On Vision Fund,, 5 April 2017, Kerry A. Dolan, 9 November 2018, The latter will invest $15 billion dollars in the fund, targeting artificial intelligence, communications infrastructure, financial technology, consumer internet, mobile computing and robotics.WEB,weblink Softbank-Saudi tech fund becomes world's biggest with $93 billion of capital,, 20 May 2017, Torchia, Andrew, 9 November 2018, Through Softbank Vision Fund, CEO Masayoshi Son explained his intent to invest in all companies developing technologies in line with the global artificial intelligence trends, including various sectors such as finance or transportation.WEB,weblink Masayoshi Son's Grand Plan for SoftBank's $100 Billion Vision Fund, Benner, Katie, 10 October 2017,, 9 November 2018, In July 2019, SoftBank announced the creation of a "Vision Fund 2", excluding participation from the Saudi Arabia government, and including investors Apple, Foxconn, Microsoft and others. The fund is reported to focus on AI-based technology and reach an investment of approximately $108 billion, of which $38 billion would be its own.WEB, Shu, Catherine, SoftBank announces AI-focused second $108 billion Vision Fund with LPs including Microsoft, Apple and Foxconn,weblink Tech Crunch, 3 August 2019, On 8 June 2017, Alphabet Inc. announced the sale of Boston Dynamics (robotics companies whose products include BigDog) to SoftBank Group for an undisclosed sum.NEWS, Lunden, 9 Jun 2017, Ingrid,weblink SoftBank is buying robotics firms Boston Dynamics and Schaft from Alphabet, On 25 August 2017, SoftBank finalized a $4.4 billion investment in WeWorkNEWS, Brown, Eliot, 25 August 2017, SoftBank Finalizes $4.4 Billion WeWork Investment,weblink The Wall Street Journal, On 24 October 2017, Softbank Group's CEO Masayoshi Son announced the group would collaborate with Saudi Arabia to develop Neom, the new high-tech business and industrial city of the Saudi Kingdom.WEB,weblink SoftBank to work with Saudi Arabia on new city,, 24 October 2017, 4 November 2018, On 14 November 2017, Softbank agreed to invest $10 billion into Uber.WEB,weblink Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem,, en-US, 2017-11-21, On 29 December 2017, it was reported that SoftBank-led consortium of investors had secured a $9 billion investment into Uber. The deal, to close in January 2018, will leave SoftBank as Uber's biggest shareholder, with a 15 percent stake.NEWS, Hook, Leslie, 29 December 2017, SoftBank deal helps clear path towards Uber IPO,weblink Financial Times, London, 29 December 2017, subscription, The deal was secured after Uber shareholders voted to "sell their shares to the Japanese conglomerate at a discounted price." Beyond SoftBank, consortium members included Dragoneer, Tencent, TPG and Sequoia.NEWS, Hook, Leslie, 28 December 2017, SoftBank-led group to acquire $9bn stake in Uber,weblink Financial Times, London, 29 December 2017, subscription, On 14 January 2018, Softbank's Vision Fund announced to invest $560 million in the German used-car sales portal Auto1 .WEB,weblink SoftBank's Vision Fund Invests $560 Million in Auto1 Group,, en-US, 2018-02-01, On 1 March 2018, Softbank's Vision Fund lead a $535 million investment in DoorDash.NEWS,weblink DoorDash is raising $535 million from SoftBank and others at a $1.4 billion valuation, Recode, 2018-03-02, In May 2018, CEO Masayoshi Son revealed during an earnings presentation that Walmart reached a deal to buy Flipkart.WEB,weblink Whoops: SoftBank CEO reveals Walmart has acquired Flipkart – TechCrunch,, en-US, 2018-05-09, On 27 September 2018, Soft bank announced investment of $400 Million in Home-Selling Startup Opendoor.NEWS,weblink SoftBank Invests $400 Million in Home-Selling Startup Opendoor, Brown, Eliot, 2018-09-27, Wall Street Journal, 2018-09-27, Kusisto, Laura, en-US, 0099-9660, In September 2018, Saudi government officials announced that a planned $200 billion project with SoftBank Group to build the world's biggest solar-power-generation project would be put on hold.NEWS,weblink Saudi Arabia Shelves Work on SoftBank's $200 Billion Solar Project, Jones, Rory, 2018-09-30, Wall Street Journal, 2018-10-01, Said, Summer, en-US, 0099-9660, In November 2018, SoftBank announced it will make an IPO with the cost of share $13.22 (which is 1,500 yen). The offer of the shares was going to last for a month. Regarding the number of shares, total value of SoftBank will reach $21.15 billion, which would be the second largest IPO ever made.NEWS,weblink SoftBank sets indicative share price of 1,500 yen for next month’s IPO, TechCrunch, 2018-11-30, en-US,

