The Food and Drug Administration has approved for marketing LIDODERM (Lidocaine patch 5%), a patch dermal delivery system codeveloped by TEIKOKU SEIYAKU CO., LTD. and HIND HEALTHCARE INC. of Fresno, California. LIDODERM is the first product the FDA has sanctioned specifically for the treatment of pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia. PHN results from nerve injury or damage during an outbreak of shingles, a reactivation of the herpes zoster virus that causes chicken pox. Kagawa prefecture-based Teikoku Seiyaku expects LIDODERM to be launched in the third quarter of this year. It will be imported by wholly owned TEIKOKU PHARMA USA, INC. and distributed by ENDO PHARMACEUTICALS INC. of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, another wholly owned subsidiary that Teikoku Seiyaku formed in 1997. As the first drug for hard-to-treat PHN-caused pain, LIDODERM sales could total $100 million, the Japanese maker of anti-inflammatory and analgesic patches estimates.
About 750 people will be ready to promote TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD.'s treatment for Type II diabetes once the FDA approves ACTOS (pioglitazone hydrochloride). The marketing go-ahead now is expected this summer, earlier than initially anticipated (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 3). ACTOS appears to have less effect on patients' livers than Rezulin, the first of a new class of drugs to target insulin resistance that was developed by SANKYO CO., LTD. and is marketed by WARNER-LAMBERT CO. Under a May 1998 pact, TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICALS AMERICA, INC. of New York City, which has a sales force of about 250 people, will market ACTOS along with roughly 500 representatives from ELI LILLY AND CO.
PLETAL (cilostazol), a treatment for relief from the leg pain caused by hardening of the arteries that was commercialized by OTSUKA AMERICA PHARMACEUTICAL, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 3), will be copromoted by the Rockville, Maryland company and PHARMACIA & UPJOHN, INC. The prescription drug was to be available in early May. P&U has exclusive rights to market PLETAL in Canada. It also could handle distribution in other countries.
MEIJI SEIKA KAISHA, LTD. already has licensed cefditoren pivoxil (cefditoren), a potent, broad-spectrum cephalosporin antibiotic, to TAP PHARMACEUTICALS INC., an equally owned joint venture between TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. and ABBOTT LABORATORIES, for U.S. sale. Now, the discoverer and developer of the advanced-generation oral cephalosporin has awarded Abbott comarketing rights in Europe and exclusive manufacturing and marketing rights in Latin America. The Abbott Park, Illinois company, which is strong in anti-infectives, also will be able to market cefditoren pivoxil in Asia outside of Japan and South Korea. The drug, available in Japan since 1994, currently is in Phase III clinical trials in the United States and Europe, where it is being developed as a first-line agent for respiratory tract infections, including pneumonia.
Japanese pharmaceutical companies continue to tap the drug discovery expertise of American companies to expedite the commercialization of new products. One such arrangement is the tie-up between FUJISAWA PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. and NEXSTAR PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. Under it, the Boulder, Colorado firm will use its proprietary SELEX compound-identification process to develop what it calls an aptamer against an immunology target of interest to Fujisawa Pharmaceutical. If the big Japanese drug company decides to develop and commercialize the aptamer, it will provide licensing fees, milestone payments and royalties to NeXstar Pharmaceuticals. The two companies have previous ties. FUJISAWA HEALTHCARE, INC. of Deerfield, Illinois has exclusive U.S. distribution rights to NeXstar Pharmaceuticals' AmBisome (liposomal amphotericin B) antifungal drug.
In an agreement valued at more than $19 million, FUJISAWA PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. also has arranged for QUARK BIOTECH, INC. to use its pathology-specific genomics and bioinformatics technology to discover genes for use as targets for the development of therapeutics for strokes. As is standard, QBI will receive research funding, milestone payments and royalties on sales from Fujisawa Pharmaceutical in exchange for worldwide development, manufacturing and marketing rights to the products discovered by the San Ramon, California company. Quark Biotech recently agreed with SANKYO CO., LTD. to use its gene discovery know-how to identify drug candidates for Type II diabetes (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 2).
A fifth Japanese pharmaceutical house has contracted with TELIK, INC. in an attempt to accelerate the process of identifying new compounds for development. The South San Francisco, California biopharmaceutical company will use its proprietary TRAP chemoinformatics drug discovery technology to screen its small-molecule library for compounds that exhibit potential pharmacological activity against targets selected by SANKYO CO., LTD. Japan's number-two drug company will make up-front payments to Telik and will have the option to acquire an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize any or all of the identified molecules. As many as 10 targets could be evaluated for Sankyo. SANWA KAGAKU KENKYUSHO CO., LTD., SOSEI CO., LTD., TAIHO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. and TEIJIN LTD. also have partnerships with Telik.
Broadening a May 1997 arrangement, ASAHI CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD. and MOLECUMETICS LTD. have signed a multiyear agreement intended to develop new drugs for the treatment of central nervous system, cardiovascular, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. The earlier alliance was limited to cardiovascular disorders. Asahi Chemical and the Seattle chemistry-based drug discovery company will select multiple molecular targets in each of the four therapeutic areas. Molecumetics' libraries of compounds then will be reviewed to identify drug lead compounds. The two will share responsibility for screening and optimizing the lead compounds into drug candidates, with the Japanese company handling their preclinical and clinical development. Asahi Chemical, the first company to sign a partnership agreement with Molecumetics, will provide research funding as well as make milestone payments and pay royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration. TEIJIN LTD. also is working with the U.S. firm.
Although the details still are being worked out, OKAMOTO INDUSTRIES, INC. plans to begin sales this year of a substitute for polyvinyl chloride film. The Tokyo manufacturer's polypropylene-derived Ecolofin family of transparent and flexible films is available in thicknesses of 0.1 millimeter, 0.15 mm, 0.2 mm and 0.3 mm. It is said to be comparable in quality to PVC but lower priced.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
Like fellow Japanese manufacturers of personal computers competing in the American market, SONY CORP. now is giving buyers of its VAIO machines the option of customizing them. Using the Internet, people can select the features they want, including the size of the internal memory, the amount of hard drive storage and software. Where the SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. service differs from the build-to-order programs offered by other companies is that the work is done in Japan rather than in the United States. Nonetheless, the turnaround time is a week or less.
In what otherwise was an off month for product launches, FUJITSU PC CORP. announced the latest member of its LifeBook L Series of slim, lightweight notebook computers. The LifeBook L470 is just 1.1 inches thick and weighs less than 4.5 pounds. Its durable platinum magnesium-alloy casing houses the new 366-MHz mobile Pentium II processor with 256 kilobytes of on-die Level 2 cache, 64 megabytes of RAM (random access memory) standard, a 4.3-gigabyte SMART hard drive, an external floppy drive, a 13.3-inch TFT (thin-film-transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) display with XGA (extended graphics array) resolution and a 56-kilobit-per-second v.90 internal modem. The ultraportable LifeBook L470 starts at $3,000.
For systems integrators looking for performance in portable embedded systems, one of SEIKO EPSON CORP.'s subsidiaries unveiled a pair of single-board PCs the size of credit cards. The SCE8700COx/SH-CARD integrates a 133-MHz SH-3 processor from HITACHI, LTD. with either 16 MB or 32 MB of synchronous dynamic RAM, an Epson video display controller, 2 MB of video memory and a CompactFlash connector on the board. A companion chip provides additional ports and controllers. The SH-CARD is designed for such Windows CE 2.11 applications as handheld computing devices and other portable equipment. For embedded applications running off Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 as well as Windows CE 2.11 that require a higher-performance video graphics controller and more internal memory and storage capacity, the Epson unit is offering the SCE86638xx/CARD-PC 686. It incorporates a 233-MHz AMD-K6 processor from ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC., plus either 32 MB or 64 MB of DRAM and other features.
In a major commitment to storage area networks a relatively new approach to controlling data storage across the enterprise that is server-independent HITACHI, LTD. will invest $100 million over time in the Interoperability Lab that HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORP. just opened at its Santa Clara, California headquarters. This research and development facility was established to speed the delivery of Freedom Data Networks-based SAN solutions to a variety of end-users. HDS describes its FDN architecture as a flexible structure for implementing SANs and other networked data solutions that allows customers to access and manage their data using storage products from any vendor they choose. The I-Lab, as it is called, complements HDS's 10-year-old Enterprise Laboratory. .....In a parallel announcement, the Technical Services Group of HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORP. unveiled a suite of services to assist customers in planning, implementing and managing SAN-based environments. Six packages of support and expertise are available, spanning enterprise infrastructure assessment, configuration management, system design, project management, installation and business continuance.
The team of VICTOR CO. OF JAPAN, LTD. and SONIC SOLUTIONS has developed a DVD (digital video disc) system designed to help broadcasters, video producers, museums, libraries and universities encode, store and manage their video and audio assets for archival and distribution purposes. The system, which JVC plans to introduce this summer as a replacement for the tape storage now commonly used for archiving, combines an asset management system and a DVD library from the Japanese partner with the Novato, California partner's Sonic AutoDVD for video and audio encoding and writing to DVD-Rs. Users can search and play back content instantaneously through a networked search station that can be located anywhere on an intranet or the Internet.
The San Diego, California subsidiary of Nagoya's HAGIWARA SYS-COM CO., LTD. is marketing a USB (universal serial bus) device that it says can transfer data from SmartMedia to PCs up to 130 times faster than serial interface-based peripherals. The $100 FlashGate allows users of digital cameras and other SmartMedia-equipped devices to save time when moving captured images to either desktop or portable computers. FlashGate also has the advantage of being able to support as much as 128 MB of SmartMedia storage.
If selection has anything to do with winning market share, SEIKO EPSON CORP.'s Torrance, California marketing subsidiary should be able to make additional inroads in the U.S. ink-jet printer market (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 4). On the heels of introducing the EPSON Stylus Color 900, the company started shipping a network-ready version of what it claims is the world's fastest networked color ink-jet printer. The four-color printer outputs 10 pages per minute in color and 12 ppm in monochrome with a resolution as high as 1440 x 720 dots per inch. The $650 EPSON Stylus Color 900N also provides out-of-the-box LAN (local area network) connectivity for small workgroup environments.
For printer buyers mainly interested in photo-quality performance, SEIKO EPSON CORP.'s marketing arm introduced the EPSON Stylus Photo 750. This six-color system can print a 4 x 6-inch photo in approximately 1 minute and an 8 x 10-inch picture in just 2 minutes with the same 1440-dpi resolution as the Stylus Color 900, even on plain paper. Compatible with both PCs and Macintosh machines, the EPSON Stylus Photo 750 has an estimated street price of $300.
Nurturing its roots in the American printer market, the Torrance, California distribution unit of SEIKO EPSON CORP. announced the EPSON LQ-2080 letter-quality impact printer. This 24-pin, wide-carriage printer is 25 percent faster than its predecessor, printing up to 400 characters per second. Designed for such jobs as printing invoices, multipart forms, reports, checks, packing slips and labels, the EPSON LQ-2080 goes for about $370. Epson is the world's biggest maker of impact printers.
MITA INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD.'s Fairfield, New Jersey marketing subsidiary is touting the low operating cost less than a penny a page of its just-introduced Mita DP- 2800 Plus network laser printer. Company engineers abandoned the one-cartridge design championed by other manufacturers, which forces users to throw out expensive imaging drums and developer every time the toner is changed. Instead, the Mita DP- 2800 Plus features an amorphous silicon drum that lasts for 350,000 prints; thus, the only consumables cost is a new toner cartridge every 25,000 pages. The machine, which has a suggested retail price of around $3,200, prints 28 ppm with a 600 x 600- dpi resolution.
A network-ready digital copier/printer also is on the market from MITA INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD.'s American unit. The PointSource Ai4040 can be used as a stand-alone digital copier that outputs 40 copies per minute with a resolution of 600 x 600 dpi and that brings scan-once, print-many and electronic sorting capabilities to the desktop. That base unit costs $11,000. The addition of a $3,500 conversion kit turns the Ai4040 into a 40-ppm network printer able to do the same general things as the copier.
A flat panel display company owned by MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. and ASAHI GLASS CO., LTD. is shipping LCD panels to SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. for use in the workstation manufacturer's 17.3-inch displays. ADVANCED DISPLAY INC.'s TFT LCDs support Super XGA resolution (1280 x 1024 pixels). Shipments reportedly are running at several thousand units a month from ADI's Kumamoto prefecture plant.
Buyers of Equium desktop PCs from the Computer Systems Division of TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC. have two new, value-priced CRT (cathode- ray tube) monitor options. The TekBright 510V 15-inch (13.9-inch viewable image) monitor has an estimated price of $180, while the TekBright 710V 17-inch (16-inch viewable image) monitor costs around $300.
The latest portable LCD projector from Brisbane, California-based HITACHI AMERICA, LTD. marks the company's move into the ultraportable projector field. The CP-X935W weighs 9.8 pounds and includes built-in speakers and a laser pointer as well as manual zoom and wireless remote control. The resolution is true XGA (1024 x 768 pixels). The CP-X935W is priced at $9,000.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
In a deal that expanded its already broad line of programmable controls, sensors, vision systems, operator interfaces and other types of industrial automation control equipment, OMRON ELECTRONICS, INC. acquired IDM CONTROLS, INC. The Houston supplier brings to the OMRON CORP. subsidiary's business a full range of motion control products, including servo drives, motors, and large and small AC and DC inverters. The purchase also enables Schaumburg, Illinois-based Omron Electronics to increase its service offerings to span systems integration, custom control systems design and manufacturing, and repair and maintenance services. The 150- person IDM had sales of approximately $30 million in 1998. It will operate independently of its new parent but under the OMRON IDM CONTROLS, INC. name. The cost of the acquisition was not disclosed, but industry sources in Japan placed it at more than $8.3 million.
MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD.'s principal North American subsidiary realigned two of its business units to link each more closely to specific markets and customers. PANASONIC COMMUNICATIONS & SYSTEMS CO. was split into three operations. PANASONIC DOCUMENT IMAGING CO. handles plain-paper copiers, fax machines, printers and other computer peripherals. PANASONIC PERSONAL COMPUTER CO. is responsible for Panasonic-brand notebook computers and accessories. And PANASONIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS CO. is in charge of Panasonic-brand PBX (private branch exchange) business telephone systems, point-of-sale systems and wireless communications products. For its part, PANASONIC BROADCAST & TELEVISION SYSTEMS CO. was divided into a company that retains this name and markets broadcast professional audio/video equipment and Astrovision large-screen video displays and PANASONIC SECURITY & DIGITAL IMAGING CO., which focuses on security systems and medical and industrial video equipment.
The first DVD-format movie player for motor vehicles is available. Manufactured by MATSUSHITA COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., the CX-DV1500 player, which measures 7 inches wide, 2 inches high and 6-5/8 inches deep, fits into the dashboard like a stereo system. A flat 7-inch LCD monitor, the CY-VM1500, is designed for rear passenger viewing. The vehicle's existing speakers can be used for audio playback or the buyer can install a customized digital surround sound system. The mobile DVD theater is available initially through CAR TOYS INC. of Bellevue, Washington, the largest independent mobile electronics retailer with stores in Washington, Oregon and Colorado.
What is said to be the world's smallest and lightest portable DVD player is on the market from PANASONIC CONSUMER ELECTRONICS CO. for a suggested $1,100. The size of a compact disc, the PalmTheater DVD-L50 weighs less than 2.2 pounds with its built-in 5-inch LCD monitor and battery pack. The player, which delivers a surround-sound effect, comes with a credit-card size remote control. Its new lithium-ion battery pack allows up to three hours of playback time.
The much-hyped Sega Dreamcast video game console will be on store shelves in early September at a suggested price of $199. That pricing the first time that a next- generation video game machine will ship for less than $200 at launch is just one reason that SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD.'s U.S. marketing unit says that the hype is justified. The Sega Dreamcast also is the first game console to incorporate a 128-bit architecture and to offer Internet capability, among other breakthroughs on which MICROSOFT CORP. collaborated with Sega. It also is claimed to be 15 times more powerful than the 32-bit Sony PlayStation and 10 times more powerful than the 64-bit Nintendo 64. These two machines have made life very difficult for Sega in the United States, where it has not rolled out a new system in five years. Industry analysts estimate that the Sony PlayStation has 60 percent of the U.S. video game machine market, with the Nintendo 64 controlling more than 30 percent. Sega has less than 5 percent, they calculate. To help change this ranking, Sega has launched a $100 million U.S. marketing campaign for the Sega Dreamcast.
With U.S. sales of large-screen projection television sets increasing strongly, HITACHI, LTD. has announced plans to start marketing this year a 52-inch LCD model. Pricing has not been finalized, but the company expects the Big Slim 52 to cost less than the $4,800 charged for a comparable model in Japan. That reduction will be achieved by assembling the set in Mexico. Hitachi, which sells some 15,000 projection TV sets with 40-inch and larger screens in the United States each year, has set its sights on winning half of the American market for the new LCD projection TV sets.
