SOFTBANK GROUP CORP. (ソフトバンクグループ株式会社,
Sofutobanku Gurūpu Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese multinational
Internet corporation established on September
3, 1981, and headquartered in
Japan . It has operations in
broadband , fixed-line telecommunications, e-commerce ,
technology services, finance , media and marketing , semiconductor
design, and other businesses. The company is headed by founder
Masayoshi Son .
SoftBank was ranked in the
Forbes Global 2000 list as the 62nd
largest public company in the world, and the third largest public
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial . Between
2009 and 2014, SoftBank's market capitalization increased by 557%, the
fourth largest relative increase in the world over that period.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Founding and early years
* 1.2 Recent developments (2015–2017)
* 2 Business units
* 3.1 J-PHONE
* 3.5 Timeline
* 3.6 Gallery
* 5 Baby bonus
* 6 See also
* 7 Notes
* 8 References
* 9 External links
FOUNDING AND EARLY YEARS
COMDEX from The Interface Group in 1995, and in 1999
allowed organizers of
COMDEX to restrict admission of media, creating
a spiraling effect. They eventually sold
COMDEX to Key3Media, a
Ziff Davis , in 2001.
SoftBank store in Ibaraki ,
On January 28, 2005,
SoftBank became the owner of the Fukuoka
SoftBank Hawks , a
Nippon Professional Baseball team. On March 17,
SoftBank announced its agreement to buy
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
SoftBank sold all its shares of
SBI Group to a subsidiary
of SBI's holding company, making SBI independent. On October 1, 2006,
Japan changed its corporate name, mobile phone brand name,
and its mobile phone domain name to
SoftBank Mobile, SoftBank, and ,
On January 28, 2008, it was announced that
SoftBank and Tiffany ">
Merchandise drinking mug featuring 'Otosan', the
On October 15, 2012,
SoftBank announced plans to take control of
American Sprint Nextel by purchasing a 70% stake for $20 billion. On
July 6, 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.
On August 6, 2013,
SoftBank bought 2% more shares of Sprint
Corporation, increasing its ownership stake in the company to 80%.
SoftBank store in
Sendai , with decorations for the
In October 2013,
SoftBank acquired 51% stake in Supercell for a
reported $2.1 billion. Later on October 25, 2014, they invested $210
OlaCabs , $627 million in
Snapdeal with 30% stake in the
company on October 28, 2014, and a $100 million investment in
Housing.com with 30% stake in the company in November 2014.
SoftBank co-designed Pepper , a humanoid robot, with
Aldebaran Robotics .
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS (2015–2017)
DramaFever . 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. On June 1, 2015,
additional 22.7% stake in Supercell , increasing its total stake to
73.2% and becoming the sole external shareholder of the company.
In July 2015,
SoftBank announced the renaming of the company from
SoftBank Corp. to
SoftBank Group Corp. Meanwhile,
SoftBank Mobile was
SoftBank Corp., the now former name of the company as a
In June 2015,
SoftBank announced it would invest US$1 billion in the
Korean e-commerce website Coupang as part of its overseas expansion
On February 16, 2016,
SoftBank announced they would rebuy a record
14.2% of shares, valued at $4.4bn, in order to boost investor
confidence. On March 31, 2016, they announced they would sell shares
worth $7.9 billion of their stake in
Alibaba Group . On June 21, 2016,
SoftBank sold its 84% stake in Supercell for reported US$7.3 billion
Tencent . On June 3, 2016,
Softbank agreed to sell most of its
GungHo Online Entertainment
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. The offer was accepted by Gungho and completed by June
22, thus allowing Gungho to become a independent company.
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.
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.
This acquisition was completed on September 5, 2016.
On December 6, 2016, after meeting with U.S. 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 U.S. jobs. On January 30, 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." On February 14, 2017,
SoftBank Group agreed to buy Fortress
Investment Group LLC for $3.3 billion. 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. On March 28, 2017, the
Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal reported that
SoftBank Group Corporation had approached Didi Chuxing
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.
On May 18, 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
On August 10, 2017,
Softbank had invested $2.5 billion into Flipkart
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
GungHo Online Entertainment , and the
SB Creative .
