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SoftBank's winner-take-all strategy challenged by rival unicorns

Competition intensifies despite billions invested in flagship companies

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son's strategy is to invest billions in tech-led startups with potential to disrupt traditional industries. (Nikkei Montage)

TOKYO -- The strategy deployed by SoftBank Group's Vision Fund -- in which it invests billions in disruptive technology companies, who can then outgun the competition -- is facing a harsh reality: Instead of being forced to retreat, key competitors are stepping up the pressure on the fund's flagship investments across Southeast Asia, China and the U.S.

"In our industry, winner takes all," SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said last March at the Milken Institute symposium in Tokyo. "By probability, the No. 2 company's [chance of] succeeding is very low."

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