The price of FUJITSU GENERAL LTD.'s 42-inch flat plasma display monitor has broken through the $10,000 barrier. First introduced in early 1997 at a cost of $14,000, the Plasmavision 42 is less than 6 inches deep, which means that it can be hung on a wall for business presentations, entertainment and public displays. The system can display with a theater-like 16:9 aspect ratio any type of graphical information and entertainment media regardless of source. Fujitsu General claims the title of the world leader in plasma display monitors.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
The increasingly poor economics of the nuclear power plant business have persuaded HITACHI, LTD., TOSHIBA CORP. and GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. to combine their nuclear fuel operations (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 5). The longtime collaborators will form a company this year that will be responsible for the design, development, production and sale of fuel rods for nuclear plants. The new firm will incorporate the trio's existing Japanese joint venture, JAPAN NUCLEAR FUEL CO., LTD., as well as GE's Wilmington, North Carolina nuclear fuel plant. The American partner reportedly will own 60 percent of the integrated operation.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
HITACHI AMERICA CAPITAL, LTD. now is responsible for providing financing and financial support to all HITACHI, LTD. subsidiaries and Hitachi Group companies operating in North America. A wholly owned subsidiary of Brisbane, California- headquartered HITACHI AMERICA, LTD., the new company was set up to improve Hitachi's access to U.S. capital markets. Over time, Hitachi America Capital is expected to put together the infrastructure that will enable Hitachi's numerous American and Canadian industrial and consumer electronics businesses to expand without having to draw on the financial resources of the parent or other Japanese sources.
As part of its strategy of redeploying assets to provide the maximum return on investments, particularly in its core business areas, SUMITOMO CORP. sold its wholly owned PHOENIXCOR, INC. equipment financing subsidiary to GE CAPITAL CORP. The trader acquired the Norwalk, Connecticut lessor of equipment to the middle market in 1992. The 90-employee Phoenixcor, which has some $900 million in lease assets, earned a net profit of $10 million or so in FY 1998. It will be part of GE Capital's Danbury, Connecticut-based Commercial Equipment Financing unit. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but informed sources estimate that GE Capital paid Sumitomo at least $83.3 million for Phoenixcor.
Two more first-tier regional banks are ending U.S. operations. HACHIJUNI BANK, LTD., which is based in Nagano prefecture, and Gifu prefecture-headquartered JUROKU BANK, LTD. are closing their New York branches, the only American presence of both banks, although Hachijuni Bank plans to maintain a representative office in Manhattan to collect economic and financial information.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
Through acquisitions, SUNTORY LTD. has become the second-largest supplier of bottled water in the United States (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 7). Now, its Marietta, Georgia SUNTORY WATER GROUP, INC. subsidiary is trying to build a position from the ground up for its parent's bottled oolong tea. It is starting small. Available in four flavors straight, light, lemon and raspberry the 16-ounce bottles are being sold for now only in select upscale grocery stores on the West Coast. Moreover, at $1.20 a bottle, the product costs about 20 percent more than American bottled or canned tea. Accordingly, Suntory expects to sell just 300,000 cases of 24 bottles each in the first year of marketing.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
The world's largest chain of convenience stores has a new name. Dallas- headquartered SOUTHLAND CORP., the operator or the franchiser of more than 5,600 7-Eleven stores in North America and roughly 18,500 in total, now is 7-ELEVEN, INC. That would not be news except for the fact that since 1991, the company has been majority-owned by SEVEN-ELEVEN JAPAN CO., LTD. and another affiliate of supermarket operator ITO-YOKADO CO., LTD.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
With overcapacity depressing the steel bar business in the United States, the parents of USS/KOBE STEEL CO. have tentatively agreed to combine their steel bar operations with those of BAR TECHNOLOGIES, INC. of Fairlawn, Ohio and Massillon, Ohio-based REPUBLIC ENGINEERED STEELS, INC. These two companies, the biggest players in the American steel bar industry, are controlled by Blackstone Capital Partners II, an affiliate of merchant banker BLACKSTONE GROUP. If the deal goes through, KOBE STEEL, LTD. and USX CORP., equal owners of USS/Kobe Steel, would have a stake of 30 percent or so in the new company. The integrated business would have a steelmaking capacity of roughly 2.6 million tons a year, including about 1 million tons at the Lorain, Ohio plant of USS/Kobe Steel, and annual revenues of some $1.6 billion. USX and Kobe Steel formed the joint venture in July 1989. USS/Kobe Steel then acquired the Lorain Works from the top U.S. carbon steel manufacturer. The partnership's seamless pipe business, also located in Lorain, is not part of the pending deal with Blackstone.
SPF CORP. OF AMERICA of Louisville, Colorado will fill a $2.5 million contract that STONE & WEBSTER ENGINEERING CORP. awarded to its parent, SHOWA ENTETSU CO., LTD., for four pressure vessels. Delivery is scheduled for September. Stone & Webster will use the pressure vessels as steam separators for a project that it is overseeing in Southern California's Imperial Valley to generate electricity from geothermal brines. SPF will employ Showa Entetsu's patented cladding technology to build the four vessels, which include two that have an internal diameter of 144 inches and are 580 inches long and two with an internal diameter of 168 inches and a length of 432 inches. This know-how allows thin sheets of expensive corrosion-resistant metals to be clad to thick, relatively inexpensive base metals used for structural load requirements. The SPF factory, which also makes shell and tube heat exchangers, opened at the end of 1995.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
Two recent acquisitions have made WELTRONIC/TECHNITRON CORP. the world's largest provider of welding controls with annual sales of $50 million and 250 employees. The Carol Stream, Illinois subsidiary of NADEX CO., LTD. bought the welding controls division of ROBOTRON CORP. of Southfield, Michigan for an undisclosed price and the Farmington Hills, Michigan welding division of MEDAR, INC. for an estimated $37 million. Weltronic/Technitron, in which Nagoya-headquartered Nadex initially acquired a minority interest in 1989, is a preferred supplier of resistance welding controls to FORD MOTOR CO.'s North American operations and a major supplier to GENERAL MOTORS CORP., CHRYSLER CORP. and TOYOTA MOTOR CORP.
OSAKA CHAIN AND MACHINERY, LTD. supplied a pair of 4,700-kilowatt plenetary- type gear reducers to FULLER CO. that will be used as the main drives in the finish mill of an integrated cement plant that the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is building in the Middle East. The Osaka manufacturer says that its 90-ton product has the advantages of low cost, high reliability and easy maintenance. Each of the gear reducers costs $800,000-plus. Osaka Chain hopes that the contract, won in competition with European gear suppliers, will give a boost to its international business since Fuller is the world's leading supplier of cement plants.
Aiming to boost its share of the American sheet metalworking machinery market to 50 percent from 40 percent and its annual U.S. sales to $250 million, AMADA CO., LTD.'s Buena Park, California sales subsidiary opened a large facility in Peabody, Massachusetts to develop what for it is the underserved Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets. The Amada East facility houses a product showroom displaying the company's high-speed production laser systems, bending robots, precision press brakes, high-speed turret punch presses, resistance welders, tooling and accessories and programming systems. Amada's sales and service office for the region is located there, as are a product technical center and customer-training areas. Most of the CNC (computer numerically controlled) turret punch presses and punching cells that Amada sells in the United States are made by AMADA MANUFACTURING AMERICA, INC. at plants in La Miranda, California and Covington, Georgia.
IKEGAI CORP. has set the ambitious goal of selling 20 of its new Genesis CNC lathes a month in the United States. The eight models making up the line were developed specifically for the American and European markets. With their high torque and high horsepower, these products are designed for heavy-duty cutting. The Genesis series also has the largest spindle bore in its class. The eight models, which are priced from $58,300 to $95,000, span a wide range of work capacities since chuck sizes of 8 inches to 15 inches are available. Ikegai's Glendale Heights, Illinois subsidiary is in charge of marketing.
With the purchase of textile machinery manufacturer NISSAN TEXSYS CO., LTD. by TOYODA AUTOMATIC LOOM WORKS, LTD., Charlotte, North Carolina-based NISSAN TEXTILE MACHINERY CORP. has been absorbed by the much smaller TOYODA TEXTILE MACHINERY, INC. Also headquartered in Charlotte, TTM is using its enhanced marketing capability to launch U.S. sales of the three-model Toyoda LW600 water-jet loom line. These weaving machines are the water-jet counterparts to the JAT610 air-jet loom that TTM has been selling for the last two years or so. Nissan Textile Machinery was formed in 1977. TTM has been in operation since 1980.
With the U.S. construction equipment business still expanding, FURUKAWA CO., LTD. plans to add small wheel loaders to its current line of cranes and compact bulldozers. Its FURUKAWA UNIC CORP. subsidiary is negotiating with dealers to carry the FL302- 2, FL303-2 and FL304-2 wheel loaders, which range in size from 2.9 tons to 3.9 tons. The company also expects to begin direct sales next year of the FL305-1 wheel loader since the original equipment manufacturer agreement under which DEERE & CO. has sold this 5.2-ton machine expires this summer.
CUMMINS ENGINE CO., INC. of Columbus, Indiana has started sales of a 3.3-liter diesel engine for mobile industrial applications in the United States and Europe. The four-cylinder, naturally aspirated and turbocharged engine, rated at 55 horsepower to 85 hp, is built by KOMATSU CUMMINS ENGINE CORP., an Oyama, Tochigi prefecture joint venture with KOMATSU LTD. under a spring 1998 arrangement (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 6). Over the next three years, KCEC, which has annual sales of about $83.3 million, expects to produce 40,000 3.3-liter engines for sale by both of its parents.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
TOSHIBA TEC CORP. formed in January after TEC CORP., a major maker of point- of-sale systems and electronic cash registers, bought TOSHIBA CORP.'s copier business has mapped out an aggressive expansion plan for the United States. It has introduced a line of digital copiers under both its own name and those of other vendors. Toshiba TEC products currently are sold through 350 or so office machine dealers. However, the Tokyo-headquartered company would like to acquire about 20 smaller dealers that can integrate business machines and computer equipment and launch direct marketing as a complement to sales through dealers.
Redesigning its M2 digital recorder for a broader market, HITACHI, LTD. introduced a product that captures video, audio and still photographs in a single unit the size of most digital cameras. The M2L, which costs just under $1,000, comes with a 16-MB PC card that can store up to 1-1/2 minutes of video footage or 200 still images for transfer to a computer. It also can be upgraded to a 260-MB or a 1-GB PC card. The latter holds up to 2 hours of full-motion video, 12,000 photographs and 16 hours of audio.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
In a major expansion of its international cardiovascular device business, TERUMO CORP. agreed to buy the cardiovascular systems unit of MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING CO. Its operations, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Tustin, California, include hardware and related disposables that are used to artificially maintain and monitor blood and oxygen flow during cardiac surgery. The 3M unit had 1998 sales in excess of $100 million and employs roughly 500 people around the world. It is best known for its Sarns brand of heart-lung support equipment and the CDI brand of monitoring products, while Terumo's strengths are its Capiox oxygenators and tubing packs. In the United States, the 3M cardiovascular systems unit will be merged with Terumo's counterpart business to form TERUMO CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEMS CORP. It will operate as a subsidiary of Somerset, New Jersey-based TERUMO MEDICAL CORP., which now makes and markets such products as syringes, needles, catheters and blood bags at plants in Elkton, Maryland and Ashland, Massachusetts.
HOYA CORP., one of the foremost companies in the area of photonics, has made an equity investment in LIFESPEX CORP., a start-up that is using biophotonics to provide point-of-care diagnostic systems for the detection of cervical cancers and precancers. The Kirkland, Washington company will use the Hoya money to complete clinical trials for its Cerviscan product in the United States and Europe and to establish manufacturing capacity for early production shipments. Cerviscan, which utilizes LifeSpex's proprietary evoked tissue fluorescence technology, will allow physicians to give women with suspicious pap smears immediate and accurate results without additional tests or colposcopy exams.
The world leader in automotive emissions-testing equipment, HORIBA, LTD., has spent $3.3 million to install its most advanced system at its Ann Arbor, Michigan facility. The equipment will help HORIBA INSTRUMENTS, INC. expand its research and development activities as well as strengthen its sales pitches to motor vehicle manufacturers. Horiba, which makes emissions-testing equipment in Ann Arbor and at Horiba Instruments' headquarters in Irvine, California, already controls roughly 70 percent of the American market for this type of measuring device. It now has set its sights on an 80 percent cut in two years.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
In October, according to the current schedule, FUJITSU, LTD. will launch volume production of 128-megabit synchronous DRAMs at its Gresham, Oregon wafer fabrication facility (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 348, September 1998, p. 6). It currently is sampling the memory, designed for servers and workstations, at about $42 each. Fujitsu is employing a 0.2-micron process to make the part, which has a smaller surface area than any other 128-megabit device announced to date. It expects the Gresham factory to produce 300,000 chips a month initially.
At a time when much of the news about Japanese semiconductor makers in the United States concerns retrenchment, OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD. has reaffirmed its commitment to the American market. In effect, it made the Sunnyvale, California Oki Semiconductor division of OKI AMERICA, INC. a freestanding unit, solely responsible for the planning, development and design of chips, especially for the communications market, in addition to its original sales and marketing mandate. As part of the move to become a fabless semiconductor company, Oki Semiconductor is expanding its engineering staff, incorporating the people from its parent's Silicon Dynamics subsidiary and hiring others. Before the announcement of its new focus on the U.S. market, however, Oki Electric closed its assembly and test facility in Tualatin, Oregon (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 348, September 1998, p. 6).
A Camas, Washington sales and marketing subsidiary of SHARP CORP. has introduced its first single-chip white LED (light-emitting diode). Designed for instrument panels for motor vehicles, electronic signs, backlights in portable tools and instruments and general-purpose illumination, the imitation white light is produced through the integration of a blue InGaN (indium-gallium-nitrogen) die and a YAG (yttrium- aluminum-garnet) phosphor into a single package.
During a 27-month program starting July, HITACHI, LTD. will work with the international arm of Sematech, the Austin, Texas R&D consortium of semiconductor production equipment companies, to develop advanced tools for 300-mm (12-inch) processes, including some that bridge the next-generation wafer size and today's 200- mm (8-inch) wafers. Five systems are involved: (1) a 300-mm etching system configured to support both gate and dielectric etch processing to be delivered with a 200-mm bridge kit; (2) a scanning electronic microscope capable of measuring fine pattern geometries on both types of wafers; (3) an automatic wafer inspection system for detecting defects on patterned wafers that also is dual capable; (4) an optical shallow defect analyzer for detecting and measuring crystal defects in the wafer surface layer; and a catalytic decomposition system for the abatement of the various gases used in semiconductor production.
Building on a March 1997 technology development program, ULVAC JAPAN, LTD. and RAMTRON INTERNATIONAL CORP. have signed a three-year agreement to develop advanced plasma etching and metal organic chemical vapor deposition equipment and process technologies for ferroelectric RAM products. The goal of the new arrangement is to help Ramtron, the originator of the FRAM technology, and its licensees to develop and commercialize future FRAM memory products more quickly. During the fourth quarter of this year, Ulvac will install more processing equipment at its Colorado Springs, Colorado partner's R&D facility as well as station additional technical people there. FRAMs incorporate the high-performance characteristics of mainstream memory technologies, but they also have the ability to save data when power is lost or removed. Ramtron has licensed its FRAM know-how to FUJITSU, LTD., HITACHI, LTD., ROHM CO., LTD. and TOSHIBA CORP.
The Semiconductor Equipment Division in Santa Clara, California of CANON INC.'s U.S. subsidiary will start shipments in September of a deep-ultraviolet stepper that will allow wafer fabs to achieve 0,15-micron design rules while still using 200-mm wafers. Canon claims that the FPA-3000EX6 step-and-repeat system is the industry's first stepper to offer lithographic performance equivalent to the best step-and-scan tools. The standard configuration of the EX6, which can expose 117 200-mm wafers an hour, costs about $7 million.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
Trader SUMITOMO CORP. and its PRESIDIO VENTURE PARTNERS U.S. venture capital arm joined another venture capital fund in providing a total of $6 million in financing to HURRICANE TECHNOLOGY. This New York City-based start-up describes itself as a pioneer in using the Internet to give companies a fully integrated system for managing their brand assets and licensing operations and to help them create business-to-business networks worldwide. Hurricane's suite of products does this by integrating workflow operations across Web sites, intranets, extranets and legacy systems.
Two name companies that have developed technologies that each hopes will become the standard for delivering CD-quality music over the Internet while preventing illegal copying have decided to make their competing standards compatible. The collaborators are SONY CORP. and INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. The consumer electronics giant's OpenMG and Magicgate technologies are designed to thwart unauthorized copying and playback of digital music on PCs and audio players and recorders, respectively. These standards will be made interoperable with IBM's Electronic Music Management System. which, in addition to featuring copyright- protection technologies, includes tools for selling and downloading music from the Internet.
New features have been added to Job Management Partner 1, HITACHI, LTD.'s workload management suite, that will allow companies to harness the power of their Netscape browser to automate and manage computing tasks in distributed Unix and Windows NT environments. The JP1 suite provides job scheduling, batch management, event management, remote management, software distribution and network print services. Each component works with a Netscape browser-based Integrated Manager, which monitors, schedules, starts and stops processes. Hitachi's software products are sold in the United States by HITACHI COMPUTER PRODUCTS (AMERICA), INC.
