Fujitsu Upgrading Australian Data Centers Starting With Perth

AustraliaFujitsu is upgrading its seven Australian data centers, starting with one in Perth recently knocked out by a storm in February that will cost around $8 million. The data center upgrades are part of the company’s 2025 roadmap. Fujitsu said it will seek Uptime Institute Tier IV Certification for its Malaga, Perth data center, currently rated Tier III by the Uptime Institute. If successful, it will be the first data center in Australia to achieve the distinction.

Line offers music streaming, from Thailand

ThailandMessaging app company Line Corporation, backed by entertainment firm RS Plc, has announced the launch of Line music streaming service in Thailand to cash in on the burgeoning online music market in the smartphone era. The development is part of Line’s strategy to expand from being a top messaging app into an entertainment and services platform.

With its first Asia launch, Stripe enters Japan’s tight payments race

JapanTo enter Japan’s online payments market is to embrace battle with a hydra. Outstrip one competitor, another one grows just as a quickly. Well-known players include the likes of PayPal Japan, GMO Payment Gateway, and Rakuten Checkout. Nipping on their heels is a host of fast-growing payment-focused businesses led by Spike from Metapsand Line Pay with nascent services like from Base (Japan’s version of Shopify) waiting in the wings. Nevertheless, Stripe, the online payments wunderkind of Silicon Valley, announced its invitation-only private beta today, with an eye to having a full launch by the end of the year.

MPT adds 8 million subscribers since July, from Myanmar

MyanmarKDDI, which on May 12 released its financial report for the fiscal year ending March 2015, stated that launching operations in Myanmar had boosted revenues for its global services segment, with the segment’s operating revenues posted at 320.6 billion yen (US $2.7 billion) – up more than 20 percent over the year prior. The company first officially entered Myanmar last July when it joined Sumitomo Corporation in setting up a subsidiary, KDDI Summit Global Myanmar (KSGM), to assist state-owned MPT in competing with then-forthcoming international telcos Ooredoo and Telenor.

Sharp to post $1.6 billion loss, may cut thousands of jobs: Report

JapanJapanese electronics giant Sharp will announce later a $1.68 billion fiscal year loss and thousands of job cuts as it fights to stay afloat, reports said.  The Osaka-based company’s 200 billion yen loss is more than six times its earlier prediction of a 30 billion yen shortfall, the leading Nikkei business daily said, adding that as many as 6,000 jobs, or about 10% of its global workforce, would be axed.

Nikesh Arora appointed SoftBank President, likely to succeed CEO Son

JapanTOKYO: Japan’s SoftBank unveiled a management reshuffle on Monday, appointing investments head Nikesh Arora as president and naming him as a potential successor to CEO Masayoshi Son, as the telecoms conglomerate steps up its overseas expansion. The move comes as Son and SoftBank are battling to make their 2013 acquisition of US carrier Sprint Corp for more than $20 billion profitable. A sluggish Japanese economy, though, has forced the company to increasingly look overseas for growth.

Six cool games from the first Tokyo Indie Fest

JapanTokyo Indie Fest 2015 landed in the Japanese capital last week, joining 100 indie game studios from across the region with 2,000 attendees for a weekend of button mashing and screen tapping. The event fittingly took place in the heart of Tokyo’s geek graceland, Akihabara, and featured games for just about every platform imaginable: browser, mobile, PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U, and virtual reality. While we didn’t have an opportunity to try everything, here are six standout titles from the first Tokyo Indie Fest.

Philippines to use Japanese technology for free Wi-Fi network

PhilippinesThe Philippines will use technology developed by Japan to provide Wi-Fi access in parts of the country with lower connectivity. Japan’s National Institute of ICT will provide a database (pictured) which will allow the Philippines to use unassigned television channel frequencies, known as TV white spaces, for Wi-Fi. The Philippines is rolling out free Wi-Fi in 997 cities across the country, having tendered for the US$31.6 million project last month.

Shinra’s ‘persistent world’ platform rethinks the cloud-based video game

JapanSquare Enix made its reputation on console games. Its new Shinra subsidiary is working on a platform that aims to change how online gamers interact with digital worlds. Imagine playing a video game that is so realistic that the world within it continued to change regardless of whether you were playing it. Imagine a game that responds to the way you play it, devising intelligent strategies based on your tactics. The strategies of the game—perhaps its very structures and geography—would be different from one visit to the next.

Nintendo sees profit doubling, helped by smartphone game entry

JapanTOKYO/OSAKA: Japanese videogame maker Nintendo Co Ltd forecast its long-awaited entry into smartphone games would help it double annual operating profit in the year through March, offsetting weak sales growth in its traditional consoles.  Nintendo repeatedly resisted investor calls to shift focus to smartphone games to boost profitability, until it unveiled a gaming app partnership in March with DeNA Co Ltd. It said would also branch out to theme parks through a tie-up with Universal Parks & Resorts.

