Magazine article Business Asia

Japan

Magazine article Business Asia

Japan

Article excerpt

Masayoshi Son
Chairman, Softbank Corp
Age: 42
Education: University of California

Like many of the great minds of our time, Masayoshi Son has a one-line philosophy which drives all of his business dealings -- "The Internet will grow." And grow it has. Son, Japan-born of Korean parents, shrewdly pumped about US$1.5 billion into 70 small Internet companies back when the Internet was in the domain of the unknown. His bets have paid off, with Softbank's seven largest holdings, including Yahoo and E*Trade, now worth more than US$14 billion.

Nobuyuki Idei
President, co-CEO of Sony Corp
Age: 62
Education: Bachelor of Politics and
Engineering, Waseda University

Idei worked hard to make sure Sony stayed relevant in the fast-moving '90s, shifting its focus from televisions and basic consumer electronics to digital technology -- including sophisticated game consoles and high-definition televisions. The flamboyant marketing ace last year boosted the company's operating income to a record US$3.9 billion on revenue of US$51 billion. The real test will come next year, when Sony releases Playstation II, the follow-up to its hugely successful games machine. Staying ahead in dynamic hi-tech industries will be tough, but Sony -- with Idei at the helm -- is well served to maintain its dominance.

Hiroshi Okuda
Chairman, Japan Federation of Employers' Association
Age: 67
Education: Hitotsubashi University

Okuda may have stepped aside as the president of Toyota in June this year, but don't expect him to fade into obscurity. The 39-year Toyota veteran, who guided the company to its best results in decades (group income more than tripled in 1998), has moved to an equally high-profile post as head of Japan's most powerful employers' group. And analysts say Okuda still has enormous clout within Toyota, guiding Japan's largest car maker to further successes from behind the scenes. …

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