Hoping to get a jump on the competition, NEC CORP. is prepared to spend as much as $83.3 million over the next two years and detail about 200 people at its NEC SYSTEMS LABORATORY, INC. unit to the development of a next-generation Unix- based accounting system for financial institutions, especially small and midsized ones. To coordinate this undertaking, NEC has established the NEC Financial Solution Center at its San Jose, California subsidiary. Integral to the project's goals is a system that is relatively inexpensive and that can be installed in a fairly short time.
NICHIMEN GRAPHICS INC., one of the leaders in the three-dimensional content creation market, and VIEWPOINT DIGITAL INC., the publisher of the world's largest 3D digital content library, have combined forces to deliver Nendo & LiveArt SE Workshop. This package of easy-to-use and powerful 3D modeling and rendering tools makes 3D accessible to a broad range of PC users since it costs under $100. That price includes 50 3D models. An extended library of 250 additional 3D models can be bought for $130. Nichimen Graphics is a NICHIMEN CORP. company. Viewpoint Digital is a subsidiary of COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC.
In another collaboration, DAIKIN U.S. COMTEC LABORATORIES, best known as the developer of the Scenarist DVD authoring and premastering system, and INTERACTUAL TECHNOLOGIES, INC. of Mountain View, California, which specializes in technologies that enhance the playback of DVDs on PCs, have brought out Scenarist Enhanced DVD Kit. This package for enhanced and hybrid DVD software production combines such Daikin DVD tools as Scenarist, Informer and ROM Formatter with development tools for creating Web-enabled DVDs based on InterActual's PCFriendly DVD software. Novato, California-based Daikin is in charge of worldwide distribution of Scenarist for parent DAIKIN INDUSTRIES, LTD.
ATLUS CO., LTD., the company behind the Print Club personalized photo sticker machine, has upgraded its Irvine, California office to a subsidiary to distribute game software for the home market. The firm's lineup includes its own products as well as those licensed from American developers. .....In what industry watchers say is a rare instance of cross-licensing among companies in the arcade game business, SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD. has given ATARI CORP. rights to software that allows players to change the vantage point from which he or she views a game. In return, the Sunnyvale, California company has awarded Sega rights to its technology for minimizing the idle rotation of the steering wheels on arcade game machines. Analysts note that Sega has been very aggressive recently in trying to protect its intellectual property rights.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
The restructuring plan that NEC CORP. devised to return to profitability will lead to some changes in its U.S. operations, although the full extent of the reorganization still is not known. Initially, the impact will be limited to the company's telecommunications equipment business. NEC will prune some low-margin products and concentrate its resources on what have been growth areas for it, headed by private branch exchanges and fiber-optic communications equipment. In addition, NEC AMERICA, INC., which is in charge of the company's U.S. telecommunications business, will move by late 2000 from its longtime headquarters in Melville, New York to Irving, Texas, where NEC's software development unit already is located. What changes, if any, will occur at NEC America's manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon have not been announced.
In back-to-back announcements, SONY CORP. and INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. said that they would team up on a media asset management system for the broadcast and entertainment industries as well as on Internet music distribution standards. The media asset management system is targeted at companies that want to move their tape libraries to a digital format both to better manage their video libraries and to offer new services. Sony will supply the hardware side of the system, including encoding and decoding devices and transmission servers, while IBM will contribute its digital library software and handle system integration work. The partners already have their first customer, CABLE NEWS NETWORK INC. In a project that could take three years. CNN plans to digitize more than 100,000 hours of footage accumulated over nearly two decades.
SONY CORP. is the world's largest supplier of studio and field broadcast equipment, but it faces strong competition from MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. in digital equipment. To strengthen its position, Sony formed a development alliance with Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based AVID TECHNOLOGIES, INC., the market leader in nonlinear editing systems. For starters, they will focus on making Sony's television cameras and videocassette recorders compatible with Avid's postproduction editing systems. Down the road, the tie-up could involve the development of lower-cost broadcast systems and high-definition TV equipment.
Under a multiyear contract worth more than $5 million, SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. will supply NewsBase newsroom production systems to all TRIBUNE BROADCASTING CO. TV stations, including cable news operations. Two Tribune stations already use the newsroom server, which is said to enable television stations to deliver higher-quality newscasts and to cut the time it takes to get news material on the air. Another big advantage of NewsBase is its ability to scale across a wide range of station sizes. Tribune Broadcasting estimates that as many as 15 systems will be installed in 14 cities by the time the project is finished. Two years ago, the broadcaster selected SONY CORP.'s Betacam as its news acquisition format.
VICTOR CO. OF JAPAN, LTD. is collaborating with HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. and DIVICOM, INC. to deliver a cost-effective HDTV on-air server solution to the broadcasting industry. The system will combine HP MediaStream servers 700 and 1600, which are designed for both HDTV and standard-definition television broadcasting (see Japan-U.S. business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 34); Milpitas, California-based DiviCom's MediaView MV400 HDTV encoder; and JVC's new DM- D4000 HDTV decoder. A primary selling point of the system is that broadcasters can use the MediaStream servers today for SDTV applications and later upgrade them to HDTV programming.
Another Japanese company is betting that a significant market will develop at home for high-resolution, satellite-captured images of the earth. HITACHI SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CO., LTD. will invest $11 million in EARTHWATCH INC. in exchange for rights to market the images transmitted by a pair of Quick Bird satellites that the Longmont, Colorado company will have launched for it December and a year later. These spacecraft will be able to identify objects as small as 1 square meter. HITACHI, LTD. already has a 12.3 percent stake in EarthWatch, which it acquired for about $14 million in the spring of 1995. However, the failure of EarthWatch's first two satellites has prevented it from moving into the satellite image marketing business. Hitachi Software Engineering will face some stiff competition. NTT DATA CORP. recently signed a marketing deal with ORBITAL IMAGING CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 33), as did MITSUBISHI CORP. with SPACE IMAGING INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 31).
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
Building on a February agreement to combine their international polyester film businesses in an equally owned venture (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 2), TEIJIN LTD. and E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO., INC. will form a company before yearend to make and market polyester filament yarn in North America. This deal, however, involves a third partner, Mexico's ALPEK S.A. DE C.V. DuPont will own half of the unnamed firm; Teijin and Alpek will split the other half. The joint venture will incorporate DuPont's Dacron polyester filament factories in Cape Fear and Kinston, North Carolina. It also will include the polyester polymer, filament and textured yarn facilities in Monterrey, Mexico owned by Teijin and Alpek. That simultaneously announced joint venture will be formed by Teijin buying a 50 percent stake in the existing Alpek operation. The DuPont-Teijin/Alpek business will have more than 850 million pounds of capacity, about three-fourths of which is in North Carolina, and annual revenues on the order of $600 million. Teijin, Japan's top polyester producer, generates roughly 40 percent of its revenues from this filament. However, the company reportedly has only about 4 percent of the world polyester filament market, in part because it has no North American production base.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
To signify their closer ties, SUZUKI MOTOR CORP. acquired over a period of weeks 500,000 shares of GENERAL MOTORS CORP. stock at a total cost of $37.5 million. It now owns 0.07 percent of the automotive giant. Last fall, GM said that it was banking on Japan's top manufacturer of minivehicles for help in designing and developing small, affordable and rugged vehicles for developing countries. The two companies also outlined several other areas where they might cooperate (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 29). At the time, the world's largest vehicle producer said that it would spend in excess of $300 million to expand its stake in Suzuki to 10 percent from the 3.3 percent it had owned since 1981.
In the strongest acknowledgement to date that no single automotive manufacturer has the financial and personnel resources to quickly resolve on its own the technical problems standing in the way of environmentally friendly but affordable and convenient vehicles, TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. and GENERAL MOTORS CORP. have teamed up to develop cars and trucks powered by fuel cells and other alternatives to gasoline. The collaborative effort will run through 2004, the year when GM, FORD MOTOR CO. and DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG have said that they plan to be ready to launch commercial production of fuel-cell vehicles. The powerplants in those products, which produce electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen with few if any emissions, manufacture power as they run. That eliminates the primary drawback of battery-powered electric vehicles like GM's EV1: constant recharging. However, fuel cells remain prohibitively expensive. Cutting that cost will be a primary focus of the Toyota-GM R&D effort. The partners also will work on other clean-air technologies, including hybrid electric vehicles. Toyota already has launched such a car, the Prius, in Japan and will bring it to the United States in 2000 (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 347, August 1998, p. 8). Last summer, Toyota and GM announced two narrowly focused alliances in the field of environmentally friendly vehicles involving collaboration on a charging system for electric vehicles and an information exchange on fuel cells (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, pp. 8-9).
ISUZU MOTORS LTD.'s Cerritos, California subsidiary will open a parts distribution center in November in West Chester, Ohio, north of Cincinnati. The facility, which will involve an investment of $88 million, including $74 million in inventory, will store, package and ship various products, including service parts, parts for export and engines. PROMAX AUTOMOTIVE, INC., a wholly owned subsidiary of ITOCHU CORP., will operate the center for Isuzu. As part of the deal, Promax will move its headquarters from Madison Heights, Michigan to Ohio. The warehouse will employ about 90 people.
Across the Ohio River in Erlanger, Kentucky, TOYOTA MOTOR MANUFACTURING NORTH AMERICA, INC. announced a $15.4 million expansion of its headquarters. Scheduled to be completed in May 2000, the project marks the second time that TMMNA has added space since locating in Erlanger in 1996. Last year, it opened a laboratory to handle quality and production engineering activities. The company, which manages TOYOTA MOTOR CORP.'s North American manufacturing operations, currently employs 630 people, but that number is expected to reach 700 soon. The latest announcement boosts TMMNA's investment in its offices to more than $68 million. Late last year, Toyota said that it would build a Midwest parts center in nearby Hebron, Kentucky (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 9).
Two of NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD.'s biggest parts suppliers CALSONIC CORP. and KANSEI CORP., which are both partially owned by the number-two Japanese automotive maker will merge in April 2000. In August, however, they will combine their U.S. development centers, with the 19 people of Kansei's KANTUS CORP. Southfield, Michigan unit joining the 122-member engineering staff of CALSONIC NORTH AMERICA, INC. in Farmington Hills, Michigan. A primary focus of their work will be cockpit modules, which integrate into a single unit such components as steering columns, electric wiring and dashboards. Calsonic has three major U.S. manufacturing operations: CALSONIC INTERNATIONAL, INC., an Irvine, California maker of air-conditioning kits; CALSONIC MANUFACTURING CORP. of Shelbyville, Tennessee, which manufactures air-conditioning systems, exhaust systems, engine cooling systems and heaters; and CALSONIC YOROZU CORP., a Morrison, Tennessee joint venture with YOROZU MANUFACTURING CORP. and SUMITOMO CORP. that produces stamped and welded metal parts. Kantus turns out such products as instrument clusters, instrument panels, radiator grilles and bumpers at a factory in Lewisburg, Tennessee.
A $25 million capacity expansion is underway at INTAT PRECISION, INC. in Rushville, Indiana. The wholly owned subsidiary of AISIN TAKAOKA LTD. makes ductile and gray iron castings for TOYOTA MOTOR CORP.'s Georgetown, Kentucky complex, the NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee and ISUZU MOTORS LTD.'s factory in Lafayette, Indiana. The new manufacturing line will lift capacity by 50 percent to 60,000 tons a year. In operation since 1989, INTAT Precision had sales of roughly $70 million in FY 1998. It is aiming for revenues of $83.3 million in FY 2004, by which time it hopes to have the Big Three U.S. automotive makers as customers.
Starting in January 2000, CARDINGTON YUTAKA TECHNOLOGIES, INC. will be able to turn out 4,000 torque converters a day for HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. Accords and Civics built in the United States. That will represent a 35 percent capacity boost for the Cardington, Ohio factory. The $5 million expansion is the second undertaken since YUTAKA GIKEN CO., LTD. and minority partner Honda (30 percent) formed CYT in early 1995 to make catalytic converters as well as torque converters.
Also for the second time in the less than two years that it has been in operation, TOYOTETSU AMERICA, INC. announced expansion plans. The wholly owned Somerset, Kentucky subsidiary of TOYODA IRON WORKS CO., LTD., a manufacturer of stamped and welded automotive parts for TOYOTA MOTOR CORP.'s Georgetown, Kentucky factory, will spend $5 million to raise capacity 50 percent by September 2000. Part of this money will be used to install a 1,000-ton-class press. The expansion will boost staffing to 200 people. Toyotetsu America is projecting FY 2000 sales at $55 million.
By late 2000, Franklin, Indiana-based MHI CLIMATE CONTROL INC. should have the capacity to make 900,000 scroll compressors a year for automotive air-conditioning systems. In the latest of several periodic expansions toward that goal, the MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. company is raising annual compressor capacity to 500,000 units from the current 400,000-unit level. The increase is keyed to a spring 1998 contract from GENERAL MOTORS CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. May 1998, p. 9). For now, MHI Climate Control is shipping more than 200,000 AC systems a year to GM for use in the Cadillac line. Its other main customer is MITSUBISHI MOTORS MANUFACTURING OF AMERICA, INC., which buys 100,000- plus systems a year. MHI Climate Control combines its scroll compressors with purchased evaporators, heat exchangers and the other parts needed to sell AC systems.
Beginning in June, AISIN SEIKI CO., LTD. will supply automatic transmissions to truck manufacturer FREIGHTLINER CORP. This is a new North American business for the parts supplier, one that it believes could generate $4.2 million in annual sales. The A581 transmission will be mated with the Portland, Oregon company's 280- horsepower engine. AISIN WORLD CORP. OF AMERICA of Downers Grove, Illinois is backstopping the deal.
KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. will design and build the doors and the tail section for the first commercial tiltrotor aircraft, the BA 609. The project's prime contractor is BELL/AGUSTA AEROSPACE CO., a joint venture between BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON INC. and an Italian company. Like the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor that Bell Helicopter is building with BOEING CO. for the military, the six-passenger BA 609 can take off, land and hover like a traditional helicopter when its rotors are in the vertical position and fly with the high speed and the range of a turboprop fixed-wing airplane with the rotors in a horizontal position. KHI will work with AEROSTRUCTURES CORP. of Nashville, Tennessee, which is in charge of the fuselage for the BA 609. First flight is expected in late 2000, with deliveries are scheduled to start in 2002. The BA 609 will be built in Amarillo, Texas along with the V- 22 Osprey tiltrotor.
All of the orders that KAWASAKI RAIL CAR, INC. has received for subway cars and light-rail cars have not been good for the bottom line. The Yonkers, New York subsidiary of KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. lost $70 million in 1998, mainly because design modifications to 200 double-decker rail cars ordered by New York's Long Island Rail Road and the Maryland Department of Transportation drove up production costs. After injecting $60 million into Kawasaki Rail Car in March, KHI decided that it would do more work in Japan than it had planned on a 400 subway car contract from New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority that currently is being filled. How the work will be divided on a more recent MTA order for 212 subway cars apparently has not been decided 9see Japan-U.S. business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 12).
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. has signed an agreement with LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP. to produce under license the MK 41 vertical launching system for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Murasame-class destroyers. This below-deck launching system is capable of firing many different types of missiles. The first phase of the contract, valued at approximately $70 million, includes the production of eight eight-cell modules, plus manufacturing data, assembly training and test equipment. Lockheed Martin's Launching Systems operation in Middle River, Maryland will assemble and test the first four MK 41 VLSs; MHI then will take over. Murasame-class ships already are equipped with two VLS modules, but Tokyo decided last year that each should have four eight-cell modules. Lockheed Martin also has outfitted Japan's Kongo-class ships with MK 41 VLS launchers.
Under a licensed production agreement that dates back to 1991, MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. has ordered $19.6 million worth of AN/ALQ-131 electronic countermeasures production kits from NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP.'s Baltimore- headquartered Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector. The AN/ALQ-131 is a pod- mounted airborne electronic warfare system designed to counter surface-to-air and air-to-air radar threats. Delivery of the latest order will begin in April 2000. MELCO will assemble and test the electronic warfare systems for the Air Self-Defense Force.
Hoping to capitalize on the strength of its biggest market for pocket knives, cutlery and scissor manufacturer KAI INDUSTRIES CO., LTD. has given its longtime Wilsonville, Oregon subsidiary new product development responsibility for this line. The Gifu prefecture company also has eliminated a middleman in the distribution chain. Both steps, it hopes, will reverse a three-year decline in KAI U.S.A. LTD.'s sales and raise its profits by 5 percent in the year through March 2000.
The Ministry of Labor has made INTERNATIONAL CAREER INFORMATION, INC., the Jersey City, New Jersey subsidiary of RECRUIT CO., LTD., the first employment services firm licensed to place people living abroad in jobs in Japan. The people expected to use ICI's services, which are targeted at Japanese companies seeking midlevel employees with international experience, include Japanese managers in the United States who need to find new jobs in Japan because of downsizing by their companies as well as non-Japanese interested in working in Japan. ICI expects this new business to generate revenues of $2.3 million in the first year from the companies that contract for its services.