Business units

SoftBank's corporate profile includes various other companies such as Japanese broadband company SoftBank BB, data center company IDC Frontier, gaming company GungHo Online Entertainment, and the publishing company SB Creative. SBI Group is a Japanese financial services company that began in 1999, as a branch of SoftBank.{{Citation | url =weblink | publisher = SBI | place = JP | title = Corporate history}}. Ymobile Corporation is another telecommunications subsidiary of SoftBank, established in 2014. In 2010, SoftBank founded Wireless City Planning (WCP), a subsidiary that will see the development of TD-LTE networks throughout Japan.WEB,weblink SoftBank aims at 97% coverage for TD-LTE network, says CTO Yoshioki Chika - Global Telecoms Business, 7 December 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 17 March 2017, dead, dmy-all, SoftBank also operate SoftBank Capital, a US-based venture capital company. The COMDEX expo in the US was owned by SoftBank from 1995 to 2001. Since 2005, SoftBank also owns the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks professional baseball team. SoftBank also operates in the eco-power industry through its SB Energy subsidiary.Additionally, it has various partnerships in Japanese subsidiaries of foreign companies such as Yahoo! (which has resulted in Yahoo! Japan), E-Trade,, EF Education First and Morningstar. It also has stakes in Alibaba Group and Sprint Corporation.

SoftBank Corp.

{{nihongo|SoftBank Corp.|ソフトバンク株式会社|Sofutobanku Kabushikigaisha}} is SoftBank's telecommunications subsidiary, providing both mobile and fixed-line services. It was previously called SoftBank Mobile until July 2015, with the Group's merger of SoftBank BB Corp., SoftBank Telecom Corp. and Ymobile Corporation to reflect its new status of providing fixed-line and ISP operations.WEB,weblink Changes of Corporate Names - SoftBank Corp. - Group Companies - About Us - SoftBank Group, 7 December 2016,


(File:SONY TH291 (1999) 1 (2759751822).jpg|thumb|left|150px|Sony TH291 cellular phone for the Digital Tu-Ka operator)File:Jan14 01.JPG|thumb|J-PHONE store in NagoyaNagoyaThe roots of SoftBank's mobile communications arm date back to the formation of Japan Telecom in 1984. The Digital Phone Group (デジタルホン, DPG, three local companies) mobile phone division was formed in 1994, and J-PHONE Co., Ltd. (J-フォン) was formed in 1999 by the merging of DGP with Digital TU-KA Group (DTG, six local companies, not to be confused with TU-KA). Japan Telecom owned a stake of 45.1%.J-PHONE grew steadily for a decade by continuously introducing new services and enhancements such as SkyWalker for PDC, SkyMelody ringtone download, the famous Sha-Mail picture mail introduced on the basis of camera phones developed by SHARP, the mobile multimedia data service J-Sky modeled after NTT DoCoMo's i-mode, and advanced Java services based on JSCL, modeled after NTT DoCoMo's DoJa based i-appli.


