Asia Business Channel

Softbank changes business direction and will focus on offices and ride sharing

Japan’s Softbank Corporation plans to change its business direction from its core domestic cell-phone services to new businesses such as ride sharing and office sharing and has released plans to shuffle more than half of its workforce in order to meet its new business direction.

Starting in November, the company plans to transfer 9,000 telecom employees over the next several years to joint businesses that Softbank Group Corp. has launched with Yahoo Japan and other startups based in China and the United States.

Softbank has created a slogan “Half & Twice,” that defines this new direction – that the company will cut its workforce by half while expecting that the employees that are left to double the productivity of existing businesses.

The company says that it has already moved more than 500 personnel from call centers, engineering and sales to new business sections through its internal job posting system and that an additional 200 employees are expected to be transferred by the end of the year.

Many of the transferred personnel will head to one of three joint-businesses that Softbank is involved in:

o WeWork Japan, a company that Softbank group has established with U.S.-based co-working office space provider WeWork

o PayPay, a mobile payment service Softbank launched with Yahoo Japan

o DiDi Mobility Japan, a joint ride-hailing business with China’s Didi Chuxing

Softbank has also set-up a “Community Corporate Social Responsibility” department with branches in Nagoya, Osaka and Sapporo for staff 50-years and older who have a desire to return to their hometowns.

Their task will focus on coordinating various services that Softbank Group offers to local municipal offices, including disaster recovery assistance, use of the Pepper humanoid robot, and verification tests for an autonomous driving system in collaboration with Toyota Motor Corp.

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