As part of MITSUBISHI CORP.'s strategy for strengthening its global supply management system, the trader's Tokyo-based MC TRANS INTERNATIONAL INC. affiliate, which was formed in July 1998, set up a subsidiary in Torrance, California. MC TRANS USA INC. and a counterpart European unit will be the core companies in Mitsubishi's attempt to improve its supply services business.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
The economy might be in trouble, but MERCK & CO., INC. and PFIZER INC. are optimistic about their medium-term Japan prospects. So optimistic that both plan to expand their sales forces to the size of the biggest Japanese pharmaceutical companies. Merck's majority-owned BANYU PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. subsidiary expects to have between 1,500 and 1,600 medical representatives within five years compared with 1,260 now. For its part, Pfizer's wholly owned subsidiary will hire about 560 people over the next three years, increasing its sales force to 1,500 or so. With more people in sales, Merck and Pfizer alike will put more emphasis on hospitals.
Extending an early 1995 agreement, CORTECH, INC. has awarded ONO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. worldwide rights to an oral elastase inhibitor on which the two have been working. The Osaka company's rights previously were limited to Japan, South Korea, the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. Elastase is a protein-degrading enzyme that is thought to play a major role in tissue damage and organ failure in patients with severe inflammatory conditions. Ono's clinical studies will target chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and rheumatoid arthritis. In exchange for the expanded license, the Japanese drug company has given Far Hills, New Jersey- based Cortech $2 million upfront. It also will make milestone payments that could total $9.5 million as well as pay royalties on sales.
Effective June 1, the renamed GE TOSHIBA SILICONES CO., LTD. will be responsible for the Asian Pacific business of the GE Silicones unit of GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. Until the change, those managerial functions were carried out by the Hong Kong office of GE Silicones. With the economies of East Asia starting to recover, GE Silicones is looking for a minimum increase of 10 percent in its regional sales in 1999. Sales of the company's sealing products have held up fairly well in Japan but have been weak in such key markets as China, South Korea and Hong Kong. GE Toshiba Silicones (formerly Toshiba Silicone Co., Ltd.) is a longtime manufacturing and marketing venture between GE and TOSHIBA CORP.
DOW CHEMICAL CO.'s subsidiary has put on the market an environmentally friendly pesticide that has as its active ingredient spinosad. Derived from naturally occurring actinomycete bacteria without additional chemical processing, spinosad is effective against caterpillars that attack such plants as cabbage. The product is available through such Dow distributors as KUMIAI CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD., NIPPON SODA CO., LTD., NISSAN CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. and SHIONOGI & CO., LTD. The company believes that sales could total $20.8 million in 2003, particularly if it succeeds in expanding the applications for spinosad.
MULTISORB TECHNOLOGIES, INC. signed a second company to distribute its packaged sorbent products, including desiccants for absorbing moisture. Osaka- based FUJI GEL SANGYO LTD., a major supplier of silica gel, expects particularly strong demand for the Buffalo, New York company's MiniPax sorbent packet since there is nothing comparable in Japan for packaging such products as pharmaceuticals and medical diagnostic kits. NIPPON KAKO-KIZAI CO., LTD. is Multisorb's other distributor (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 11).
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
The recession has been the undoing of RIOS CORP., a contract manufacturer of notebook computers and a supplier of peripherals and software that IBM JAPAN LTD. and RICOH CO., LTD. formed in 1990 to better integrate their own products. The Yokohama company stopped marketing in March and will be liquidated in June.
The need to cut costs and, at the same time, to stay up to date in information technology is proving to be a boon for companies like IBM JAPAN LTD. that operate and manage computer systems for other firms. The latest company to outsource its IT business to the subsidiary of the computer giant is MARUZEN SHOWA UNYU CO., LTD., a Yokohama-based trucking and cargo-handling firm. The contract runs for seven years.
In an unusual marketing move, DELL COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary has tied up with MATSUI SECURITIES CO., LTD. to sell PCs geared to on-line stock trading. The NetstockPC, available through Dell's Web site or telephone order center, comes in a desktop version for $2,200 and as a notebook for $3,100. Connectivity tools to Matsui Securities' Netstock Internet trading services are preinstalled. On-line trading is the fastest part of the midsized brokerage's business.
SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. is continuing to move aggressively to get its sales in Japan on an expansion track, mainly by focusing on the broad corporate market rather than on the computer graphics business for which its proprietary Unix machines are best known. The key to the new strategy is the company's first Windows NT workstation, the Visual Workstation 320 minitower system and the Visualstation 540 tower model (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 13). In an unusual decision for such a performance-oriented machine, SGI's subsidiary has contracted with a MARUBENI CORP. affiliate to the sell the 320 model in its 3,500 or so PC stores across Japan. KANTO ELECTRONICS CORP. thinks that it can sell between 3,000 and 4,000 units of the $5,700-and-up system in the first year. CANON SALES CO., INC. and five other firms also distribute the two Visualstation workstations.
As part of its broader market focus, SILICON GRAPHICS, INC.'s subsidiary has put together a package for data base users. The system combines the scalar SGI Origin 2000 supercomputer with the company's MineSet software for visualizing the results of data-mining analyses. Data base software from ORACLE CORP. also will be incorporated into the package under an agreement to be concluded by the end of May. To backstop this move, the SGI unit will form a technical support center to be run in cooperation with NIPPON STEEL INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS INC.
Unwilling to wait any longer for INTEL CORP. to release its IA-64 processor but wanting to give buyers of its midrange servers an expansion path to that 64-bit architecture as well as to future versions of the company's own PA-RISC (reduced instruction-set computing) processor technology, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. announced for worldwide marketing the HP 9000 N-Class enterprise server. It is the first platform in the industry to provide in-chassis upgrade compatibility to the IA-64 processor and forthcoming PA-RISC chips. HP also claims that the N-Class delivers twice the performance at half the cost of other midrange systems, particularly for on- line transaction processing and Web workloads, thanks to the use of up to eight 64-bit PA-8500 processors and the 64-bit HP-UX 11 operating system. In Japan, pricing of the N-Class starts at $125,000. As it normally does with HP 9000 servers, HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD. will supply N-Class machines on an OEM basis to HITACHI, LTD., MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP., NEC CORP., NIHON UNISYS, LTD. and OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD.
Of course, claims of the first, the fastest and the like are par for the course in the computer business. For instance, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. is touting its RS/6000 Model H70 as the fastest 64-bit four-way Web server and especially well-suited for electronic business, enterprise resource planning, supply chain planning and business intelligence applications. Powered by up to four 340- MHz IBM RS64-II RISC processors and running IBM's AIX operating systems, the rack- mounted H70 is said to provide a 75 percent Web-serving boost over its predecessor, the H50, at that model's original entry-level price. IBM JAPAN LTD. has priced the H70 from $42,900.
In bold move to protect sales of its Unix-based servers from the encroachment of PC servers, particularly in data center applications, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. slashed prices on all its machines powered by the 300-MHz and faster UltraSPARC II processor. The cuts, which go as high as 34 percent, affect the latest versions of the high-end Sun Enterprise 1000 as well as the midrange Sun Enterprise 3500, 4500, 5500 and 6500 servers and low-end systems (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 15).
Price-cutting also has come to the already extremely competitive corporate desktop and notebook marketplace. IBM JAPAN LTD. was the initiator. Trying to bolster its position against the inroads of direct marketers, the company, the number-three seller to business customers, will cut the retail prices it suggests to retailers by roughly 30 percent on new models. COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP., frustrated by its continued inability to win more of corporate Japan's business, not only met this challenge but went further. It announced a new pricing structure that covers existing as well as new models. Moreover, Compaq's price cuts extend to PC servers and workstations as well as desktop machines and notebooks.
The rollout of PC servers featuring the performance-enhancing 500-MHz Pentium III Xeon processor or the Pentium III operating at the same clock speed is in full swing. For starters, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary has on the market the ProLiant 6400R. With its innovative 7-inch rack-optimized design, this addition to the company's high-density server line is aimed squarely at space-constrained data centers. The ProLiant 6400R also delivers computing power through its support of one to four 500- MHz Pentium III Xeon processors with 512 KB, 1 MB or 2 MB of L2 cache. Prices begin at $13,300.
IBM JAPAN LTD.'s implementation of the latest high-end processor technology is found in four additions to the Netfinity family. The top of the line is defined by the Netfinity 7000 M10, which supports up to four 500-MHz Pentium III Xeons with a choice of three levels of L2 cache. Aimed at data base applications, this system starts at $17,500. The Netfinity 5500 M20, also configurable with up to four 500-MHz Pentium III Xeon processors, brings power and performance to departments, large workgroups or remote offices at prices as low as $15,000. Two-way processing using 500-MHz Pentium III processors is available to smaller departments in the Netfinity 5000 for as little as $6,800. Departments and small businesses requiring a file and print server can opt for the uniprocessor 500-MHz Pentium III -based Netfinity 3000 at prices from $5,800.
Companies looking for a midrange file, LAN and application server with the performance and the scalability provided by up to four 500-MHz Pentium III Xeon processors as well as enterprise-class availability have an option in NCR CORP.'s S50 server. This system, which starts at $22,300, also offers the choice of three mounting options: a pedestal kit for deskside, a short (50 inch) cabinet with mounting rails and a tall (77 inch) cabinet with mounting rails. NCR's subsidiary is projecting sales of the S50 at 1,000 units.
UNISYS CORP. also is claiming a performance record for its four-way implementation of the 500-MHz Pentium III Xeon processor. The Aquanta ES5045 also benefits, the company says, from its ability to tune the server to deliver optimum performance for enterprise-class applications using its mainframe expertise. This system, which sells for $41,700 and up, is one of four Aquanta ES5000 models that harness the power of the new processor technology. The midrange model, the Aquanta ES5043, has a starting price of $28,200. Both also are available as rack-mounted units.
Taking a different tack, the subsidiary of direct marketer DELL COMPUTER CORP. has introduced the PowerEdge 2300. This server is targeted at companies that want the performance of a 500-MHz Pentium III processor as well as the features of a high-end system but at a budget price. In Japan, that is $5,500. For even more budget- conscious corporate buyers, Dell introduced a new version of the dual-processor- capable PowerEdge 1300. Featuring a 400-MHz Pentium II processor, it lists for as little as $1,600. .....Fellow direct marketer GATEWAY 2000, INC. also hopes to win business from companies with tight IT budgets by offering a 450-MHz Pentium III processor as well as a 500-MHz version of the chip in the two-way ALR 8200 server for $3,900 and up.
Leading American computer vendors also are bringing the state of the art in processor technology to computer-aid design and engineering, graphics animation, visual simulation and other graphics-intensive applications. The first COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. Professional Workstation to incorporate the 500-MHz Pentium III Xeon processor is the SP700. This dual-processor-capable system, which starts at $7,400, also features the new PowerStorm 600 high-end 3D graphics solution, which Compaq claims gives SP700 customers the fastest performance available in a Windows NT environment for demanding 3D graphics applications. .....At the same time, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary released the Professional Workstation AP200, AP400 and AP500 lines built around one or two 500-MHz Pentium III chips. The AP400 and AP500 machines also have the new PowerStorm 300 graphics driver, which leverages the new processor to accelerate graphics-intensive applications. Reflecting the fact that AP stands for affordable performance, Compaq priced the base AP200 model at $2,400.
With the release of the fast, graphics-enhancing Pentium III processors, HEWLETT- PACKARD CO. introduced the HP VISUALIZE Personal Workstations, a new family of high-performance, Windows NT-based systems that complement the company's Unix- based HP VISUALIZE workstation line and its volume Windows NT-based HP Kayak PC Workstation family. Like its parent, HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is using a build-to-order sales model for the HP VISUALIZE Personal Workstations, which are based on the HP VISUALIZE fx graphics architecture originally designed for the Unix version of this line. The X-Class model, which uses the 500-MHz Pentium III Xeon, starts at $10,300, while a P-Class system featuring the 500-MHz Pentium III goes for $8,100 and up. HP Japan believes that it can sell 7,000 HP VISUALIZE Personal Workstations a year by targeting sales directly or through resellers to technical and creative customers.
IBM JAPAN LTD. also is offering the new Pentium engines at a range of price points. For customers with the most demanding 3D applications and the largest data sets, there is the IBM IntelliStation Z Pro. Able to handle two Pentium III Xeon processors running at 500 MHz, these systems feature either the new IBM Fire GL1 or the Intense3D Wildcat 400 graphics adapter at prices beginning at $7,200. For corporate buyers that do not require that much power, IBM Japan has the IBM IntelliStation M Pro and the entry-level IBM IntelliStation E Pro running off a single or dual 500-MHz Pentium III processors and incorporating a variety of OpenGL 3D graphics adapters, including Matrox Millennium G200. Pricing of the M Pro starts at $6,100, while an E Pro workstation can be bought for as little as $2,200.
The competing 500-MHz Pentium III Xeon entry from GATEWAY 2000, INC.'s direct marketing force is the E-5250. Part of the company's line of managed PCs, the dual- processor-upgradable system comes with a Oxygen GMX2000 graphics card to accelerate 3D applications. The base configuration of the E-5250 500 costs $5,700.
The new kid on the Windows NT workstation block also is keeping up with the competition. SILICON GRAPHICS, INC.'s four-way-capable Visual Workstation 540 tower series now is available with 500-MHz Pentium III Xeon processors for prices starting around $11,200. Similarly, the Visual Workstation 320 minitower family, which can handle one or two processors, has been redesigned for the 450-MHz and the 500- MHz Pentium III. This line's pricing begins at $6,800. Both workstation models feature SGI's customized Cobalt chipset for faster communications between the processor and video systems.
With Linux rapidly making inroads in Japan, the subsidiary of COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. has followed in its parent's footsteps and introduced 10 server and workstation models preloaded with the open-source operating system. The Linux-enabled systems include the ProLiant 1850R, ProLiant 1600 and ProSignia 720 servers as well as the AlphaServer 800 and the AlphaServer DS20, all of which have found favor among Internet services providers. The Professional Workstation XP1000, which is based on the powerful 500-MHz Alpha 21264 64-bit RISC processor, also is Linux-ready. Compaq also leveraged the performance of its Alpha-based server and workstation platforms running Linux by introducing the Compaq Portable Math Library, which is said to give a 10-fold boost to the precision and the speed of mathematical calculations.
With market trackers predicting a strong increase in Japan's rebounding PC sales, U.S. vendors are offering corporate and individual buyers more choices. For example, DELL COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary is marketing a Dimension desktop machine with a 400-MHz Celeron processor that has as an integrated option IOMEGA CORP.'s new Zip 250 drive. It provides 170 times the capacity of a standard high-density 3.5- inch floppy drive , plus a far faster write speed. The Dimension V400c lists for under $1,400.
About the same amount of money will buy the GP6-466c desktop PC from GATEWAY 2000, INC.'s subsidiary. This build-to-order system runs off the 466-MHz version of the Celeron processor. So does the G6-466, which includes more bells and whistles for about $1,700.
The all-in-one Gateway Profile the first product to emerge from GATEWAY 2000, INC.'s summer 1998 program to develop products specifically for the Japanese market has proved to be such a hit with companies looking for space-saving technology that Gateway added a Windows NT version. With the Profile, the need for a desktop or tower case is eliminated since everything is built into the 15-inch color TFT LCD display (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 15).
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. certainly believes that space-saving desktop PCs will sell, given its estimate that corporate Japan will buy between 25,000 and 30,000 machines in its new NetVectra series in the first year. Although not an all-in-one design, the hardware box is thin. Among the four models available is the NetVectra N30, which offers a choice of a 366-MHz Celeron processor for $1,700 or a Pentium II processor running at 400 MHz for $2,000.
Seeing strong prospects for desktop systems that target budget-minded but performance-conscious corporate customers, IBM JAPAN LTD. added 10 models to its PC 300GL and PC 300PL lines that range in price from less than $1,200 to $2,600. The latter buys the PC 300GL6277 with a 500-MHz Pentium III processor.
In a case of good timing, HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. reentered the corporate notebook computer market after a three-year absence just as sales were rebounding. Its initial offering is the OmniBook 4150, a full-featured but thin (1.4 inches) and lightweight (less than 6 pounds) system. Powered by a mobile Pentium II processor running at either 300 MHz, 333 MHz or 366 MHz, the OmniBook 4150 comes with a 14.1-inch XGA TFT display, 64 MB or 128 MB of internal memory and 6.4 GB or 10.1 GB of hard disk capacity. Pricing starts at $4,400. HP Japan plans to add other models in its attempt to sell 20,000 notebook PCs a year.
Svelte certainly is in when it comes to notebooks for mobile professionals, and INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. has used an innovative "slice" design to achieve that goal in the ThinkPad 570. The system itself weighs only 4 pounds and measures just 1.1 inch thick. That includes a full-size keyboard and a 12.1-inch or 13.3-inch TFT LCD display, plus 4 GB to 6.4 GB of hard disk capacity and the choice of a 300-MHz, 333-MHz or 366-MHz mobile Pentium II processor. It does not include a floppy or a CD-ROM drive. Those are housed in a separate, snap-on UltraBase unit, which adds about an inch to the laptop's thickness and about 3 pounds to its weight, depending on options. IBM JAPAN LTD. has priced the 333-MHz mobile Pentium II version of the ThinkPad 570 from $3,000.
COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary has added to its Armada notebook lineup an all-in-one design that provides integrated access to the diskette drive, hard drive, CD-ROM drive, modem and AC adapter. The Armada 1750, part of the company's Value Series, supports the mobile Pentium II processor up to 366 MHz and offers a choice of a 13.3-inch or a 14.1-inch color TFT LCD screen. A system for the Windows 95/98 environment costs $3,300; the Windows NT version lists for $3,500.
Home and small business users have three new options in portable machines. The marketing arm of DELL COMPUTER CORP. introduced the Inspiron 3500 C333GT, which, as its model number suggests, is powered by a 333-MHz Celeron processor. As little as $2,100 buys that engine, 32 MB of internal memory, a 3.2-GB hard drive, a 24X CD-ROM drive and 13.3-inch TFT LCD display. .....One alternative from IBM JAPAN LTD., the ThinkPad i Series 2611-436, is targeted at the novice computer user. Powered by a 300-MHz AMD-K6-2 processor and equipped with a 4.8-GB hard drive and a 13.3-inch TFT LCD display, it costs just $2,200-plus. For people seeking more performance, IBM Japan added to its ThinkPad 600E line the 2645-3JJ, which uses a 300PE MHz mobile Pentium II chip. It goes for about $2,700.
The iMac from APPLE COMPUTER, INC. is just as much a hot-seller in Japan as it is in the United States. The latest change should keep sales of the desktop machine rolling since Apple upgraded the iMac's processor to the 333-MHz PowerPC G3 from the 266-MHz version but left the price at $1,300.
The decision by Japanese banks to keep their automatic teller machines running for more hours could mean new business for ATM specialist NCR JAPAN, LTD. Its ATM JAPAN LTD. affiliate and another local company have teamed up to take over the servicing of ATM machines for banks that are seeing costs increase because of the longer operating hours. The new partners expect to sign up at least five nationwide commercial banks and the top regional bank. ATM Japan will focus on operating and developing monitoring systems, while its partner will be responsible for such jobs as putting money in the machines and troubleshooting.
A new, more versatile ATM will come on the market in May. Developed by MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary with OMRON CORP., the Cyber Gate VQ4511 can be used for such things as on-line shopping or buying tickets for events or transportation in addition to an ATM's traditional functions of cash dispensing and deposit taking. The key to this flexibility is the use of the Windows NT operating system and Internet Explorer in place of the specialized software that conventional ATMs use. Over the next three years, Microsoft and Omron expect to sell 20,000 Cyber Gate machines, which will $25,000 and up. They think that much of this projected business will be generated by convenience stores looking for new ways to boost their traffic.
Companies seeking a single storage platform that can support the consolidation of mainframe and open systems data resident in corporate data centers have a solution in the latest product from STORAGE TECHNOLOGY CORP. The 9393 Shared Virtual Array enterprise disk storage system allows customers to manage both OS/390 mainframe and Unix storage environments from a common graphical user interface. StorageTek's SVA virtual architecture automatically and transparently manages the performance of storage subsystems as well as capacity utilization and overhead functions. In the United States, the Louisville, Colorado company has priced the system from $616,000 to just under $1.5 million.
As much as 1.5 terabytes of data can be stored by SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s StorEdge A5100 array, a major plus for data warehouse applications. So are the system's Fibre Channel connections, which supports high-speed communications. The StorEdge A5100 consists of new, high-capacity 18.2-GB drives operating at 7,200 rotations per minute and housed in a 14-drive enclosure; six of these can be linked together. Sun's subsidiary has priced the standard configuration of the disk array at $56,200.
What HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. calls the industry's first one-button disaster-recovery feature has been incorporated into the company's HP SureStore DAT8 and DAT24 digital audio tape backup systems. In the event of a hard disk failure, data corruption or other disaster, the touch of a button restores the operating system, configuration, applications and data files to their status at the time the last backup tape was made. The HP SureStore DAT8, which holds 8 GB of compressed data on a cartridge, and the HP SureStore DAT24 with its 24-GB compressed capacity work with the top four PC server and workstation brands: Compaq, Dell, HP and IBM. However, the HP One- Button Disaster Recovery System is compatible only with certain HP products. In Japan, those are the HP NetServer E50, E60 and LC3 and the HP Kayak Personal Workstation line. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. priced the HP SureStore DAT8 at just under $1,700 and its larger counterpart at around $2,200. It is projecting combined sales at 30,000 units in the first year of marketing.
Clik! disks and drives were to be available in May from IOMEGA CORP.'s subsidiary. The disk is just half the size of a business card, but it can hold 40 MB of data. Both features make Clik! ideal for portable computers as well as such other products as digital cameras. The disk itself costs between $12 and $13. A complete Clik! package with an external drive, disk, connector cables and a PC Card goes for about $330.
IOMEGA CORP. expects to help SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD. claim another first for its Sega Dreamcast video game console: the ability to bring game playing, Web browsing and electronic mail together in an integrated system. The two are working together to adapt the Roy, Utah company's popular 100-MB Zip drive to the game console. The new product, which also will allow users to download game updates from the Web to Zip disks, will be offered as a Dreamcast option, with availability expected in the third quarter. It will be designed to work independently or in conjunction with Dreamcast games.
Corporate customers have two additional high-performance laser printer options. LEXMARK INTERNATIONAL, INC.'s subsidiary is marketing a network-ready version of its departmental Optra S 2455 for $3,500. This machine outputs 24 pages per minute with a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dots per inch. The Optra S 2455n supports not only the Windows 95/98, OS/2 and Unix operating systems but the Mac OS as well. At the same time, IBM JAPAN LTD. is offering a made-for-Japan laser printer that, at $2,000, is 37 percent less expensive than its predecessors. The IBM 5589-K20, derived from the Infoprint 20, prints 20 ppm even on A3 (11 inch x 17 inch) paper. It is compatible with Windows 95/98/NT.
New 3DFX INTERACTIVE, INC. distributor NISSHO ELECTRONICS CORP. expects to sell at least 200,000 versatile Voodoo 3 Series graphics accelerator boards in the first year of marketing. The San Jose, California supplier's products handle both data and 2D and 3D graphics in what is said to be half the time of competing products. The 2000AGP board costs roughly $170, while the even faster 3000AGP add-on lists for $230.
The new FMV-PRO Series IA of Windows NT workstations from FUJITSU, LTD. feature the E&S Lightning 1200 graphics subsystem from EVANS & SUTHERLAND COMPUTER CORP. Optimized to work with the Pentium III and the Pentium III Xeon processors, the board provides OpenGL acceleration performance for 3D CAD and content-creation applications. This is the first Fujitsu design win for the Salt Lake City, Utah manufacturer of simulation and training visual systems and workstation graphics systems, even though the computer maker is one of four distributors of E&S's 2D and 3D graphics boards.
The latest Japan-targeted laser printer from SEIKO EPSON CORP. is driven by a controller designed by embedded imaging systems supplier PEERLESS SYSTEMS CORP. The LP-9200PS3, a 20-ppm monochrome desktop printer, is the third collaboration between the El Segundo, California company and the big printer manufacturer. It uses the PeerlessPage Object-Based Imaging System and QuickPrint 1800 graphics imaging coprocessor to boost performance while providing low-cost Japanese-language capability.
The SecurID family of user authentication products from SECURITY DYNAMICS TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has a new member. The SecurID 1100 Smart Card, designed to combine security with convenience, enables organizations to use a single card to protect their network and applications from unauthorized access and for such other varied purposes as employee identification and electronic purses. The Bedford, Massachusetts firm's marketing unit has priced the SecurID 1100 from $60.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
Competitive pressures are forcing the closure of the 100-room Century Hyatt Nagoya hotel. The hotel management subsidiary of ODAKYU ELECTRIC RAILWAY CO., LTD. said the hotel, located in front of the Nagoya train station, would close at the end of March 2000. The company will continue to run the Century Hyatt hotel in Tokyo under a franchise agreement with HYATT CORP., which operates four other Hyatt International Hotels in Japan.
Like fellow movie theater operator AMC ENTERTAINMENT INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 350, November 1998, p. 16), UNITED CINEMAS INTERNATIONAL (JAPAN) K.K. sees Japan as a largely untapped market for multiplexes. The equally owned venture between UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, INC. and PARAMOUNT PICTURES CORP. expects by 2002 to have 25 theaters in operation with more than 300 screens. It currently runs three multiplexes with a total of 27 screens in Otsu, Shiga prefecture, Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture and Sapporo. Three more multiscreen theaters will open in 1999. They will be located in Niigata, Kishiwada, Osaka prefecture and Inazawa, Aichi prefecture.
The 20-year cooperative relationship between big international engineering and construction company KELLOGG BROWN & ROOT and JGC CORP., one of the three major Japanese plant engineering firms, on liquefied natural gas plants is in the process of being converted into a formal alliance. The pending move comes on the heels of the Dallas firm's decision to help a struggling CHIYODA CORP. restructure (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 16). News of that tie-up unnerved JGC executives, prompting them to clarify and strengthen their own company's relationship with KBR. By coincidence, an international consortium made up of KBR, JGC and three other companies won a $1.2 billion contract to build a LNG plant in Nigeria just days after reports surfaced that KBR and JGC were reviewing their ties.
Three American investors are partnering with MITSUI FUDOSAN CO., LTD. to buy 13 office buildings from JAPAN LANDIC CORP., a nonbank affiliate of nationalized LONG-TERM CREDIT BANK OF JAPAN, LTD. The purchase price is likely to be around $300 million. Japan's largest real estate developer will put up 10 percent of this money. DONALDSON, LUFKIN & JENRETTE INC., Los Angeles-headquartered SECURED CAPITAL CORP. and WESTBROOK PARTNERS LLC of New York City will equally split the other 90 percent of the cost. The 13 properties, a number of which are located in central Tokyo, will be placed in a trust. The four investors then will purchase shares of the trust through a company set up specifically for that purpose.
Another U.S. company sees commercial real estate in Japan as a strong long-term investment now that prices are close to bottoming out. Manhattan real estate investor EMMES & CO. LLC could spend as much as $166.7 million this year on office buildings in Tokyo and in neighboring metropolitan areas. Its subsidiary, formed last October, already has purchased a building in Yokohama for $16.7 million. According to current planning, Emmes will hold the properties it buys for seven to 15 years before selling them.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
SOLECTRON CORP., which already has made a name for itself as a contract manufacturer for the industrial electronics industry, now has the distinction of being the first U.S.-based electronics manufacturing solutions provider to offer design and manufacturing services in Japan. The Milpitas, California company opened what it calls a New Product Introduction center in Kanagawa prefecture. Designed to shorten a customer's product development cycle, the facility will provide a complete range of electronics premanufacturing services, such as design and layout, testing capabilities, prototype development and concurrent and component engineering. The 20,000- square-foot NPI center, which has three surface-mount manufacturing lines, will specialize in high-mix, low-volume printed circuit board and backplane assembly, complex high-mix, low-volume systems assembly and supply-base management services. The facility initially will be staffed by 54 people, including PCB assembly and component engineers and prototype manufacturing specialists. Solectron has worked directly with Japanese OEMs since it opened an in-country program office in 1992.
A number of experts believe that TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC.'s digital light processing technology, now limited to presentation projectors, could be the big winner in the next generation of rear-projection HDTVs because of its ability to produce bright, clear images and to scale to high resolutions. HITACHI, LTD., a major maker of projection TV sets, certainly is convinced of this potential. It has agreed to use DLP technology to develop the world's first all-digital, large-screen, rear-projection HDTV set. As part of the tie-up, TI will further develop its DLP technology to support HDTV applications with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The agreement also calls for TI and Hitachi to collaborate on the development of new, higher-brightness projection optics, HDTV signal-receiving technology and an image-processing large-scale integrated circuit. TI's DLP technology is based on an optical chip that has an array of microscopic mirrors mounted on a standard logic device. The mirrors operate as optical switches to create a high-resolution, full-color image. Hitachi expects to have HDTV sets incorporating this technology on the market in the United States and Japan in the second half of 2000.
The Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture subsidiary of AMP INC. is adding a compact version of the Dynamic D-3000 Series Connector to its lineup. This made-in-Japan connector system is designed for use with input/output and power circuits in the power and control boards of heavy electrical and factory automation equipment, PCs, numerical controllers, servodrivers and similar products. Approximately 8 million D- 3000s, which have both a wire-side and a board-side connector, have been sold, mostly in Japan.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
The Ministry of Justice has licensed an affiliate of GMAC COMMERCIAL MORTGAGE CORP. and three other firms as the first companies authorized to act as loan servicers. Until the law changed in February, only lawyers could perform such functions as collecting payments on property-backed loans for financial institutions. To expedite the disposal of the huge volume of bad loans on the books of banks and other financial institutions, however, the government decided to allow private businesses into the loan-collection field. These companies have the freedom to do such things as buy the real estate or other collateral securing a loan and sell it to a third party. For GMACCM, loan servicing is a natural extension of its business in the United States, where it is the largest servicer of commercial mortgages, and its operations in Japan, where it is purchasing property-back nonperforming loans (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 16).
Among the other companies lining up to be licensed by MOJ as loan servicers is a subsidiary recently formed by CERBERUS PARTNERS, L.P., a New York City hedge fund that invests mainly in depressed properties and bankrupt companies in the hope of profiting when prices rebound. The new unit will handle collections on real estate- backed bad loans purchased by Cerberus as well as by other foreign investors. Within a year, it expects to have 50 people on staff in Tokyo and another 30 in Osaka.
With more consumer finance companies deciding to outsource various operations, including affiliates of GE CAPITAL CORP. and ASSOCIATES FIRST CAPITAL CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, pp. 19-20), JACCS CO., LTD. sees a good business opportunity. The major Japanese consumer credit company has enlisted IBM JAPAN LTD. and a BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI, LTD. affiliate as minority partners (5 percent each) in a firm that will service consumer loans and other personal finance activities for small and regional consumer finance companies that cannot afford to invest in the needed computer systems. JACCS INFORMATION SYSTEM SERVICE CO., LTD. will spend as much as $583.3 million on hardware and software over the next two years to handle outsourced back-office functions. The venture expects its system to be fully operational by May 2001.
As part of its strategy of becoming the top lessor of semiconductor production, assembly and test equipment in Japan as well as in the United States, COMDISCO, INC. invested nearly $12.3 million in its COMITO EQUIPMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES venture with ITOCHU CORP. The capital injection raised the Rosemount, Illinois company's stake in the joint venture to 90 percent from the 60 percent it funded when Comito was formed in October 1997. To expand its business, Comito will put more emphasis on buying and leasing back to semiconductor makers already installed equipment. Now, most of its revenues comes from leasing new equipment. Next spring, the company plans to start selling off-lease, reconditioned equipment.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
Will Japanese manufacturers of a cross section of products sell direct rather than through traditional wholesale channels? Are consumers in Japan interested in buying in bulk to save money? COSTCO COS. INC. is finding out. It has opened the country's first membership warehouse club, a huge, 140,000-square-foot facility in the equally huge Torius Hisayama shopping center in a suburb of Fukuoka. The warehouse stocks roughly 4,000 items, including food, appliances, furniture, sporting goods and office supplies, most of which are made in Japan and are discounted by 10 percent to 40 percent. Costco's subsidiary reportedly is working with 600 or so suppliers. At least half are selling directly to the company, but the warehouse retailer is confident that it can raise that figure to 100 percent in time. Small companies, particularly individual retailers, make up Costco's initial target customer base. The company believes that the suburban Fukuoka location will do $60 million worth of business in the first year of operation. It plans to open a second warehouse next spring outside of either Tokyo or Osaka and to have 10 stores by 2004.
The American company that first shook up the retail scene in Japan, TOYS "R" US INC., is trying out a different floor plan in its 81st store, which is located in Kasugai, Aichi prefecture. The new store format is designed to make shopping easier by helping customers find what they are looking for more quickly. Products are grouped into 12 categories, each with its own color-coded section that is shown on signage around the store.
The first Mail Boxes Etc. location in Japan was scheduled to open in May in Tokyo. Last summer, San Diego, California-headquartered MAIL BOXES ETC. named a FAMILYMART CO., LTD. subsidiary as its master licensee (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 348, September 1998, p. 13). The convenience store franchiser see the growth of the SOHO (small office/home office) market fueling the development of more than 1,000 MBE locations over the next 10 years.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
IMPCO TECHNOLOGIES INC., which sells equipment that allows internal combustion engines to operate on propane, natural gas and other clean gaseous fuels, acquired certain assets of the Fukuoka-based alternative fuel systems division of MIKUNI CORP. The carburetor manufacturer has distributed the Cerritos, California company's products in Japan since 1994. With these operations as a base, IMPCO Technologies established a subsidiary in Fukuoka to serve the Asian market. Its products are designed for forklifts and other other materials-handling equipment, small portable to large stationary engines and motor vehicles.
With self-service gas stations legal in Japan, DRESSER INDUSTRIES, INC. is working with TOKICO LTD. to develop gas pumps for this market. The big Dallas energy equipment manufacturer has sold its own pumps for both manned and self-serve gas stations in Japan since early 1997. However, the tie-up will allow Dresser to tap the expertise of Tokico, which is a major supplier of flowmeters to the oil industry although it is best known as an automotive parts maker, as well as its marketing channels. Dresser's customers include EXXON CORP. and MOBIL CORP., both of which operate gas stations in Japan, while Tokico has ties to most domestic oil companies.