In October 2001, the British mobile phone group Vodafone increased its share to 66.7% of Japan Telecom and 69.7% of J-Phone. On 1 October 2003, the name of the company and the service brand was officially changed to Vodafone, with the division called Vodafone K.K. or Vodafone Japan. The growth and success of the company during this period is due in large part to then president Bill Morrow.WEB,weblink Bill Morrow, Vodafone's turnaround guru, Walks Away,, 24 June 2006, 9 November 2007, However, in January 2005, Vodafone Japan lost 58,700 customers and in February 2005 lost 53,200 customers, while competitors NTT DoCoMo gained 184,400 customers, au by KDDI gained 163,700, and Willcom gained 35,000. While as of February 2005, DoCoMo's FOMA 3G service had attracted 10 million subscribers and KDDI's 3G service had attracted over 17 million subscribers, Vodafone's 3G service only attracted 527,300 subscribers. Vodafone 3G failed to attract subscribers because Vodafone cut back investments in 3G services in Japan in 2002/3; handsets did not fully match needs and preferences of Japanese customers. At the end of February 2005, Vodafone Japan had 15.1 million customers, and by end of October 2005, the number of subscribers had fallen by 103,100 to 14.996 million, while during the same period NTT DoCoMo had gained 1.65 million customers and KDDI/AU had gained 1.82 million customers. At the end of October 2005, NTT DoCoMo had 17.6 million 3G customers, KDDI/AU had 19.8 million 3G customers, and Vodafone-Japan had 1.9 million 3G customers, i.e. Vodafone-Japan gained about 4.8% of Japan's 3G market.Vodafone changed the name of its multimedia data services from J-Sky to Vodafone live!, and used J-Sky's principles and technologies and business models to introduce the WAP-based Vodafone live! in Vodafone's other markets. Thus Vodafone live! has its origin in J-Phone's J-Sky. At the end of February 2005, Vodafone live! had 12.907 million subscribers in Japan. By end of October 2005 the number of Vodafone live! subscribers had fallen by 138,000 to 12,769,600.In March 2006, Vodafone began discussing the sale of the Vodafone Japan unit to SoftBank. Vodafone was unable to satisfy customers, as Japanese users tend to have preferences not seen in other markets. Handsets had user interfaces that differed too much from the Japanese interface, and did not have as many features as competing companies. This led to the loss of more customers and Vodafone's decision that the market was no longer profitable.

SoftBank Mobile

File:(Real) TV on Mobile (397712891).jpg|thumb|Television broadcast on a 2007 Sharp phone on SoftBank]](File:SoftBank WiFi.jpg|thumb|SoftBank Wi-Fi display with the company's mascot, indicating a place where Wi-Fi can be used)On 17 March 2006, Vodafone Group announced it had agreed to sell its holding of Vodafone Japan (Vodafone K.K.) to SoftBank for about 1.75 trillion Japanese yen (about US$15.1 billion). On 14 April 2006, SoftBank and Vodafone K. K. jointly announced, that the name of the company will be changed to a "new, easy-to-understand and familiar" company name and brand. It was announced in a press conference on 18 May 2006, that the new name would be "SoftBank Mobile Corp.", effective 1 October 2006. SoftBank started the rebranding around 14 June 2006.On 4 June 2008, SoftBank Mobile announced partnership with Apple and brought the iPhone (3G) to Japan later in 2008.WEB,weblink 念願のiPhoneを獲得した舞台裏 ソフトバンク、トラウマ乗り越える, 2008-06-06, 2008-06-07, Japanese, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 June 2008, SoftBank Mobile was the only official carrier of the iPhone in Japan until the release of iPhone 4S in 2011 when it became available on au by KDDI as well.{{Citation|date=2008-06-04 |publisher=The New York Times |url= |title=SoftBank reaches deal with Apple to sell iPhone handsets in Japan this year |newspaper=International Herald Tribune |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=8 June 2008 }}


SoftBank Corp.'s mobile network operates W-CDMA (UMTS 3G) network ("SoftBank 3G"). SoftBank's 3G network is compatible with UMTS and supports transparent global roaming for existing UMTS subscribers from other countries. SoftBank 4G uses TD-LTE / LTE. SoftBank offers 4G speeds of more than 110 Mbit/s. SoftBank Wi-Fi Spots are available almost everywhere in Japan.


