“Smartphones Offer Unlimited Possibilities”: SoftBank Corp. CEO at First Shareholder Meeting Since Listing

“Smartphones Offer Unlimited Possibilities”: SoftBank Corp. CEO at First Shareholder Meeting Since Listing

On June 24, 2019, SoftBank Corp. held its first Annual General Meeting of Shareholders since listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 19, 2018.

In front of approximately 1,500 shareholders at the Makuhari Event Hall, located east of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture, President & CEO Ken Miyauchi presented SoftBank Corp.’s financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. Revenue, operating income, net income and adjusted free cash flow all exceeded forecasts. Miyauchi also outlined the “Beyond Carrier” strategy to grow the core telecom business and expand into new businesses.

Japan will continue to see smartphone growth

Discussing the future of the telecom business, Miyauchi countered prevailing views that the smartphone market has reached maturation. “Actually, I think it’s just getting started,” he said, noting that smartphones are acting as a hub for all kinds of services essential to daily life, including shopping, cashless payments and ride hailing. While Japan currently has a population of about 126 million people, of which there are 82 million smartphone users, Miyauchi expressed his belief that an “era of 100 million smartphone users” will come. Accordingly, smartphones offer unlimited possibilities and open up new avenues of growth for SoftBank Corp., he added.

Miyauchi said he was confident that subscriber growth will continue in the telecom business thanks in part to mobile phone discounts bundled with the ‘SoftBank Hikari’ home Internet service, and more convenient services powered by collaborations with Yahoo Japan, which is expected to become a consolidated subsidiary of SoftBank Corp.

Accelerating industrial digitalization

Accelerating industrial digitalization

Turning his attention to new businesses, Miyauchi explained to shareholders that SoftBank Corp. will leverage 5G, Data (IoT) and AI as three key technologies to promote digitalization across all industries to help resolve numerous issues facing society. He said that SoftBank Corp. will deploy new business models together with its group companies like PayPay, WeWork Japan, DiDi Mobility Japan and MONET Technologies.

Miyauchi said that 5G will bring an explosive increase in data volumes, so being able to harness this data with technological innovations will bring many business opportunities. He stated his aim to make SoftBank Corp. the world’s top company in Big Data by offering more than 100 services for smartphones, steadily building competitiveness and closely collaborating with Yahoo Japan, Japan’s largest data company.

Miyauchi also spoke of how AI technologies will be key to instantly analyzing and using huge volumes of data. By partnering with companies and local governments, SoftBank Corp. will be able to use AI to transform existing business models, he noted.

At the end of the presentation, Miyauchi pledged that SoftBank Corp. will continue to keep a balance between growth and shareholder returns by aiming for 1 trillion yen in operating income within a number of years and maintaining a dividend payout ratio of 85%.

Two proposals approved

At the end of the meeting, Miyauchi announced that the two resolutions, one to elect eleven board directors and the other to elect three audit and supervisory board members, were approved by the majority of shareholders. Before closing the meeting, he also introduced the entire board.

More info: The 33rd Annual General Meeting of Shareholders

(Original article posted on June. 25, 2019)
by SoftBank News Editors