The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning business in Japan has a new, heavyweight player: TOSHIBA CARRIER CORP. The Fuji, Shizuoka prefecture joint venture represents the combination of TOSHIBA CORP.'s entire air conditioning equipment division, which had FY 1997 sales of $1.1 billion, and the TOYO CARRIER ENGINEERING CO., LTD. unit of CARRIER CORP., the world's biggest maker of HVAC systems with 1998 revenues of $6.9 billion. Carrier, a UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP. company, has a 40 percent stake in Toshiba Carrier (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 348, September 1998, p. 14). The Toshiba-Carrier alliance extends overseas. In the United Kingdom, Carrier now is the majority owner of a former Toshiba HVAC plant, while the American company and Toshiba Carrier are the equal owners of a Thai factory set up by the Japanese company. In addition, Carrier will integrate Toshiba's foreign HVAC sales organizations into its own operations. It also will offer Toshiba-branded HVAC products internationally as a complement to the Carrier lineup.
Given all the products that it has introduced recently, construction equipment supplier SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. obviously sees the growth of public works spending as an opportunity to expand sales. It has added two CATERPILLAR INC. hydraulic excavators to two redesigned REGA shovels put on the market earlier this year. All of these models feature a minimal rear-body projection for improved stability and safety. One of the new CAT products is in the 13-ton-class. Priced at $152,500, it has a 0.6-cubic-yard bucket. Sales of this excavator are projected at 300 units in the first year. The other new model, which lists for $233,300, is Shin Caterpillar's second entry in the 20-ton-class. It has a 1-cubic-yard bucket. Combined sales of the two 20- ton-class products are forecast at 150 units.
Boston's Z CORP. named TOYOTA TSUSHO CORP. as the exclusive distributor of its Z402 3D printer. Like other rapid prototyping systems, this machine produces solid objects measuring up to 10 x 8 x 8 inches from 3D models created by CAD data. However, the Z402 is said to operate considerably faster than other 3D production systems.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
MEADE INSTRUMENTS CORP. of Irvine, California, which bills itself as the world's leading manufacturer of astronomical telescopes for the serious amateur, gave Yokohama-based MIC INTERNATIONAL CORP. exclusive rights to market its ETX- 90EC Astro Telescope as well as the #497 Autostar Computer Controller, which, plugged into the telescope in place of the standard handheld electronic controller, automatically locates virtually any astronomical object in the sky. The telescope with its Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design costs $1,000; the computer controller adds another $250 to the price.
Two more probe products that result from the collaboration between HEWLETT- PACKARD CO. and FUTUREPLUS SYSTEMS CORP. of Colorado Springs, Colorado. They allow users of HP's logic analyzers to debug, test and verify the compliance of AGP 4X ports or the IEEE-1394 bus with industry standards at full speed. HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD. priced the HP FSI-60032 AGP 4X bus analyzer probe at $27,000. Sales of that product are forecast at 50 units a year. HP Japan expects to sell annually 150 of the HP FSI-60030 IEEE-1394 analyzer probes, which list for $10,800.
Probe cards manufactured by FORMFACTOR, INC. that interface with many popular testers for probing microprocessors and memory products are available through INNOTECH CORP. Probe cards are one of the Livermore, California company's three main products. FormFactor also is working with SHINKO ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES CO., LTD. to advance the semiconductor industry's first wafer-level back-end process, dubbed WOW for wafer on wafer (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 19).
TEKTRONIX, INC., the top supplier of high-performance arbitrary waveform generators used by design engineers to analyze the read-channel performance of disk drives, has a new product on the market through SONY TEKTRONIX CORP. The performance enhancements of the AWG 610 reflect in part a proprietary digital/analog converter developed by the Beaverton, Oregon test and measurement company's research labs, including its longtime joint venture in Japan.
The DigiRite 2000 laser direct imaging system for printed circuit board production will be distributed exclusively by ALTECH CO., LTD. under a contract with manufacturer ETEC SYSTEMS, INC. The Hayward, California company says that the system eliminates 80 percent of the manufacturing steps employed in the current PCB primary imaging process and simultaneously increases yields. This is possible, Etec adds, because the DigiRite 2000 eliminates job setup and operates like a networked laser printer, imaging the circuit design directly onto a PCB panel. Altech has installed a DigiRite 2000 system in its demonstration facilities in Tokyo.
SELA USA INC., a Santa Clara, California manufacturer of sample preparation systems for the semiconductor industry, has completed the installation of its first MC500 system in Japan. The chipmaker's name was not disclosed, but it had bought other equipment from SELA before contracting for the $200,000 or so MC500 system. This system, introduced last December, performs automatic scanning electron microscopy preparation of both die and wafer-level samples within 15 minutes per sample. Earlier this year, SELA selected a new distributor to build on its growing success in the Japanese market (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 21).
For months, IMATRON INC. has complained that demand for its Ultrafast CT (computed tomography) scanner has been strong but that a lack of financing for potential buyers has hurt sales significantly (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 17). Help finally has arrived. The South San Francisco, California manufacturer has worked out a deal with MARUBENI CORP. under which the trader will provide capital to the company's distributor to finance purchases of Ultrafast CT scanners from Imatron.
COLORADO MEDTECH, INC., a Boulder, Colorado provider of advanced medical equipment, has contracted with HITACHI MEDICAL CORP. to add hardware and software enhancements to HMC's STRATIS II short-bore, high-field magnetic resonance system. The goal is to incorporate in the imaging system such cutting-edge capabilities as high-power, high-speed gradients, rapid imaging techniques and the latest cardiac applications. Colorado MEDtech and HMC are coordinating the R&D work through HITACHI MEDICAL SYSTEMS AMERICA, INC. of Twinsburg, Ohio, which sells and services Hitachi Medical's MR equipment in the United States.
Two U.S. companies are counting on HITACHI MEDICAL CORP.'s strong position in Japan's medical diagnostic imaging market to gain significant entry for their products. ADAC LABORATORIES, the world leader in nuclear medicine and radiation therapy planning systems, named HMC the exclusive distributor of its nuclear medicine systems. This line includes nuclear medicine gamma cameras, related computer systems and application software. HMC also will assume service responsibility for ADAC's installed equipment base as well as install the Milpitas, California maker's dual-head cameras and provide training and field service. At the same time, ADAC and HMC are exploring the possibility of collaborating on nuclear medicine technology. ATL ULTRASOUND, a leader in diagnostic ultrasound technology, also has tapped HMC to distribute its HDI 5000cv system. The Bothell, Washington company claims that this $1 million system gives clinicians unprecedented diagnostic imaging capabilities, thanks to breakthrough developments in high-definition imaging.
Telemedicine has multiple benefits for patients, doctors, hospitals and insurers. KLT TELECOM, INC. of Chantilly, Virginia can deliver the benefits of telemedicine as well as teleradiology through its VIEWSEND Medical line of Windows NT-compatible, PC- based medical imaging and videoconferencing systems and integrated VIEWSEND Medical software. KLT has teamed with MELON SYSTEM CORP. to bring this technology to Japan. The Tokyo-based company, in turn, signed FUJI MEDICAL SYSTEMS CO., LTD., which has strong marketing ties to Japan's 6,000 or so hospitals, to distribute VIEWSEND Medical. Depending on the model, the system costs between $58,300 and $66,700. Between them, Melon and Fuji Medical believe that they can sell 30 VIEWSEND Medical systems a year.
HOGY MEDICAL CO., LTD. has formed a 60-person team to market some 200 patient- care products manufactured by DEROYAL INDUSTRIES, INC. The Powell, Tennessee company's diverse line of what are known as orthopedic soft goods includes cervical collars, knee immobilizers and ankle splints as well as products designed specifically for athletes, such as bracing. Hogy also is marketing supplies for fracture management and various splints, plus a selection of products for wound care. The Tokyo-based distributor hopes to build DeRoyal's products into a $4.2 million annual business initially. In the future, Hogy wants to expand the selection to roughly 5,000 products. DeRoyal is the largest supplier of orthopedic soft goods to hospitals and clinics in the United States.
The exclusive global marketing alliance established in 1995 between reagent supplier DADE BEHRING INC. of Deerfield, Illinois and SYSMEX CORP., a Kobe maker of hemostasis analyzers, has been extended. To date, the partners have installed more than 3,000 hemostasis systems in laboratories around the world. These analyzers and reagents are used to test the ability of a person's blood to form and dissolve clots. Four Sysmex hemostasis analyzers, scaled to meet the requirements of small-, medium- and high-volume laboratories, are available through the pair.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. reportedly is weighing the possibility of making next-generation system chips for digital TV sets, personal digital assistants and other coming digital personal electronics products at its Shiga prefecture semiconductor plant. The project, if given the go-ahead, would involve an initial investment of $83.3 million to renovate part of IBM JAPAN LTD.'s existing wafer fabrication facilities. Operations would start in 2002. The current version of IBM's system chip, which combines high-speed data-processing capabilities with memory capacity, is based on 0.18-micron design rules. It also features the company's proprietary copper interconnection technology.
With demand for flash memories continuing to climb, especially for use in cellular phones, ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC. and FUJITSU, LTD. are said to considering another expansion of their equally owned FUJITSU AMD SEMICONDUCTOR LTD. wafer fab in Fukushima prefecture. The joint venture's two lines currently have the capacity to make 26 million flash memories a month. This output is split between 8-megabit and 16-megabit parts, although volume production of 32-megabit is scheduled to start this summer. On the drawing boards is a $125 million capacity jump to 26 million flash memories a month. AMD and Fujitsu, which divide the factory's output down the middle, are estimated to control 40 percent or so of the world flash memory market. Another transpacific alliance, this one between INTEL CORP. and SHARP CORP., reportedly has a similar share.
Japanese companies making notebook computers for the value-conscious segment of the market have a new processor option from INTEL CORP.'s subsidiary. The mobile Celeron processor running at 333 MHz, which contains 128 KB of integrated L2 cache, not only delivers a higher performance than its 266-MHz and 300-MHz counterparts but also lowers power consumption and provides a smaller package. International pricing for the part in quantities of 1,000 units is $160 for a BGA (ball-grid array) package or $215 for the Intel Mobile Module.
TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC.'s marketing unit had a late May release data for a pair of video D/A converters. The 8-bit THS8134 part costs $6.80 per unit in volumes of 1,000, while the 10-bit THS8133 D/A converter lists for $8.90 each in the same quantity.
Leveraging its FLEX 10K architecture while moving to 0.22-micron processing, programmable logic device manufacturer ALTERA CORP. put out the higher- performing, lower-power-using 2.5-volt EPF10K100E. The part features 100,000 gates of logic and nearly 50,000 bits of embedded RAM. Pricing of the part, which is available in several packages, starts at $33 in 50,000-unit quantities.
The XpressFlow 2080 Ethernet switching chipset from VERTEX NETWORKS INC. is among the additional communications-oriented products from the Irvine, California company that MCM JAPAN LTD. is distributing. The chipset brings advanced capabilities to a wide variety of applications, network switch sizes and speeds. For instance, it allows designers to mix and match port combinations between 10 megabits per second, 100 Mbps, 622 Mbps and Gigabit Ethernet speeds at will.
Handsets developed by HITACHI, LTD., SANYO ELECTRIC CO., LTD. and TOSHIBA CORP. for Japan's now nationwide cdmaOne network all incorporate fifth-generation MSM3000 Mobile Station Modem chipsets from QUALCOMM INC., the pioneer of (code-division multiple access) digital wireless technology. The chipset meets the minimum requirements set by cdmaOne services providers DDI CORP. and NIPPON IDOU TSUSHIN CORP. for standby time (150 hours) and talk time (120 minutes). It also improves power efficiency and call clarity.
The industry's first LCD/CRT 2D graphics controller with embedded DRAM will be available in production quantities in the third quarter for digital consumer electronic appliances. The MQ-200, developed by MEDIAQ INC. of Santa Clara, California, is designed for embedded systems and Windows CE devices with demanding graphics display requirements and stringent power-consumption specifications. It supports a number of processors, including HITACHI, LTD.'s SH-4, the VR41xx family from NEC CORP. and the TOSHIBA CORP. Tx39xx line. In the United States at least, MediaQ priced the MQ-200 at $28 in 1,00-unit volumes.
IMP, INC. have made available a Japanese-language version of its IMP525 electroluminescent lamp driver IC data sheet. By midyear, the San Jose, California company expects to have its complete EL lamp driver data book translated into Japanese. The IMP525 features power-saving circuitry and operation down to 0.9 volts, which extends the useful operating life of battery-powered portable systems. IMP, which manufactures analog ICs for data communications interface and power- management applications in computer, communications and control systems, is represented in Japan by MACNICA, INC.
In a major boost for its power-saving, low-noise Reduced Swing Differential Signal digital interface technology for XGA TFT LCD panels, NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTOR CORP. licensed this know-how to SHARP CORP., one of the biggest makers of flat panel displays. Both companies will make chipset components for XGA TFT LCD panels incorporating RSDS technology, with the typical chipset consisting of National's universal interface XGA panel timing controller and Sharp's XGA column driver. National notes that the bus interface between the panel timing controller and column drivers traditionally has been a big source of electromagnetic interference and power dissipation within FPDs due to the use of TTL (transistor-transistor logic) signaling on this bus. With the RSDS bus interface, however, these problems are reduced. That opens the way to larger and higher-resolution TFT LCD panels.
In the meantime, NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTOR CORP. released worldwide a triple monolithic driver chip designed for high-resolution color CRTs. The Santa Clara, California company says that the high-voltage LM2402 driver is especially well-suited for displays with UXGA (1600 x 1200) resolution. The part is priced at $6.00 each in 1,00-unit quantities.
The world leader in power transistors, INTERNATIONAL RECTIFIER CORP., has given NIHON INTER ELECTRONICS CORP. rights to market its power MOSFETs (metal- oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors) and IGBTs (insulated gate bipolar transistors). Power transistors are found in communications equipment, computers and other office equipment, automated production equipment motor vehicles and appliances. The Kanagawa prefecture-based company, Japan's biggest maker of discrete devices, is forecasting sales of IR's products at $3.3 million to $4.2 million in the first year and triple those figures after three years. Interestingly, International Rectifier started Nihon Inter Electronics in the late 1950s in partnership with KYOSAN ELECTRIC MANUFACTURING CO., LTD. but later sold out.
Like its parent, the subsidiary of VARIAN ASSOCIATES, INC., perhaps best known as the world leader in ion implanters (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 344, May 1998, p. 18), was reorganized into three separate, product-specific companies. The semiconductor production equipment business, headquartered locally in Yokohama, now is VARIAN SEMICONDUCTOR EQUIPMENT ASSOCIATES, INC. The Palo Alto, California manufacturer's health-care systems operations go under the VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS, INC. name, while its analytical instruments business is known as VARIAN, INC. The Japanese units of the latter two companies are based in Tokyo.
Since 1984, the Semiconductor Equipment Operations unit of EATON CORP. has made, sold and serviced ion implantation equipment in Japan through a company equally owned with SUMITOMO HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. Now, Beverly, Massachusetts-SEO has given SHI marketing and support responsibility for its full line of thermal processing equipment. These products are Eaton's Summit and Reliance rapid thermal processors and its Compact II fast ramp vertical furnace.
With much of the world's supply of memory modules coming from Japanese manufacturers, memory module test equipment supplier TANISYS TECHNOLOGY, INC. has decided that it needs to be represented in Japan. The Austin, Texas company has handed the job of selling, servicing and supporting its DarkHorse Systems line to KANEMATSU SEMICONDUCTOR CORP. That firm already has installed DarkHorse equipment, which spans four major products, at its customer support facility in Yokohama.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
Building on its position as the developer of the world's first and largest moving and relocation Web site, VIRTUAL RELOCATION.COM, INC. has teamed with NISSHO IWAI CORP. to bring this unique service to Japanese customers. The Portland, Oregon company and the trader first will create a Japanese-language relocation and travel Web portal targeting people traveling in or relocating to the United States. The partners will seek exclusive partners within the travel and relocation industry to provide content for their venture. In addition to the core menu, the portal will provide access to information on Japanese-speaking travel agencies, real estate agents and restaurants. It also will contain travel guides. To get the portal off the ground in July, Nissho Iwai will ask the thousands of people who work for it and affiliated companies to use the service.
Another new Web portal idea is being promoted by MAXNET, INC. of Freehold, New Jersey and WORLD CLASS MARKETING, INC. of New York City. The two will launch MaxPlanet.com-Japan, emulating Maxnet's MaxPlanet Internet multimedia marketing and public relations portal. The site will combine advertising of all kinds with listings of local merchants and services, sorted by both type and location.
Taking part in one of the hottest segments of the Japanese on-line market, the local unit of Reston, Virginia-based ICSA, INC., which offers network security services (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 351, December 1998, p. 23), and Tokyo's VAGABOND CO., LTD. have merged their separate information services into a single weekly e-magazine. For $7 a month, Scan Security Wire combines Vagabond's Scan new product and technology bulletin for information security professionals with ICSA's Japanese-language Security Wire electronic daily on computer hacking, privacy and encryption. The new publication has assumed Scan's existing on-line readership base of about 370,000. The partners expect the merged product to attract an even wider audience.
