The Japanese multimedia and telecommunications giant SoftBank Corp. announced in May of this year a planned series of changes designed to transform the company from a strong Japanese business with control of global assets into a truly global corporation with the aim of creating sustainable long term growth. The changes will include taking a systematic approach to the ongoing support of the diverse group of entrepreneurs and transformation of operating assets currently in place among other things. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son commented that this bold move, which will likely take several years to fully implement, has come about to combat the fact that many technology companies begin to face decline after the first three decades due to over-reliance on founders and an inability to keep up with changing business models and evolving technologies.
Foundation Steps for Transformation
To build the foundation for the necessary changes the following steps were planned and implemented throughout June and July of 2015:
- On June 19th Nikesh Arora moved from his position of SoftBank’s Vice Chairman to take over the new roles of President & COO and Representative Director. SoftBank will remain under the leadership of Masayoshi Son while the domestic telecommunications business of SoftBank Mobile Corp will continue under President and CEO Ken Miyauchi.
- On July 1st SoftBank Corp. changed its name to SoftBank Group Corp. or SBG, in order to clearly identify its new position as a holding company seeking to drive future developments on a global scale, including all assets managed and owned by the Group.
- On the same date all group assets were consolidated under the SBG brand, including SoftBank Mobile Corp., Alibaba Group Holding Limited, Yahoo Japan Corporation and all other investments of former SoftBank Internet & Media, Inc. (now known as SB Group US, Inc.) both current and past.
About Mukesh Valabhji
Mukesh Valabhji is a Seychellois entrepreneur and investor with a number of past and ongoing business interests across the world. As a member of the board of SoftBank PrinceVille Investments, this work has led to his interest in other technology start-up companies. Mukesh Valabhji also serves on the Advisory Board of Crimson Investment alongside his numerous other activities. In 1985 he founded the Seychelles Marketing Board, serving as Managing Director for some 21 years before stepping down to form his current enterprise, Capital Management Group. In its heyday the SMB brought in some 20% of the GDP of the Seychelles and was the single biggest employer and enterprise in the country.
While Mukesh Valabhji has business interests across the globe he remains prominent in his home country, spearheading or advising on a number of investment and entrepreneurial activities. These include Intelvision, one of the largest providers of internet, broadband, VoiP, telecommunications and cable television in the Seychelles and the Intelvision Building. A group of offshore investors being advised by Mukesh Valabhji are currently funding the soon to be opened Six Senses luxury spa and resort on the private island of Félicité later this year. Outside of his home country Mukesh Valabhji is a prominent investor in commercial real estate and property, with investments including the Building by Daman in Dubai, the Samsung Hub building in the financial district of Singapore and a range of further commercial properties, hotels and retail malls in a variety of countries.
SoftBank PrinceVille Investments Fund
SoftBank PrinceVille Investments, of which Mukesh Valabhji is a Board Member, focuses on providing funding and local market expertise and support to tech companies at the growth stage with its latest £250 million fund. The main aim of the Fund, which closed in February 2013, is to encourage innovative technology companies across sectors such as social media, consumer and enterprise mobile, e-commerce, cloud computing and online advertising, to expand into the rapidly growing Asian market backed by strong partners such as Yahoo Japan and the Alibaba Group.
Spotlighting Recent SoftBank Investments
SoftBank has already begun to make a rapid series of investments across Asia that reflect its growing interest in going global and make it increasingly difficult for the company to be seen simply as a Japanese telecom business. Recent investments include $1 billion into Coupang, an e-commerce leader based in Korea, $210 million and $627 million respectively for India’s Ola and Snapdeal, $600 million for Kuadi Dache in China and $250 million invested in GrabTaxi operating across Southeast Asia among others. With the plans for global transformation well underway, investments such as these solidify the position of SoftBank as a respected global investor with international potential.