With our listing on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange as SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) in December 2018, we committed ourselves to the “Beyond Carrier” growth strategy. Since then we have pushed ahead toward further growth.
In the constantly changing competitive environment of 2019, we steadily expanded the customer base of our telecom business by clearly positioning our three mobile brands: ‘SoftBank,’ ‘Y!mobile’ and ‘LINE MOBILE.’ While some say the smartphone market has matured, I believe there is still much room to grow as we approach the “era of 100 million smartphone users” in Japan. Just as PayPay saw widespread adoption in a year, smartphone usage continues to expand. Smartphones will act as a hub for all services, and they hold the key to future “Super Apps” that will bring various Internet-based services all into one place. This trend of increasing smartphone usage offers us huge opportunities, and to capitalize on them, our entire group of companies is pursuing the Beyond Carrier strategy, as shown with our making Yahoo Japan (now Z Holdings) a subsidiary and the agreement between Z Holdings and LINE to integrate their businesses. We are also moving into new business areas. For example, MONET Technologies is building a platform for the MaaS era, and HAPSMobile is working to bring about a fully-connected society by constructing a stratosphere-based, next-generation telecommunications system. Furthermore, as part of our structural reorganization to shift employees into growth areas, we launched a company-wide project to create a force of 4,000 “digital workers” in 2019. This structural initiative is key to accelerating our growth strategy, and we will continue to implement it in 2020.
2020 will be the year in which we see the full-fledged adoption of 5G around the world, and we will launch our own 5G commercial service around the end of March. 5G will rapidly drive the digitalization of various industry sectors, and industry itself will undergo major change. 5G will move us from the status quo of human-to-human interactions to the world of IoT where human-to-device and device-to-device communications are also the norm. Utilizing the big data that comes from these interactions will be key to the future development of enterprise. AI-based analysis of this big data will also create new value and redefine all industries. By leveraging our 5G, IoT and AI technologies, we will aim to solve society's problems while creating new business models for various industries. With the relocation of our headquarters to the Takeshiba District in Tokyo this fall, we will not only operate from a smart building that utilizes AI and IoT; we will also help build a leading-edge smart city that uses 5G, mobility, drones, robotics and other advanced technologies in the surrounding area. This model smart city will be at the forefront of addressing social issues.
In a world where digitalization is advancing, telecommunications networks serve as a critical part of societal infrastructure. In the 5G era where all things will be connected, the role of this infrastructure will only become more important. Building on our foundation of telecommunication networks, we will work to realize our corporate philosophy, “Information Revolution — Happiness for everyone,” by taking on new businesses that transform daily life and industry.
Your continued support and understanding of SoftBank Corp. is greatly appreciated.
President & CEO