Today popular messaging app Line revealed its revenues for the three-month span of July to September. If there were any doubts that the firm is poised to replace longtime heavyweights DeNA and Gree as Japan’s next big tech hope, the latest news should put them to rest. In those three months, the company raked in JPY 23 billion (US$211 million), a 16.6 percent rise from the previous quarter and a whopping 82.9 percent increase from the same period last year.
TOKYO: Food giant Nestle said on Wednesday (Oct 29) that its Japan unit would hire 1,000 robots as sales clerks at stores across the country. The first batch of the robots – a chatty humanoid called Pepper – will report to work by the end of this year at outlets that sell coffee capsules and home espresso machines. “From December, they will start selling coffee machines for us at big retail stores,” said Nestle Japan spokeswoman Miki Kano. “We are sure that our customers will enjoy shopping and being entertained by robots.”
The aim of this partnership is to support restructuring in Vietnam’s agricultural sector so as to make the country a world-class agricultural producer based on innovative technologies. Fujitsu provides this service in Japan and other countries to help farmers raise crop quality and productivity, and at the same time to cut costs. Under the agreement, Fujitsu and FPT will carry out this one-year trial project, from 2015 to 2016. Fujitsu will provide cloud services, equipment, and expertise, and as Vietnam’s leading ICT company, FPT will facilitate the spread of Information technology in the country’s agricultural sector.
TAIPEI — Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. (華碩) launched its ZenFone line in Japan Tuesday, making the world’s third largest economy its 14th market for the low-cost smartphones. The product launch in Tokyo, hosted by Asustek Chairman Jonney Shih, also showcased the company’s first wearable device — the ZenWatch. The Taiwanese PC maker said it will begin selling the 4G version of its 5-inch ZenFone 5 in Japan on Nov. 8, with the smartphone compatible ZenWatch expected to go on sale there in late November.
BANGALORE, INDIA: As organizations continue to grapple with the problem of how to leverage Big Data as they cross the Petabyte divide, Fujitsu today introduces ETERNUS CD10000 which helps organizations eliminate the major headaches associated with the exponential growth of data. The new ETERNUS CD10000 system heralds a new era of extremely high capacity solutions for everyday data retention and management problems.
Japanese telecom giant SoftBank today invested US$627 million in Indian ecommerce site Snapdeal, and US$210 million in taxi app Ola, formerly Olacabs. The investments into Snapdeal and Ola are part of a whopping US$10 billion earmarked by SoftBank to pump into India’s booming ecommerce, telecom, and aviation industries. Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of SoftBank, shared this investment plan when he met Indian prime minister Narendra Modi as well as IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi on Monday.
Hitachi Data Systems and Equinix have signed a partnership in which the Japanese IT infrastructure vendor will offer large enterprise customers a managed compute service from within Equinix’s global network of co-lo data centres. HDS – predominantly an enterprise storage vendor – has for the last four years built an x86 server business and a managed services operation in Australia to prepare for today’s announcement.
Sony Mobile Communications will amend its policy for the launch of flagship models by releasing only one new model a year, instead of two models currently, according to sources at Taiwan’s handset supply chain. A slowdown in hardware competition for smartphones and the maturing high-end smartphone segment have prompted Sony Mobile to modify its roadmap for flagship models, said the sources.
Earlier this year, Tokyo-based IT services provider NTT Data was selected to aid in the construction, storage, and safekeeping of a digital archive for the Vatican Apostolic Library. NTT Data, a subsidiary of Japanese telecommunications giant NTT, on Monday announced that it had successfully launched a new application for viewing more than 400 digitized manuscripts on the library’s free website.
Here’s more proof that Rakuten is serious about becoming a global ecommerce player alongside the likes of Amazon and Alibaba: the Japanese company today launched Rakuten.co.uk. According to TechCrunch, the new UK marketplace will sell goods from Rakuten and third-party retailers, in addition to offerings from its Kobo ebook store and Wuaki video streaming service.
Move over, card games. Roleplaying games – RPGs – are now the most popular mobile game genre for Android users in Japan. App monetization platform Metaps discussed why in a blog post where it analyzed the top grossing categories in Japan’s Google Play store for September 2014. The card game, once a dominant genre, is now ranked fourth, behind the roleplaying, casual, and simulation categories. While its average revenue per user (ARPU) is still above average, there are also fewer new releases in that category, showing that the card battle game is finally running out of steam.
In what appears to be the largest round for an Indonesian startup on public record, online marketplace startup Tokopedia announced its approximate US$100 million financing round, led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Internet and Media Inc (SIMI). Sequoia Capital joined in as a follow on investor. With this round of funding, SoftBank and Sequoia Capital representatives will join the company’s board of directors. The funding also comes as Sequoia Capital’s first investment in Indonesia.
TOKYO: A Tokyo court has ordered Facebook to disclose the IP addresses used by fake accounts that were posting revenge porn, a lawyer said Tuesday, in the first such case in Japan. In response to the order the US-based social networking site revealed IP addresses — a string of numbers identifying the computer being used — connected to two accounts that were uploading personal information and private pictures, lawyer Yohei Shimizu said.
Gree is working hard at remaking its fortunes in the smartphone age. The industry giant today announced a new mobile game publishing partnership with KDDI Corporation in Japan, under which it will develop, publish, and localize games from outside of the country. KDDI – a mobile phone carrier – is best known for its mobile subscription service, au Smartpass, which allows users access to a variety of apps and games for a modest monthly fee of JPY 372, or US$3.50.
If you go to Bijin Tokei (“the beautiful woman clock”), you will see a carefully selected young Japanese woman holding up a sign that tells the current time. Every minute, the page will refresh – sometimes with a new girl, sometimes with the previous one in a new position. This repeats without stop every minute of everyday, drawing on a roster of 70,000 beautiful Japanese women.
NEW YORK: Toshiba Corp has entered into a pact with United Technologies Corp (UTC) to strengthen strategic collaboration through their joint venture, Toshiba Carrier Corp (TCC). “The agreement outlines the next stage of cooperation between Toshiba and UTC in the field of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning solutions through TCC,” Toshiba said in a statement today.
Sony has submitted an application to the Chinese government stating that the company plans to launch the Chinese official version of PS4 at the end of 2014 with expected annual shipments of 200,000 units. However, the detailed launch time, place, or shipment mode was not disclosed. Microsoft has already launched Xbox One in China. As its major competitor in the gaming console sector, Sony does not want to fall behind and the company plans to tap the Chinese market with its latest PS4 in December 2014.
NEW DELHI: Instant messaging and voice call app LINE Friday said that it has achieved 30 million registered user base in India. The company has also introduced localized stickers such as ‘Diwali’ stickers to spice up the Indian users’ chat experience. “Optimal user experience is in the heart of every feature that we bring for our users in India, as we make sure that our new features and services take our users beyond the usual messaging communication experience,” Damandeep Singh Soni, India operations head at LINE, said.
Acer reportedly is cooperating with Panasonic to develop a battery management system for its Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) platform for Internet of Things (IoT) business opportunities, according to sources from the upstream supply chain. Acer declined to comment. Acer is looking to integrate its BYOC platform into Panasonic’s battery management system and offer the solution to electric vehicle vendors. Panasonic provides batteries to EV vendors including Tesla.