Japan wants citizens to create apps with disaster maps

JapanJapan has called for people to create smartphone apps using the government’s database of disaster-response maps. The apps should be able to display the user’s current location through GPS and directions to the nearest evacuation centre. Other features could be displaying the safest route for evacuation, highlighting dangerous areas, and accounting for loss of data connections and disabled users.

Digital Garage invests in US fintech startup MX, preps it to challenge Asian incumbents

JapanAmerican fintech startup MX today announced US$30 million in series A funding, led by USAA and joined by Digital Garage. Digital Garage, a Tokyo-based incubator and venture capital firm, will also assist MX with expansion into Japan and other Asian markets. MX specializes in digital money management and omnichannel banking through a suite of apps and services for both financial institutions and their clients. The startup already works with more than 500 banks and credit unions in the US to provide streamlined online and mobile banking.

India, Japan look to boost ties in IT sector; eye Internet of Things , Big Data

IndiaNEW DELHI: India and Japan on Thursday said new frontier of Information Technology (IT) such as Internet of Things ( IoT) and Big Data along with high skilled Indian IT engineers and entrepreneurs can boost Indian and Japanese companies’ creative business activities and promote innovation. India’s communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry Yoichi Miyazawa, in a joint statement, emphasised the need of business promotion and human resource interaction of both countries in the IT field and shared the view that the interaction will promote mutual investment.

Hitachi bets big on Internet of Things, sees $2-trillion business opportunity

JapanLAS VEGAS: Hitachi, Japan’s $100-billion conglomerate, senses internet of things (IoT) as its largest opportunity ever as it looks to earn $200 billion from IoT alone by 2020.  At an event in Las Vegas, Hitachi announced its ‘social innovation business strategy’ with the goal of entering into the Internet of Things business by combining the technology capabilities of its subsidiary Hitachi Data Systems and data from millions of sensors that Hitachi has already installed in industrial equipment over the years.

Digitimes Research: Japan online video market to grow significantly starting 2H15

JapanJapan’s online video market is expected to grow significantly starting the second half of 2015 when Netflix begins to offer its services, NTT DoCoMo launches its dTV Terminal program and the local top-five cable TV operators start offering free online video services, according to Digitimes Research. Wireless TV operators Nippon, Asahi, Tokyo, Fuji and TBS have been offering quality TV programs free of charge, making it difficult for cable TV operators to promote online paid video services.

ZTE taps Japan to help sell 60m handsets globally

JapanZTE Corp aims to expand sales in markets in the Asia-Pacific, especially in Japan, to meet its global target of selling 60 million smartphones in 2015, China’s biggest listed telecommunications equipment maker said yesterday. The global sales figure for this year marks a 25 percent rise from last year. In the Asia-Pacific, it plans to sell 10 million units mainly by growing in the Japanese market.

MPT holds lead but telecom rivals are expanding

MyanmarQatar-based Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor were awarded licences to operate in Myanmar in February last year. Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), formerly the country’s monopoly provider, initially struggled to keep up, but then rebounded with support from Japanese firms KDDI and Sumitomo. The two foreign providers initially made rapid inroads by gathering up the low-hanging fruit presented by urban markets. But most of the population is in rural areas, where infrastructure is weak, slowing the pace of mobile penetration, U Thar Htet, managing director of Zwenexsys company, told The Myanmar Times yesterday.

Japan’s GMO announces $18M startup fund

JapanAs we have documented before, GMO Internet is perhaps the biggest Japanese tech company largely unknown outside of its home country. Today, in its first quarter earnings report, the firm revealed a growing interest in expanding its overseas business, in part by establishing a new JPY 2.1 billion (US$18 million) startup fund. The fund, to be operated by GMO Venture Partners, a subsidiary of GMO Internet, is the fourth such fund created by the company.

Strong Q1 results as Line metamorphoses from messenger to lifestyle service

JapanLine Corporation, the company behind Japan’s blockbuster messaging app Line, today announced its earnings report for the first quarter of 2015. Total revenue for January-March was JPY 28.1 billion (US$236 million), a 70 percent increase from the same quarter last year and a 9 percent uptick quarter-on-quarter. The Line app itself accounted for JPY 25.4 billion (US$214 million) of that figure, representing a 76 percent increase over the same quarter in 2014 and a 9 percent bump from last quarter.

ChatWork, a year older than Slack, raises $2.5M for team chat and collaboration tool

JapanChatWork, an enterprise social network, today announced that it has raised JPY 300 million (US$2.5 million) from GMO Venture Partners (GMO VP). It marks the first investment in the startup, which is based in Japan and California. (Update: a press release provided to Tech in Asia inaccurately stated the funding amount in dollars. The investment was actually JPY 300 million, or just over US$2.5 million at the current exchange rate. The text and headline have been updated accordingly.)