Japan's Maverick Billionaire Bets Big Abroad

SoftBank's CEO resists culture of complacency.

Japan is not a growth market.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder and CEO of SoftBank, Japan's telecom and Internet giant, is one of his country's few mavericks. When his company placed a $20 million bet 15 years ago on Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, plenty of peers considered it too risky a venture. Since then, Son's investment has paid out more than $70 billion, strengthening SoftBank and making him Japan's second richest man.

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