Softbank offers staff one mn yen to learn good English

Jan 11, 2013
Softbank president Masayoshi Son presents the company's first half results in Tokyo in October.

Japanese mobile carrier Softbank, which made headlines over a $20 billion takeover of US-based Sprint Nextel, is offering employees an incentive to master English—one million yen.

The firm said Friday it is giving the cash reward, worth about $11,200, to workers who get top marks in an English-proficiency test for non-, known as TOEIC, or Test of English for International Communications.

A mark above 900—on a scale from 10 to 990—will make the grade, Softbank said, adding the offer applied to about 17,000 employees.

Those who score 800 or higher will get 300,000 yen, it said.

The company said it has been training employees to give presentations in English, but figured cold hard cash would be an extra incentive.

"We decided to boost (employees') motivation with money," said a spokeswoman.

The move comes as a strong yen and shrinking domestic market have sent Japanese firms on a buying spree abroad.

But the level of English spoken at Japanese companies tends to be far lower than in other regional business hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Japan's online shopping giant Rakuten, as well as Fast Retailing, operator of Uniqlo cheap-chic clothing chain, are swapping Japanese for English as the working language in their offices as they expand overseas.

Little known outside Japan, is perhaps the country's most colourful and dynamic among the major and was the first to carry Apple's popular .

Its well-known television commercials star a talking snow-white dog and have featured American actor Tommy Lee Jones.

Explore further: HP sales inch up while profit drops

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan's Softbank unloads Yahoo! shares

Aug 26, 2011

Japanese telecom giant Softbank on Friday said it was selling the bulk of its holdings in US Internet firm Yahoo! to Citibank in repayment of a 2004 loan.

Japan's KDDI to sell new iPhone in Japan

Oct 05, 2011

Apple confirmed Wednesday that Japan's second largest mobile carrier KDDI would sell its latest iPhone in the country, ending rival Softbank's exclusive hold on the popular smartphone.

Softbank reports robust earnings on smartphones

May 09, 2011

(AP) -- Softbank Corp., the only Japanese mobile carrier offering the hit iPhone, said annual profit nearly doubled despite suffering damage from the March 11 quake and tsunami that battered northeastern ...

Recommended for you

HP revenue inches up after years of decline

15 hours ago

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday reported that its quarterly revenue rose for the first time in three years, nudged by improved computer sales everywhere except Russia and China.

Restaurants experimenting with pay-in-advance tickets

18 hours ago

With restaurant patrons increasingly jumping on the Internet to make reservations, some high-end eateries here and across the country are adding a new tech wrinkle: having their clientele pay for their meal in advance using ...

Chip maker Infineon to buy California firm for $3B (Update)

20 hours ago

German chip maker Infineon Technologies AG says it has agreed to pay $3 billion in cash for California-based semiconductor firm International Rectifier, which produces power-management components used in everything from cars ...

User comments : 0