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"There were many investment failures, such as WeWork, Greensill and Katerra," Masayoshi Son told Nikkei in May. "But what I regret more is the missed opportunities to invest."   © Nikkei montage/Source photo by Getty Images
The Big Story

How SoftBank taught the market to love lossmaking startups

A slew of IPOs may vindicate Masayoshi Son's growth-at-all-costs view

WATARU SUZUKI, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- A few years after Bom Suk Kim dropped out of Harvard Business School to launch what would eventually become Coupang, South Korea's largest e-commerce company, he was at a crossroads. He already had a fast-growing e-commerce site on his hands, and was considering taking it public.

Kim had big ambitions: to pivot the company to an Amazon-like model, which he could push even further by building an exclusive delivery network. The problem was that Coupang would need lots of money -- likely to the tune of billions of dollars. If the company were to list, investors in public markets might balk at the investment-heavy model.

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