How rich is Hiroshi Yamauchi?
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Yamauchi is credited with transforming Nintendo from a modest hanafuda card making company in Japan into a multi-billion dollar video game company. In 2008, Yamauchi was Japan’s most affluent man with a bundle at that time estimated at $7.8 billion. During the time of his departure, Yamauchi was the biggest stockholder at Nintendo.
He was the first to introduce the plastic Western playing card to the Japanese marketplace. Western playing cards were still a novelty in Japan as well as the people connected them with Western-styled gambling games like poker and bridge. Most gaming actions were technically prohibited by default with just a few officially approved exceptions (horse racing, pachinko and lottery). Thus, the marketplace for anything which was connected with gaming, including Hanafuda, was restricted. Nintendo targeted its playing cards as an instrument for party games that everyone could love, a foreshadowing of the organization ‘s strategy going in the 21st century. Disney’s tie in was made towards that end. Nintendo’s Disney playing card was likewise accompanied by a tiny, thin pamphlet with many tutorials for different card games. The strategy succeeded and the merchandise sold 600,000 units in one year, shortly gracing Nintendo with the mastery of Japanese playing card marketplace. With this particular success, Yamauchi once again altered the company name to Nintendo Company Limited and took the firm public (recorded on stock market) and became the chairman. Then he chose to go to the U.S. to see the United States Playing Card Company, the world’s largest maker of playing cards. Upon arriving in Cincinnati, Yamauchi was disappointed to see a small scale office and factory. This caused the realisation that card making was an incredibly small enterprise.