Remember earlier this week when the venture arm of Japan’s DeNA made its premiere investment in Indonesia in the form of a US$1 million seed round for live-streaming entertainment site Zeemi.tv? 500 Startups participated in the investment also, and Zeemi founder Tom Damek now has the bragging right of grabbing one of the largest seed rounds on public record in the archipelago. Tech in Asia caught up with the principal of DeNA’s venture arm James Riney this morning in Jakarta.
In acquiring Luxa, an ecommerce site specializing in high-end sales, KDDI has finally got its mark. The telco first invested in the startup back in 2013 for US$3.3 million. KDDI later joined forces with Luxa for its “Syn Alliance,” a collection of popular internet properties designed to form a more perfect mobile portal site last October. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Verizon has expanded its cloud offering in Hong Kong, Melbourne and Singapore. The new services are designed to meet the demand for secure, enterprise-grade cloud capabilities as opportunities for multinational companies in the region grow. The enhancements offer customers improvements in memory, storage and network uptime, as well as enhanced flexibility and control. Verizon Cloud customers can now request a specific amount of computing, memory and storage capacity, in addition to the existing preset virtual machine configurations.
With decidedly less fanfare than a new iPhone launch, Apple opened the doors of its Apple Watch Store in Tokyo this morning. While it didn’t appear that anyone camped out for weeks (or even overnight), several hundred Apple devotees, members of the international press, and curious fashionistas queued up for a chance to try on – and perhaps pre-order – Apple’s first entirely new gadget since it launched the iPad five years ago.
One of the biggest mysteries in Japan’s startup world – what will Akira Morikawa, the former Line CEO do next? – is finally solved. Morikawa unveiled his new project, a video media startup called C Channel. He also secured JPY 500 million (US$4.1 million) in funding from a banner list of investors. GMO VenturePartners, i-Style, Asobi System Holdings, Gree, Nexyz, B Dash Ventures, MAK Corporation, and Rakuten all joined the round.
Tokyo-based ecommerce startup Origami today announced a JPY 1.6 billion (US$13.3 million) series B funding round led by SoftBank Group, Credit Saison, and angel investor Makoto Takano. In addition to the new investment, Origami has also partnered with SoftBank Group and Credit Saison to boost its online-to-offline (O2O) focused mobile shopping experience.
Nintendo’s Creator Program has forced another YouTube away from sharing content involving the Wii U. Joe Vargas, or “Angry Joe” to the two million people subscribed to his channel, has announced he will not cover Nintendo games following a copyright claim sent from the company on his Mario Party 10 Let’s Play. Vargas isn’t alone when it comes to copyright claims from Nintendo. In fact, almost every content creator not part of Nintendo’s revenue share program was flagged, even YouTubers with under 10,000 subscribers.
TOKYO: Sony has said it would spend an extra 45 billion yen ($376 million) in the fiscal year that started this month to further boost output of imaging sensors, increasing its focus on a business that has become one of its strongest as its TV and mobile operations struggle. Sony said it plans to expand production capacity for image sensors to 87,000 wafers per month by the end of September 2016 to meet growing demand from smartphone makers, compared with current levels of around 60,000 wafers per month.
The Indonesian ecommerce joint venture between postal service SingPost and mobile device retailer Trikomsel will go live some time in May, according to Trikomsel president and CEO Sugiono Wiyono. Previously a somewhat mysterious project, we now know the ecommerce firm will start with selling smartphones, clothing, and sports gear. Following a move by Lippo Group’s MatahariMall to offer online-to-offline service in which customers can order online, then pay and pick up goods at a physical store, Trikomsel will leverage its own nationwide network of nearly 1,000 brick-and-mortar shops in the same way.
Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston was in Tokyo this morning to announce the firm’s partnership with SoftBank Commerce and Service (SoftBank C&S). Speaking at the New Economy Summit, Houston also announced that Dropbox has surpassed 10 million Japanese users since opening a Tokyo office last October. Houston explained that the partnership with SoftBank C&S – Japan’s largest information and communications technology distributor – aims to bring Dropbox for Business to one million Japanese users over the next five years.
Inventec is considering setting up factories in Japan and Singapore in 2015, according to company chairman Richard Lee. Japan-based clients, due to depreciation of the Japanese yen against the US dollar, have recently asked Inventec to set up assembly lines locally, Lee indicated. In view of business opportunities arising from the 2020 Olympic Games to take place in Tokyo, it is necessary to set up a factory for assembling products in Japan, Lee said.
NEC has won an $11 million contract to replace the ageing Telstra telephony systems running Victoria’s triple-zero call-taking service. The state’s Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett announced the seven-year contract late last week. The signing represents an extra $2.5 million injection into the initiative, on top of the $8.5 million committed in the 2014 state budget.
Despite its blockbuster partnership with Nintendo, Japanese mobile gaming giant DeNA is charging forward with its expansion into the lifestyle sector. At a press conference in Tokyo today, the firm announced a new initiative dubbed DeNA Palette. It seeks to add ten category-specific content curation platforms to its stable of apps and services through M&A, new hiring, and collaboration. Three of those platforms were made public today, with another three already existing under the DeNA umbrella.
Unless this is your first day on the internet, you’re probably aware that Japan is home to some of the most bizarre vending machines on the planet. Canned bread, “used” panties, and pretty much anything in between are just a few coins away. While there’s no lack of WTF in the world of Japanese vending machines, some of the quirky stuff is far from practical. NTT Communications, a division of Japanese telecommunications conglomerate NTT, may have introduced one of the most practical vending machines since the original cold drink dispenser: one that spits out prepaid SIM cards.
Line, the chat app and gaming platform which is becoming a lifestyle portal, is restarting preparations for an IPO. The Nikkei is reporting that the company reapplied to the Tokyo Stock Exchange to begin the procedure. A 2015 IPO is possible, but not guaranteed. The move is new CEO Takeshi Idezawa’s first order of business. Yesterday, he officially took over the top spot. No, it was not an April Fool’s joke, but a transition months in the making.
WASHINGTON: Sony Computer Entertainment is buying various assets of OnLive, including 140 US and international patents for cloud gaming services. Onlive will be shutting its operations on April 30. The company is not renewing any subscriptions, and users whose subscriptions renewed on or after March 28 will be refunded. OnLive says that the OnLive Game Service, OnLive Desktop and SL Go (Second Life) will all be available until April 30.
Sony Mobile Communications aims to ship 38 million smartphones in fiscal 2015 (April 2015-March 2016), down slightly from 39.2 million units shipped in the previous fiscal year, according to sources at Taiwan’s handset supply chain. The lower shipment target comes as the Japan-based vendor is still overhauling its handset business and has also shifted its focus to the mid-range to high-end segment, said the sources.
Two Japanese companies have combined three key fibre optics technologies to develop a solution that provides 40 gigabit per second fibre to the premises connectivity, in order to meet ever-increasing customer traffic capacity demands. The current generation of passive optical networks provide 2.488Gbps downloads and 1.244Gbps upload speeds – 10/2.5Gbps 10-GPON deployments are rare.