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Cool Japanese Person / Inside The Life Of This 35-Year-Old Self-Made Billionaire


Like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Yoshikazu Tanaka became a self-made billionaire after he started a social networking site.
Tanaka heard about Friendster in 2003. He wanted to create a social network like Friendster in Japan, so he coded the first version of what is now GREE out of his Tokyo apartment.

GREE began as a hobby while he was working at an eBay-like commerce company called Rakuten. Tanaka was paying out of pocket to run the service until he had too many users — so he decided to start a company to support its growth.
Now GREE has 200 million players, and Tanaka is worth more than $1.6 billion, according to Forbes. Zuckerberg is the only younger billionaire.

But Tanaka wants a billion users, so he's expanding the company worldwide.
Today, GREE announced its investment in IUGO Mobile Entertainment, a Canadian based gaming studio, that fits into his plans for expanding into North America. GREE also bought U.S. social gaming platform OpenFeint for more than $100 million last year.
We sat down with Tanaka in the company's San Francisco office, which just opened up in February. Here's some of what we learned.
(Via News On Japan article dated Apr 20, 2012)

By TS on May 8, 2012
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