File:Vodafone Mobile SHOP ikebukuro japan.jpg|thumb|right|Vodafone store in IkebukuroIkebukuroFile:Softbank celltower01.jpg|thumb|A SoftBank mobile cell tower in Nakatsugawa, GifuNakatsugawa, Gifu
  • 1981: SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.) Japan (Yombancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) established. Commenced operations as a distributor of packaged software
  • 1984: Japan Telecom was founded.
  • 1986: Japan Telecom launches leased circuit services.
  • 1986: Railway Telecommunication established.
  • 1989: Railway Telecommunication merges with Japan Telecom.
  • 1991: Tokyo Digital Phone established.
  • 1994: J-Phone starts PDC cellular service in the 1.5 GHz band, 10 MHz bandwidth.
  • 1997: J-Phone launches SkyWalker SMS service designed by Aldiscon and Ericsson for PDC
  • 1998: J-Phone launches SkyMelody ringtone download service
  • 1999: J-Phone launches J-Sky wireless Internet service ten months after NTT DoCoMo's i-mode, which was launched in February 1999.
  • 2000: J-Phone launches Sha-Mail (写メール) picture messaging service using the world's first camera phones developed by SHARP
  • 2001: J-Phone launches Java service with JSCL library
  • 2002: J-Phone launches W-CDMA 3G service for the first time
  • 2002: Company name was changed to Japan Telecom Holdings.The fixed-line telecommunications business was also separated to found a new Japan Telecom.
  • 2003: J-Phone company name is changed to Vodafone K.K., and J-Sky name is changed to Vodafone live!. Vodafone launches a Japan-nationwide Beckham campaign
  • 2003: Company name was changed to Vodafone Holdings K.K.
  • 2004: Vodafone K.K. merges with Vodafone Holdings K.K. and company name is changed to Vodafone K.K.
  • 2004: Vodafone relaunches the 3G services in Japan a second time offering mobile phone handsets designed primarily for the European markets
  • 2005: Vodafone changes management and relaunches 3G services in Japan a third time
  • 2006: Vodafone officially announced it had agreed to sell Vodafone Japan (Vodafone KK) to SoftBank for a total of 1.75 trillion Japanese yen (approx US$15.1 billion) in one of the largest M&A transactions in Japan to date
  • 2006: SoftBank and Vodafone K. K. jointly announced, that the name of the company will be changed to a "new, easy-to-understand and familiar" company name and brand. Masayoshi Son became CEO and Representative Director of Vodafone K. K.
  • 2006: Headquarters moved from Atago Hills to Shiodome to integrate operations with other SoftBank group companies.
  • 2006: SoftBank announced that the name of the company will be changed to "SoftBank Mobile Corp." effective 1 October 2006
  • 2006: SoftBank started rebranding "Vodafone" to "SoftBank."
  • 2006: Vodafone Japan company name is changed to "SoftBank Mobile Corp."
  • 2008: SoftBank Mobile releases iPhone in Japan beating NTT DoCoMo
  • 2008: SoftBank Mobile joins Open Handset AllianceWEB,weblink announces 14 new members, Open Handset Alliance, 2008-12-09, 2013-10-15,
  • 2009: SoftBank Mobile joins TransferJet Consortium
  • 2010: Softbank purchased 100% of the PHS mobile operator Willcom.
  • 2012: SoftBank Mobile unveils the Pantone 5 107SH, a mobile phone with a built-in geiger counter.WEB, Chang, Alexandra, SoftBank Unveils World's First Phone With Radiation Detection,weblink Wired Magazine, 29 May 2012, 29 May 2012,
  • 2015: Investment in US-based Social Finance, Inc (SoFi) announced
  • 2015: SoftBank Mobile was merged with SoftBank BB Corp., SoftBank Telecom Corp., and Ymobile Corporation to form a new subsidiary, SoftBank Corp., to reflect its new status of providing fixed-line and ISP operations.
  • 2018: SoftBank Corp. (TSE: 9434) listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange On 19 December 2018.