BEA SYSTEMS, INC. announced that YAZAKI CORP., a manufacturer of wire harnesses and other automotive parts, had selected its BEA WebLogic server to develop and deploy an on-line ordering system. The San Jose, California firm's Web application development and server environment will be used to integrate Yazaki's global ordering, purchase management, inventory and shipping systems into a single Web site. Local developer EC-ONE, INC., a BEA WebLogic service partner, claims that the site is the first one in Japan built entirely from Enterprise Java Beans, or business- logic modules written in the Java language. .....In another facet of this deal, software from ENCOMMERCE, INC. was chosen by YAZAKI CORP. to secure its Web site. The Santa Clara, California firm's getAccess controls and manages general access to the site. It also allows authorized users to see only the information that matches their access privileges when ordering parts on-line. At the same time, Yazaki can securely track each order until it is delivered.
UNISYS CORP.'s subsidiary has started a unique service aimed at companies that want to take advantage of the latest Internet and e-commerce technologies but do not want to develop the needed resources in-house. Subscribers to NIHON UNISYS, LTD.'s OnNet Solution can have their entire corporate information infrastructure reviewed and reengineered for doing business in the Internet Age. Hardware, software, integration and after-sale service are all included in the package.
With the backing of ZERON GROUP, a merchant banking and venture capital firm, TECHWAVE INC. aims to build a presence in Japan for e-commerce services. The Seattle company, the operator of ShopNow.com and MyShopNow.com, provides creative development, production, merchant support, and marketing and distribution services on an outsourced basis, advertising itself as a end-to-end e-commerce provider. Beside providing capital, Zeron will use its offices in Tokyo and New York City to develop clients for TechWave's services.
POINTCAST INC.'s unit has rolled out the latest version of its media streaming and information distribution channel software, Pointcast Network. Besides being fully localized for Japanese users, version 2.7 supports the latest Internet protocols and gives users access to more than 700 news and information providers. The Sunnyvale, California company's latest Pointcast Network version also sports improved user tools to filter and sort through the flood of Internet-based information.
The author of the OS-9 embedded operating system, Des Moines, Iowa-based MICROWARE SYSTEMS CORP., and ACCESS CO., LTD. have signed a software development pact to integrate their offerings for the embedded and ultrathin client markets. The first product is a port of Tokyo-headquartered Access' NetFront microweb browser and JV-Lite small-memory-footprint Java virtual machine to Microware's OS-9 operating system. Since OS-9 already runs on HITACHI, LTD.'s popular SH-3 processor line for embedded applications, the partners hope to license the ported Internet-access tools, which start at $33,300, to 100 developers of SH-3-based appliances in the first year.
Complementing its family of integrated firewall, traffic management and virtual private network hardware (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 16), NETSCREEN TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has released a VPN client package for laptop computers. HITACHI SEIBU SOFTWARE, LTD., which already sells the Santa Clara, California firm's NetScreen integrated network security appliances, will handle distribution of NetScreen Remote. Licenses start at roughly $20 per computer for up to 3,000 users.
Hoping that the concept will prove as popular in Japan as it has in the United States, LYRIS TECHNOLOGIES INC. and local partner ACTIVEWAVE TECHNOLOGIES have introduced the first high-powered e-mail list server package fully translated into Japanese. The Oakland, California firm's Lyris List Server can distribute more than 100,000 messages an hour. and it allows users to view and post messages via a Web browser interface. The localized Lyris list server also supports all Japanese e-mail encoding standards as well as Japanese NNTP newsgroups. Despite these strengths, it is easy to manage. ActiveWave says that a wide range of Japanese organizations, including companies of all sizes, academic institutions and on-line publishers, have expressed interest in the new software.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. expects to sell 500 copies of version 2.0 of Firehunter, its end-to-end network service management solution. Aimed at small and midsized companies as well as large customers, the software actively monitors Internet and network performance, alerting Internet services providers and network administrators when slowdowns threaten to violate service-level agreements signed with customers. Firehunter, which starts at $20,000 for small and midsized users and $45,500 for corporate customers, is tightly integrated with HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s OpenView family of network management products.
Just five months after launching a company with 16 Japanese investors to distribute on an exclusive basis its public-key infrastructure solutions (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 21), Plano, Texas-based ENTRUST TECHNOLOGIES INC. released a localized client version of its PKI security system for Internet transactions, Entrust/PKI 4.0. The Entrust/Entelligence 4.0J front-end application has been upgraded to handle the double-byte Japanese language encodings. It allows local users to easily access and modify their personal electronic identity, which is stored on a centrally managed server. SECOM INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. and NTT DATA CORP. are distributing Entrust/Entelligence 4.0J.
The local arm of VERISIGN, INC. has increased its ability to offer secure 128-bit encryption technology to a wider range of companies. To its existing customer base of financial institutions, VeriSign now can install its Global Server ID digital certificate authority on servers run by most Japanese affiliates of American firms, insurers and many health-care companies (but not pharmaceutical and biochemical businesses).
Fairfield, Connecticut-based COMPETITIVE TECHNOLOGIES, INC. announced that client NTRU CRYPTOSYSTEMS, INC. of Providence, Rhode Island is ready to deliver its Tumbler high-speed encryption technology to Japanese customers. While providing levels of security comparable to other systems, Tumbler calculates encryption keys up to 800 times faster than rival products and decrypts data as much as 100 times more quickly. Some of the first companies likely to buy Tumbler are SONY CORP., which owns a stake in NTRU Cryptosystems (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 8), and MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., a CTI client.
A localized version of OpenVMS v7.2, a legacy of its aquisition of Digital Equipment Corp., has been issued by COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary. The general- purpose, multiuser, mainframe-class operating system runs on VAX machines as well as systems powered by the Alpha 64-bit RISC processor. Version 7.2 claims many new features to ease interoperability with Windows NT systems. It also incorporates the Galaxy clustering technology for symmetric multiprocessing. License fees start at $470 for a single user.
IBM JAPAN LTD. and INTEL CORP.'s subsidiary have established a support center for the Linux operating system, further boosting the open-source OS's claim to being a serious alternative for corporate deployment. The center will help clients with both hardware and software questions and training. It also will launch a Linux Partners program for software developers interested in writing to the open-source system. Some of IBM Japan's servers come bundled with Red Hat Linux from Durham, North Carolina RED HAT SOFTWARE, INC.
To boost licensing revenues from its pSOS embedded operating system, INTEGRATED SYSTEMS, INC. has agreed to help market HITACHI, LTD.'s high-end SH-4 processor family. The subsidiary of Sunnyvale, California-based ISI will work with Hitachi to develop embedded applications for pSOS-powered SH-4s and pool its sales efforts with the electronics maker.
Continuing its drive to be the glue of heterogeneous networks, IBM JAPAN LTD. has released MQSeries Integrator. Currently available only in English, the product dynamically transforms and reformats content produced by one application before routing it to its destination according to user-determined rules. Not only does MQSeries Integrator ease the integration of legacy and new computer systems and applications, the software also makes it easier to add, extend or replace both hardware and software. MQSeries Integrator pricing begins at $171,800.
Start-up NEXT NETS CORP. of Tokyo has selected INSIGNIA SOLUTIONS INC.'s Jeode software development platform to add Java-compatibility to the next iteration of its Cessna mobile terminal system. Cessna is a hyperthin client for Windows CE that lets handheld devices transparently run Windows 95/98/NT applications on remote Windows NT servers. Fremont, California-based Insignia hopes that the Next Nets win validates Jeode as a Windows CE development environment in the fast-growing Japanese market.
Through its subsidiary, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. released the latest versions of its Sun WorkShop 32/64-bit integrated development environment. Version 5.0, available initially in English but scheduled to be converted to Japanese in the near future, offers variants for C, C++ and Fortran that run on both Sun's own SPARC-powered workstations and Intel-based machines. The latter costs $5,700, while the SPARC version goes for $6,800.
COMPLETE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, INC. and NEC CORP. are tightening their business ties. Already in charge of NEC's Core Banking integrated software solution for financial institutions, the Farmington Hills, Michigan company now will help the electronics giant build its APBASE application development framework. It will be used to develop all future NEC software products. The work will be carried out at NEC's Tokyo headquarters as well as at CBSI's development center in India.
IBM JAPAN LTD. has strengthened integration among the three component modules load balancing, caching proxy and Andrew Files System of its WebSphere Web application server and released it as version 2.0. Intended for mixed computing environments, the latest version of WebSphere supports a wide range of protocols and formats. It also provides greater control over the delivery of network services and easier installation and management. Basic packages start at $1,100, while advanced bundles begin at $8,000.
Similarly, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. updated its Web application server to bolster reliability, scalability and performance. NetDynamics 5 brings the Web portal metaphor to business processes, allowing firms to aggregate and integrate business applications and deliver them across the Internet. Currently available only in English, NetDynamics 5 costs between $21,300 to $35,400.
Unfazed by its big-name competitors, HAHT SOFTWARE, INC. reports that its Web application development and server package is selling well in Japan and in the rest of Asia. Thanks to the assistance of strategic partners FUJITSU, LTD. and Nagoya-based HITACHI CHUBU SOFTWARE, LTD., sales of the fully localized HAHTsite 3.1J have been so strong that the Raleigh, North Carolina firm opened a Tokyo support office in March. Hitachi Chubu Software has a nonexclusive contract to distribute HAHTsite 3.1J worldwide, while Fujitsu is promoting the Web application development environment along with its INTERSTAGE object-transaction monitor for Web sites.
Version 2.0 of MICROSOFT CORP.'s Systems Management Server network- and client-management solution is on the market. Priced at $1,900, SMS v2.0 includes full suites of planning tools, deployment tools and diagnostic tools for centrally managing networks and clients. It also has a complete set of integrated modules for managing the entire Windows family of software products. The package handles as well hardware and software inventory, software metering and remote diagnostics. Finally, SMS v2.0 provides a migration path to Windows 2000, Microsoft's next iteration of the widely used operating system.
Coming in June from the local arm of TIVOLI SYSTEMS INC. is a new version of its enterprise information systems management solution. Pricing starts at $98,800. Tivoli Global Enterprise Manager v2.2.1 employs a new business-focused management paradigm. It views the overall health of the corporate computing environment and provides a wide range of tools to manage and integrate disparate applications, data and operating systems.
Corporate network administrators now can better assure the delivery of business- critical applications with CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s QoS Policy Manager. Designed to work with the quality-of-service mechanisms built into the world networking equipment leader's network switches, the software allocates bandwidth according to user- determined rules and policies. QoS Policy Manager also enables companies to provide data, video and voice services over their networks without compromising the performance of key applications.
COMPUWARE CORP.'s competing network application management products, EcoSCOPE and EcoTOOLS, are available from a growing list of distributors, including most recently NTT SOFTWARE CORP. and NETPOINT CORP. EcoSCOPE, a key component in the Farmington Hills, Michigan company's EcoSYSTEMS enterprise applications service level management suite, identifies, analyzes and troubleshoots performance problems with applications. It now is distributed by nine firms. For its part, EcoTOOLS plans, monitors, manages and reports on network application availability. Three companies distribute it, including NTT Software and NetPoint
Focusing just on software management, WRQ, INC.'s Express Software Manager 4.0 now is available entirely in Japanese. The Express Inventory module registers and tracks all hardware and software on a network, while the Express Meter component continuously measures software usage. Distributor CYBERNET SYSTEMS CO., LTD. is offering the modules separately as well as bundled, with license fees starting at $85 per seat for 25 to 125 terminals and dropping to $50 per seat for 12,500 or more machines. Cybernet Systems hopes to license as many as 20,000 terminals in the next year.
A network analysis and maintenance package from AVESTA TECHNOLOGIES, INC. can be acquired through MARUBENI SOLUTIONS CORP. The New York City firm's Trinity solution seeks out and analyzes network issues, automatically assesses their current and projected impacts and flags them for network administrators. The Japanese-language version of Trinity lists $125,000. Marubeni Solutions sees first- year sales hitting $2.5 million, while over three years, it expects Trinity-related revenues to top $16.7 million.
NETSUITE DEVELOPMENT CORP. has chosen MARUBUN CORP. as the master distributor for its NetSuite 5.0 network resource management software. The software easily and quickly probes complex networks, divining their hardware, software and data resources. It then can document the existing network, help administrators plan network changes or improvements, and assist with network management duties. Concord, Massachusetts-based NetSuite also reports strong demand for its Network2000, which diagnoses a network's exposure to Year 2000 problems.
At prices ranging from $4,300 to $5,000-plus, a new, seven-component suite of network security utilities from Rockville, Maryland-based AXENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC. is on the market through exclusive distributor NISSHIN ELECTRIC CO., LTD. Headed by the latest version (5.0) of Enterprise Security Manager, the suite includes the NetRecon network security probe, the Intruder Alert breach detector, the NetProwler network intrusion monitor, the Defender two-factor authenticator, the PowerVPN remote communications securer and the Security Briefcase remote access security manager. Nisshin Electric is forecasting sales of AXENT products at $25 million in FY 1999.
CHECK POINT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES, LTD. has granted FUJITSU, LTD. the right to distribute its full line of network security tools, including Check Point Firewall-1, Check Point VPN-1 and Check Point FloodGate-1 bandwidth manager. Fujitsu also has become a member of the Redwood City, California firm's Open Platform for Secure Enterprise Connectivity Alliance, an initiative aimed at easing interoperability among security software products. .....Separately, the local arm of CHECK POINT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES, LTD. has released a new version of Meta IP, its enterprise Internet Protocol address and name-space management package. Version 4.1, which goes for $1,000, extends the software's management capabilities from Windows NT to Unix platforms. Meta IP is designed to work with and enhance the capabilities and the performance of Check Point's entire family of enterprise network security products.
To combat more sophisticated attacks on secure computer data, TRIPWIRE SECURITY SYSTEMS, INC. reports growing demand for its Tripwire file integrity assessment tool. The Portland, Oregon firm recently inked an accord with MATSUSHITA INTER- TECHNO CO., LTD. to open and operate a support center for Tripwire users. The package currently is available for the Solaris and Linux flavors of Unix as well as for Windows NT.
For those companies willing to pay for it, IBM JAPAN LTD. is ready to lend its vast experience at countering computer viruses. The new IBM Japan service monitors a customer's computer system 24 hours a day to detect and eliminate harmful viruses. A company with 10 servers and 250 clients will have to pay about $7,700 a month for this help. The network-based service relies on SYMANTEC CORP.'s Norton AntiVirus utility and mirrors a deal between Symantec and IBM Japan's parent.
NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC.'s subsidiary released an update of its popular VirusScan Enterprise package. Version 5.9.1 for Macintosh is aimed at corporate computing environments that include desktop machines running the Mac OS as well as those operating in a Windows 95/98/NT environment. A one-year license for 10 machine is $560, rising to $4,100 for 100 terminals. ..... SYMANTEC CORP.'s marketing unit fired right back, releasing a new version of Norton AntiVirus for Microsoft Exchange 1.5. The license fee for the package, aimed at small businesses, is $2,100 for up to 50 users.
To save time and money and to increase productivity, TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. has decided to standardize its e-mail, document and information-sharing systems using LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s Notes/Domino groupware. Lotus Development's subsidiary will supply and install Notes groupware and Domino server software throughout Toyota's Japanese operations, eventually linking some 30,000 staffers in a common collaborative and messaging environment.
To help keep its software at the center of corporate business intelligence activities, SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY, INC.'s subsidiary posted Seagate Worksheet v7 client software for on-line analytical processing on its Web site for free downloading. Easy to install and configure, Seagate Worksheet v7 provides intuitive OLAP access to the Scotts Valley, California firm's Seagate Crystal Info and Seagate Holos families of business analysis packages.
SAS INSTITUTE INC. has signed a ninth firm to sell its data warehouse/data-mining construction and operation software. CSK CORP. and the Cary, North Carolina company's marketing unit will cooperate to offer comprehensive data-mining solutions to Japanese clients. .....Separately, SAS INSTITUTE INC. announced plans to release a Japanese version of its popular data-mining engine, Enterprise Miner 3.0, in August. Although it can apply sophisticated analysis tools to raw data, Enterprise Miner's straightforward graphical user interface makes it easy for nontechnical users to apply the software's sample, explore, modify, model and assess processes.
CINCOM SYSTEMS, INC. has struck a development and marketing deal with NTT DATA CORP. to create new products based on the former UniSQL Corp.'s object relational data base technology. After that company ceased operating in 1997, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Cincom purchased UniSQL's global customer base. It has rights to market UniSQL software worldwide except in Japan, where NTT Data holds the franchise. The UniSQL Server combines object and relational data base technologies, giving users the ease-of-use benefits of the former and the access to established skill sets of the latter.
Just four months after it opened a sales office, document archiving and retrieval software maker MOBIUS MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS, INC. upgraded its presence to a full subsidiary. The Rye, New York firm's Mobius Electronic Document Warehouse package is being selected by companies because it can integrate large volumes of diverse data, make them available over the Internet and interface tightly with customer service and enterprise resource planning packages from other vendors. ASAHI BANK, LTD., JAPAN AIRLINES CO., LTD. and MITSUBISHI CORP. have deployed Mobius EDW with the help of such distributors and integrators as KANEMATSU ELECTRONICS LTD.
