Brother of Japan's richest man moves to Singapore: 7 things about tech tycoon Taizo Son

Brother of Japan's richest man moves to Singapore: 7 things about tech tycoon Taizo Son
Mr Taizo Son with DBS Bank Group Head of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management Ms Tan Su Shan at DBS workshop on digital transformation.

Singapore will soon be home to yet another tech billionaire, joining the swelling ranks of high net worth individuals in the country.

The newcomer is Japanese entrepreneur Taizo Son, who made his fortune following the success of the smartphone game Puzzle & Dragons.

Bloomberg reported that he is relocating to Singapore from Tokyo because he has become frustrated by Japan's regulatory environment which stifles innovation, as well as the country's education system.

Here are seven things to know about the self-described "serial entrepreneur".

1. He is the brother of Japan's richest man

Talk about having big shoes to fill. Mr Taizo Son is the younger brother of Masayoshi Son, the founder and chief executive of Japanese mobile telecom and investment firm SoftBank.

Mr Masayoshi Son is Japan's richest man, according to Forbes' 2017 Billionaires list, and is estimated to have a net worth of US$20 billion (S$28 billion).

He made worldwide headlines last December when he met US President Donald Trump and agreed to invest US$50 billion in the US.

US President Donald Trump and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son.Photo: AFP

Mr Taizo Son is 15 years younger than Mr Masayoshi Son, and they also have two other brothers.

2. He is a successful entrepreneur and investor

In 2002, Mr Son founded mobile gaming company GungHo. The company got its big break in 2013 when it released the wildly popular smartphone game Puzzle & Dragons, which became the first mobile game to cross US$1 billion in revenue.

A person playing the Puzzle & Dragons game on a tablet.Photo: The Straits Times

The game's success briefly made him a billionaire and in 2016 he had a net worth of more than US$720 million, according to Bloomberg.

While he is no longer head of GungHo, Mr Son is now chief executive of Mistletoe, an early-stage venture firm and start-up incubator which he founded in 2013.

Among start-ups that Mistletoe has backed are Zipline, whose drones are used to deliver blood and medicine to hospitals in rural Rwanda; as well as Singapore-based electronic games operator Garena, Southeast Asia's most valuable start-up.

3. He is moving to Singapore partly because of his son

Mr Son's relocation to Singapore can be partially attributed to his three-year-old son, having lost confidence in the outdated education system in the Land of the Rising Sun.

At an event, Mr Son said that the Japanese system is "extremely terrible" at creating entrepreneurs.

He also contrasted the slow pace of change and lack of innovative ideas in Japan with the environment in Singapore, where he said that even the Government and regulators are "innovation-minded".

4. He will be busy in Singapore

If you thought Mr Son would be content to live the high life in Singapore, then you'd be wrong.

The 44-year-old entrepreneur already has big plans and expects to invest US$100 million to support Southeast Asia start-ups within five years.

He intends to visit local universities and start-up incubators to find projects to support.

According to The Straits Times, Mr Son also wants to set up a centre for budding entrepreneurs to learn about entrepreneurship and technology. "I think by 2030, Asia will overtake Silicon Valley in terms of innovation," he said.

5. He will live at Sentosa

According to reports, Mr Son will stay on Sentosa Island, which has become synonymous with luxury living. He is seeking permanent residency status in Singapore and hopes to have his application approved in the next three months.

6. He is active on social media

Mr Son appears to be an avid social media user, with profiles on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

He has over 27,000 followers on Facebook, where he regularly publishes his thoughts on technology, innovation and education, as well as posts photos and shares videos of his favourite music.

on Facebook

これまでずっと教育について何の先入観も持たずに考察を重ねてきたのだけれど、やっぱり既存の教育システムの最大の問題は「教育機関が生徒に課すテスト」だという結論に行き着いた。 「もし教育改革でひとつだけ変えるとしたら何を変えますか?」と聞かれ...

Posted by Taizo Son on Tuesday, 7 February 2017

on Facebook

Posted by Taizo Son on Sunday, 19 February 2017

He also appears to have a fondness for sharing snaps of delicious-looking food with his over 2,300 followers on Instagram.

7. He is not the first tech entrepreneur to move to Singapore

Mr Son joins a number high net worth individuals who now call Singapore home, attracted by the country's low crime rates, low tax rates and business-friendly environment.

Perhaps the most prominent entrepreneur is Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who relocated here in 2009. Mr Saverin has since invested in a number of Singapore start-ups, including property portal and e-grocer Redmart.

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.Photo: The Straits Times

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