THE PREMIUM SoftBank 821SH PG open.jpg|SoftBank 821SH PGSoftBank 001P Gold01.jpg|SoftBank 001P by LumixARROWS A 202F SoftBank (2013 .08.17).jpg|SoftBank A202F by ARROWSSoftBank 930CA BK001.jpg|SoftBank 930CA by EXLIMSoftbank 003sh.png|SoftBank 003SHVodafone 803T Soul Black open.jpg|Vodafone 803T by ToshibaJapanese mobile phone.jpg|J-PHONE J-SH07 by Sharp (2001)Mobile phone evolution Japan1997-2004.jpg|An evolution of J-PHONE and Vodafone cell phones, 1997–2004Softbank-usim-card-003-ap0wc.jpg|A SoftBank USIM cardStraatbeeld Tokyo juli 2004.jpg|View of Taitō, Tokyo, with a large Vodafone sign in the background (2004)Mobile Blazer (2724270785).jpg|Mobile Blazer (2008)


Since May 2006, SoftBank's marketing and commercials have principally revolved around "Otosan sujan karki", the canine patriarch of the otherwise human "Shirason, Kaito" family.WEB, Veteran actor Kai-kun retires from SoftBank Otousan role,weblink www.japanhbvn nb, 26 March 2015, "Otosan" translates to father, and the character, a Hokkaido dog, indeed acts as the father of the family, along with the son "Kojiro" (starred by Dante Carver), mom "Masako" (Kanako Higuchi), and daughter "Aya" (Aya Ueto).WEB,weblink Meet Japan's Most Popular Ad Family, Adweek, 12 August 2012, David, Griner, 21 June 2018, The advertising series proved to be highly popular: CM Research Center ranked the Otousan adverts as the most popular in Japan between 2007 and 2012, based on monthly surveys of 3,000 randomly selected adults in Japan.NEWS, Corkill, Edan, Otosan, Japan's top dog,weblink 26 March 2015, Japan Times, 29 April 2012, WEB,weblink Otosan, Japan's top dog, Edan, Corkill, 29 April 2012, 7 December 2016, Japan Times Online, SoftBank also has a partnership with the Ingress augmented reality game, supporting the branded "SoftBank Ultra Link" in-game item.NEWS,weblink Axa reaches millions of people through augmented reality game Ingress, Shannon, Jonathan, 9 July 2015, Campaign,


Softbank was sold a "team" for the America's Cup. The team was named SoftBank Team Japan, and Yanmar came onboard. SoftBank Team Japan raced in the 2017 races held in Bermuda. The team-members come from various backgrounds, most of whom are not Japaneseweblink {{webarchive|url= |date=19 October 2017 }}The company was the official jersey sponsor of the Japanese national basketball team at the official 2017 Asian Basketball Championship in Lebanon.Fiba Asia Cup 2017,, accessed 21 August 2017.Softbank is also the sponsor of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, a Japanese professional baseball team. The Softbank logo features prominently on the jersey.In December 2018, SoftBank invested in a startup called ParkJourney. The startup was invested in 2013 and deals with monetizing parking lots. After the investment round general valuation of the ParkJourney reached $1 billion.WEB,weblink SoftBank invests in parking startup ParkJockey pushing valuation to $1 billion, TechCrunch, en-US, 2018-12-11, In December 2018 SoftBank announced its intention to invest $1 billion on ride-hailing startup Grab. Some sources said that the total amount of investment could reach $1,5 billion.WEB,weblink SoftBank’s Vision Fund is preparing to invest $1 billion in Grab, TechCrunch, en-US, 2018-12-21,

Baby bonus

In 2015, SoftBank, along with some other companies in Japan,NEWS, David Turner (journalist), Turner, David,weblink Japan offers baby bonus to workers, 21 March 2007, Financial Times, 29 September 2015, subscription, offered a baby bonus for employees who have children. The payments range from US$400 for a first child to US$40,000 for a fifth child.NEWS,weblink Cash for Kids: Japan's Employers Offer "Baby Bonuses", ABC News, 29 September 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 30 September 2015, dead, dmy-all, WEB,weblinkweblink dead, 2015-09-30, Cash for Kids: Japan's Employers Offer 'Baby Bonuses' - ABC News, 2015-09-30, 2019-02-11, A shrinking work force solution: Baby bonuses BusinessRecord Retrieved 29 September 2015

See also



Additional sources

  • {{Citation |format=PDF |place=JP |url= |publisher=SoftBank |title=Annual Report |year=2008 |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=19 April 2009 |df=dmy }}.

External links

{{Commons category|SoftBank}}
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