Abstract:This case study investigates Softbank, a Japanese conglomerate whose Softbank Vision Funds (SVF1 and SVF2) are among the world’s largest technology investment funds. Softbank and its founder and CEO Masayoshi Son have committed to disrupting the high-tech venture capital (VC) industry. They have shaped emerging platform economies the world over, especially “unicorn” companies such as Uber, Flipkart (India), Didi and ByteDance (China), Grab and Gojek (Southeast Asia). How does Softbank represent a peculiar model of platform capitalism? Why, despite its numerous ups and downs, has Softbank managed to grow into such a powerful force of “Softbank imperialism”? What are the patterns of expansion and contraction, business alliances and intercapitalist competition, and implications for the study of platform economies across Asia? This seminar will tackle these questions.