In light of the news that Softbank is buying 70% of Sprint for $20.1 billion dollars, Bloomberg Television correspondent Jon Erlichman spoke with DCM co-founder David Chao about Softbank President Masayoshi Son’s leadership.
Many have described Son as a gambler, notably for betting well on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Yahoo Japan Corp.
Chao says the description fits.
“He’s a very adaptive, ambitious person [who] reads the macro trends very well,” Chao says.
“He is a gambler and there’s no question he’s looking for world domination.”
Softbank was the first Japanese carrier to carry the iPhone in Japan, and that’s all thanks to Son because he signed them up exclusively.
Chao notes how the Japanese market is very complex and is often described as having galapagos syndrome because its handset makers have very little presence outside of the country, and US, Chinese and European manufactuers have little presence in Japan.
Son took a bet on the iPhone because he understood that if he could build out the ecosystem and take advantage of the millions of apps available, people in Japan would eventually make the switch from feature phones to smartphones, Chao says.
Despite Son’s success in Japan, Chao says that he can’t just ignore the US market if he wants to truly be a global player. He notes that when Softbank bought Vodafone Japan, the stocks plummeted but Son was able to turn the company around. Chao thinks Son will have the same success with his Sprint purchase.
Chao expects that Son will roll out products that have been successful in Japan in the US, and predicts that we’ll see a lot of a new innovations arise.
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