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ImageMasayoshi Son

With a net worth of $3.7 billion, Masayoshi Son ranks at no. 151. Son is often credited for single-handedly dragging Japan into the Information Age. Called the Bill Gates of Japan, he founded Internet and telecom company SoftBank at the young age of 23. Son bet heavily on mobile phones by snapping up Japan's Vodafone unit.

Company gained 2 million new subscribers in 2008 (more than rivals) but posted drop in net profits, in part because it lowered charges to lure new customers.

Runs country's top Internet site, Yahoo Japan; and partners with News Corp on Japanese version of MySpace.