SBI Group is a Japanese financial
services company that began in 1999 as a branch of SoftBank. 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
SoftBank also operate
SoftBank Capital , a
U.S.-based venture capital company. The
COMDEX expo in the U.S. was
SoftBank from 1995 to 2001. Since 2005
SoftBank also owns the
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks professional baseball team.
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
EF Education First and Morningstar . It also
has stakes in
Alibaba Group and
Sprint Corporation .
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.
J-PHONE store in
Nagoya in 2003
The company was founded in 1981 as the mobile phone division of Japan
Telecom under the name DIGITAL PHONE (デジタルホン). J-PHONE
CO., LTD. (J-フォン) was formed in 1999 by the merging of Digital
Phone Group (DPG, 3 local companies) and Digital
TU-KA Group (DTG, 6
local companies, not to be confused with
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
its share to 66.7% of
Japan Telecom and 69.7% of J-Phone. On October
1, 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 .
However, in January 2005,
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
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,
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
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.
Japan gained about 4.8% of Japan's 3G market.
Vodafone changed the name of its multimedia data services from J-Sky
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
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.
Television broadcast on a 2007 Sharp phone on
SoftBank Wi-Fi display with the company's mascot, indicating a place
where Wi-Fi can be used
On March 17, 2006,
Vodafone Group announced it had agreed to sell its
Vodafone K.K.) to
SoftBank for about 1.75
Japanese yen (approximately US$15.1 billion). On April 14,
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 May 18, 2006, that the new name would be "SoftBank
Mobile Corp.", effective October 1, 2006.
SoftBank started the
rebranding around June 14, 2006.
On June 4, 2008,
SoftBank Mobile announced partnership with Apple and
brought the iPhone (3G) to
Japan later in 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.
SoftBank Corp.'s mobile network operates
UMTS 3G ) network
SoftBank 3G"). SoftBank's 3G network is compatible with
supports transparent global roaming for existing
UMTS subscribers from
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.
Vodafone store in
cell tower in
* 1984-10: JAPAN TELECOM was founded.
* 1986-08: JAPAN TELECOM launches leased circuit services.
* 1986-12: RAILWAY TELECOMMUNICATION established.
* 1989-05: RAILWAY TELECOMMUNICATION merges with JAPAN TELECOM.
Tokyo Digital Phone established.
* 1994-04: J-Phone starts PDC cellular service in the 1.5
* 1997-11: J-Phone launches SkyWalker SMS service designed by
Ericsson for PDC
* 1998-11: J-Phone launches SkyMelody ringtone download service
* 1999-12: J-Phone launches J-Sky wireless
Internet service ten
months after NTT DoCoMo's i-mode, which was launched in February 1999.
* 2000-11: J-Phone launches
Sha-Mail (写メール) picture
messaging service using the world's first camera phones developed by
* 2001-06: J-Phone launches Java service with
* 2002-12: J-Phone launches
W-CDMA 3G service for the first time
* 2002-08: Company name was changed to JAPAN TELECOM HOLDINGS.The
fixed-line telecommunications business was also separated to found a
new JAPAN TELECOM.
* 2003-10: J-Phone company name is changed to
Vodafone K.K., and
J-Sky name is changed to
Vodafone launches a
Japan-nationwide Beckham campaign
* 2003-12: Company name was changed to
Vodafone Holdings K.K.
Vodafone K.K. merges with
Vodafone Holdings K.K. and
company name is changed to
Vodafone relaunches the 3G services in
Japan a second
time offering mobile phone handsets designed primarily for the
* 2005 SUMMER:
Vodafone changes management and relaunches 3G
Japan a third time
Vodafone officially announced it had agreed to sell
Vodafone KK) to
SoftBank for a total of 1.75 trillion
Japanese yen (approx US$15.1 billion) in one of the largest M">
SoftBank 821SH PG
SoftBank 001P by Lumix
SoftBank A202F by ARROWS
SoftBank 930CA by EXLIM
Vodafone 803T by
J-PHONE J-SH07 by Sharp (2001)
An evolution of J-PHONE and
Vodafone cell phones, 1997-2004
SoftBank USIM card
Taito , Tokyo, with a large
Vodafone sign in the background
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. "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", and daughter "Aya". 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.
Softbank, along with some other companies in Japan, offer 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.
* Companies portal
List of mobile network operators of the Asia Pacific region
List of telephone operating companies
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