Also raising its local profile is supply chain management software supplier MATRIXONE, INC., which established a subsidiary in Tokyo. Together with master distributor MARUBENI SOLUTIONS CORP. and second-tier partners NIPPON STEEL CORP. and ZUKEN INC., the new operation will market, service and support MatrixOne's Matrix Global Advantage product information and process life-cycle solution. The Chelmsford, Massachusetts firm's customer list already includes MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. and KDD CORP. have signed a letter of intent to cooperate in the development and sale of supply chain management solutions to the distribution industry. Now the road, the pending partners envision working on software to support sales, production and accounting as well to come up with solutions for financial institutions and credit-card companies. The two hope that the combination of KDD's telecommunications expertise with HP Japan's strengths in computer and e- commerce technologies will drive sales of jointly developed SCM software and services to $83.3 million over the next few years.
In a move designed to expand direct and channel sales of its infrastructure management solutions, PEREGRINE SYSTEMS, INC. opened a Tokyo subsidiary. Its packages that help customers reduce the total cost of ownership and boost productivity include Asset Center, which manages assets, procurement, leasing and costs; ServiceCenter, which proactively manages enterprise computing resources; SPAN*FM, an integrated system for designing, planning and managing plant and facility operations; and FleetAnywhere, a suite of programs that track the operations and costs of transportation assets. The San Diego, California firm already has enlisted the support of MITSUBISHI CORP. as a sales, support and service channel (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 27).
Menlo Park, California-based SIEBEL SYSTEMS, INC. signed HITACHI SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CO., LTD. as a systems integrator and support partner for its complete line of Internet-savvy, enterprise-level front-office applications. Siebel eBusiness, Sales Enterprise, Service Enterprise, Call Center, Field Service, Marketing Enterprise, InterActive and Product Configurator are scalable packages that seamlessly unite firms with third-party resellers, service providers, business partners and customers.
FIREPOND, INC. has tightened ties to the information technology and systems integration division of HITACHI CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY CO., LTD. by granting it the right to resell the Mankato, Minnesota firm's interactive sales force automation software. FirePond and the HCM unit have been working together since 1997 when they brought out a Japanese edition of FirePond's Signature SFA package. The latest agreement lets HCM resell the multilanguage, multicurrency Signature Plus package worldwide through its 200 offices and 1,400 sales representatives. HCM has used Signature Plus, which costs $4,800 per client, to increase "face time" with customers and to slash the time needed to generate sales proposals to just 30 minutes.
DENDRITE INTERNATIONAL, INC.'s selection of FUJITSU MIDDLEWARE LTD. as a distribution partner has paid off quickly in the form of contracts with TOKYO TANABE CO., LTD. and the subsidiary of NOVARTIS AG. The two drugmakers have hired Fujitsu Middleware to install and integrate Dendrite's J Force sales force effectiveness solution. J Force is the Japanese version of Force Pharma, the Morristown, New Jersey provider's SFA package tailored for the special needs of the pharmaceutical industry. J Force already has been installed by other local drug companies, including KISSEI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD., TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. and SCHERING-PLOUGH CORP.'s unit.
Jumping into the front-office applications market, IBM JAPAN LTD. released Corepoint Contact Center, Custom Edition. The customer relations package is the first product of COREPOINT TECHNOLOGIES, an Indianapolis software company that INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. formed last year. The centerpiece of the Corepoint Global Business Partner program, Contact Center reduces telephone support costs and improves service quality while increasing customer interaction and loyalty.
The latest version of 3D Studio MAX, to be released this summer by AUTODESK, INC.'s marketing unit, promises to improve workflow for animators and production studios. Priced at $4,200, version 3 of the object-oriented animation system for the Windows NT operating environments is even more customizable, works with other applications, offers improved rendering engines and a broader range of organic modeling options.
SYMANTEC CORP.'s subsidiary has added another source for its popular Norton AntiVirus software. Under the pact, MITSUI & CO., LTD. not only will distribute the PC utility but will provide technical support to both third-party retailers and end-users. .....In a similar move to bolster customer support, NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC.'s local arm has hired Tokyo-based SOURCE CORP. to focus on individuals who purchase its antivirus package. Source, which has built a strong base of corporate customers, hopes its support for NAI's VirusScan and PGP encryption software will broaden its market share.
For aspiring programmers, MICROSOFT CORP. has updated its computer-based learning modules for its popular software languages. The $115 Microsoft Mastering Visual Basic 6.0 covers all of the software giant's latest technologies, including ActiveX Data Objects, COM components and Web browser controls. The self-paced series also contains thousands of programming examples and prewritten objects to help speed the learning process.
SPRUCE TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has licensed one of its DVD authoring software to PIONEER ELECTRONIC CORP. for use in the its audio/visual products in Japan. Pioneer also will translate the San Jose, California company's DVDConductor into Japanese as well as distribute and support the multimedia software. DVDMaestro, which already is available locally (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 24), has built a position in the high end of the DVD authoring market, while DVDConductor is a new product aimed at low-end users.
EXTENSIS CORP. Portland, Oregon has added a second distributor for its multimedia products. Tokyo-based SOFTWARE TOO CORP. joins WINNINGRUN SOFTWARE, INC. as local sources for the $275 PhotoGraphics 1.0J advanced text and graphics for Adobe PhotoShop package; PreFlight Pro 2.1J ($670) prepress add-on for PDF files and PhotoShop, which lists for $670; and the Portfolio Server 4.0J for Portweb digital media delivery system. The client software for that program goes for $330, while the server package costs $3,300.
Taking direct aim at Japan's large video gamer population, ELECTRONICS ARTS will sell computer games at convenience stores throughout Japan. To do this, the San Mateo, California will use its ties to SQUARE CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 345, June 1998, pp. 6-7), which has an affiliate, DIGICUBE CO., LTD., with good connections in the convenience store business. EA titles will be available initially in the 4,500 or so outlets operated by SUNKUS & ASSOCIATES INC. and CIRCLE K JAPAN CO., LTD. Beginning with four titles priced at $25 each, EA hopes to debut six to 11 titles over the next year. In just the first six months of the new arrangement, EA believes that it can sell 100,000 copies of its PC game software.
3COM CORP., the backer of the Palm Computing platform for handheld products (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 16), and the Los Angeles Brown Global Solutions unit of BROWNE & CO., INC. have completed a joint 18-month project to localize the enormously popular Palm Computing platform. Phase one included redesigning the Palm feature set to appeal more to Japanese users. Next, the two reworked the underlying code for the Palm organizer to support double-byte languages, like Japanese. Finally, the software's interface was reworked in Japanese, including a new input system to handle the Asian language. Not only does the Japanese Palm platform offer all of the organizer and expense-tracking features of the original, but it also has English-to-Japanese and Japanese-to-English dictionaries built in.
Increasing the appeal of its CAD and simulation package, BENTLEY SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary is offering a complete line of products based on the MicroStation/J CAD engine. The software not only can handle the usual engineering design tasks, but it also can be used to create simulation environments based on the CAD files. In addition, MicroStation/J version 7.0 can share data with many popular back-office and front-office programs, all at a price starting at $7,500.
Taking this idea a step further is MATLAB 5.3 and Simulink 3.0 from MATHWORKS, INC. of Natick, Massachusetts. From its origin as a numerical analysis tool, the software combo has evolved into a powerful programming environment for complex technical applications and simulators. The software analyzes and depicts complex data sets and then can use these as the basis for simulations. Sales partner CYBERNET SYSTEMS CO., LTD. has sold the MATLAB/Simulink package to KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. for use in its aerospace unit.
STRUCTURAL DYNAMICS RESEARCH CORP. is shipping a new version of its popular I-DEAS Master Series high-end CAD/CAE/CAM program to its primary distributors. Version 7 adds Web-enabled collaboration, a new toolpath engine for manufacturing and more hooks into third-party software.
A latest CAD utility from AUTODESK, INC. helps engineers and designers migrate to the new STEP model-description standard published by the International Standards Organization. Autodesk STEP Translator, which requires Mechanical Desktop or AutoCAD r14.01, converts CAD software models into STEP objects. The $820 program is becoming the de facto standard for exchanging engineering data in the automotive, aerospace, defense and energy industries in the United States.
Makers of injection molds for plastic items have access to more sophisticated design tools, thanks to a new CAD/CAM package from the subsidiary of MOLDFLOW CORP. The Lexington, Massachusetts developer's Mold Adviser, which runs on Windows NT and Unix systems, simplifies and speeds the process of creating sprues, runner systems and gates for single cavity, multi-cavity or family molds. The $25,000 package can predict the flow of plastic, assess injection and curing times and communicate the data to the rest of the production team. Moldflow's local unit believes that it can sell 200 copies of Mold Adviser.
A similar product for makers of forged metal products is available from MACNEAL- SCHWENDLER CORP. MSC/SuperForge sports a new graphical user interface on top of a robust finite-volume solver engine. It is intended for simulating 3D bulk forging processes. The software is available through HITACHI ZOSEN INFORMATION SYSTEMS CORP., which has been distributing MSC's products since the fall of 1998.
A flexible package for planning and executing land development projects has been released by AUTODESK, INC.'s subsidiary. AutoCAD Land Development Desktop has powerful mapping tools, including terrain model creation, point manipulation, geometry creation and labeling, and manipulation of land parcels and roadway alignments The straightforward graphical user interface promotes "what if" scenario experimentation, while the hidden AutoCAD engine provides fast results.
Electronic design automation software developer SYNOPSIS, INC. licensed its Prime Time static timing analysis tool to FUJITSU, LTD. The electronics giant will use the Mountain View, California firm's EDA utility to develop its next generation of system- on-a-chip products. .....Separately, SYNOPSIS, INC.'s subsidiary now offers EDA consulting services in addition to its software support activities. Synopsis' logic synthesis package, which translates high-level descriptions of circuits into lists of logic gates and interconnections, has a dominant share of the Japanese market. The company hopes that pairing consulting services with its software will expand its customer base even further.
IBM JAPAN LTD. has ported its popular ViaVoice voice-recognition engine to the enterprise telephony environment. ViaVoice Telephony, which starts at $166,700, can understand many different types of voices, making it possible to create sophisticated electronic telephone answering systems. Also available is a package for automating telephone operator functions that is priced from $87,500. IBM Japan expects to find a ready market for its software among banks, stock brokerages, mail-order companies and any other business that operates a customer call center.
Software developed by PUMA TECHNOLOGY, INC. that keeps the information held by handheld remote clients in sync with data residing on host servers is gaining market share. Soon after the San Jose, California company licensed its Intellisync software to NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, March 1999, p. 31), it announced a similar deal with rival cellular operator DDI CORP. Puma Technology is working with both firms to enable customers to enjoy real-time sychronization of data via the Internet.
SIMULATIONS PLUS INC. has landed the first sale of its GastroPlus medicine- absorption simulation package to the Japanese pharmaceutical industry. TEIJIN SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY LTD., which is the Lancaster, California firm's exclusive distributor (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 348, September 1998, p. 19), declined to name the purchaser. However, it hinted that the sale would be followed by others, given that at least 20 Japanese drugmakers use at least one Simulations Plus product.
Boulder, Colorado-based MICRO ANALYSIS & DESIGN, INC. has released its general-purpose simulator, Micro Saint, through distributor CYBERNET SYSTEMS CO., LTD. Version 3.0 adds more automatic tools and processes to speed creation of simulator parameters. That is performed through a graphical user interface and flow charts. Improved tools for optimizing models and presenting them also have been added. Micro Saint 3.0 runs under Windows 95/98/NT. The program has a base price of $12,900, although it costs $2,500 for educational institutions.
MICROSOFT CORP. has acquired a 20 percent stake in CIS CORP., a Tokyo producer of business productivity software. This marked the first time that the software king bought into a Japanese company. CIS's products currently integrate only with LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s Notes groupware. But with Microsoft becoming its second- largest shareholder, CIS has announced that its add-ons soon will work with Microsoft's Exchange family of products. Microsoft wants to push Exchange's market share in Japan past current number-one Notes within six months.
To boost sales to corporate customers, SYMANTEC CORP.'s subsidiary introduced a new licensing system. A master installation CD-ROM will be sold for $25, but a separate licensing fee will be calculated based on the number of end-users. The license can be purchased over the telephone or the Internet, simplifying sales to both large and small companies.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
New, powerful examples are forever emerging of how corporate restructuring, deregulation and liberalization, and the other changes roiling Japan are creating new opportunities for outsiders. The latest addition to this series is the partnership agreement that the team of AT&T CORP. and BRITISH TELECOMMUNICATIONS PLC announced with JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD., the country's third-largest long- distance/international carrier and a player in the data, Internet, local and digital wireless markets with about 23 million lines. AT&T and BT which announced last July that they would form a global venture to serve multinational business customers and international carriers will each acquire a 15 percent stake in JT at a combined cost of slightly more than $1.8 billion. The Japanese company then will become the exclusive local distributor of the AT&T-BT joint venture's branded services. At the same time, the global venture will use JT's 6,200-mile optical-fiber network infrastructure to enhance its market coverage and provide end-to-end services to customers. AT&T JENS CORP., which provides data communications in Japan, will be integrated into Japan Telecom. So will a BT-backed facilities-based company that just started to provide voice services in Tokyo and another company affiliated with the British carrier that offers through leased capacity a range of domestic and international data, voice and Internet services and distributes CONCERT products in Japan. In addition, the Internet services providers that each of the parties owns will be combined into a new data division within Japan Telecom. It will rank as one of Japan's five biggest ISPs with more than 400,000 customers.
On the heels of this announcement, AT&T CORP. and NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. disclosed that they had signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on corporate network solutions or managed services. This is one of the fastest-growing segments of the telecommunications business since multinationals are outsourcing the increasingly challenging job of managing complex, far-flung networks. Although details of the tie-up still must be worked out, AT&T and NTT say that their first priority is operating and developing in Japan the IBM Global Network, which AT&T is in the process of buying. Deployed in more than 850 cities in 59 countries, IGN offers a menu of managed network services for enterprise connectivity, collaboration and network outsourcing. The pending partners also will explore opportunities to provide value-added networking services in other Asian countries where IGN currently operates. A third goal of the alliance is to enhance existing IGN services. As part of the proposed deal, NTT will continue to provide operational support and transport services to IGN in Japan. Moreover, its Arcstar frame-relay network, a managed, global data transmission service, will maintain its existing IGN interconnections. IGN-based services will continue to be provided to Arcstar customers worldwide in collaboration with AT&T Solutions, which will represent the American communications giant in working with NTT.
AT&T CORP. also figures indirectly in another deal designed to capitalize on market opportunities in Japan. @HOME CORP., in which AT&T has a controlling 40 percent stake, will form a joint venture with cable TV operator JUPITER TELECOMMUNICATIONS CO., LTD. and SUMITOMO CORP. to develop and market a Japanese version of the @Home Network high-speed cable Internet service. The Redwood City, California company is promising that subscribers to @Home's Japanese service will enjoy a variety of broadband content and applications, such as video on demand, CD-quality audio and high-speed games and software downloading, as well as access to the Internet at speeds up to 100 times faster than telephone lines. For now, @Home will own 42.9 percent of the joint venture. J-COM itself a joint venture formed in 1995 between Sumitomo (60 percent) and what now is LIBERTY MEDIA INTERNATIONAL, INC. (40 percent) following AT&T's purchase of original partner TELE-COMMUNICATIONS, INC. will put up 35.7 percent of the Japanese @Home subsidiary's capital, with Sumitomo owning the remaining 21.4 percent. However, the partners hope to recruit other investors. When @Home Japan starts operations, probably next year, it will have as subscribers the 5.1 million households mainly in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka that now use J-COM or Sumitomo as CATV providers. The cost to them for @Home will be $50 per month.
The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has licensed KVH TELECOM CORP. to provide intracity communications services for corporate customers in Tokyo. The company, an affiliate of mutual fund giant FMR CORP.'s Fidelity Investments, will begin building an optical-fiber network this fall, with services scheduled to launch in July 2000. KVH Telecom, known in the United States as a competitive local exchange carrier, will provide discounted telephone and leased-circuit services, targeting its marketing campaign to financial institutions and other big businesses in the capital.
The company that claims international leadership in enterprise video networking has formed a wholly owned subsidiary. Santa Clara, California-based FVC.COM manufactures interactive video, streaming video and multiservice access products that deliver high-quality video integrated with voice and data for such applications as distance learning, corporate communications, virtual meetings and telemedicine. The Tokyo unit is charged with developing new relationships with broadband services providers like NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP., which recently announced XePhion, an extremely high-speed extranet service that uses next- generation Internet technologies. FVC.COM's subsidiary is looking for $8.3 million in orders in the initial year of operation through its channel partners, which include KANEMATSU ELECTRONICS LTD., NEC CORP. and NISSHO ELECTRONICS CORP.
Extending a relationship that dates to 1995, PICTURETEL CORP. and NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. are working together to meet the growing demand for IP-based visual collaboration. The project involves the combination of visual collaboration products and services from PictureTel, which ranks number one in videoconferencing equipment, with NTT's broadband multimedia extranet XePhion service. The goal is to eliminate the impaired image quality of current-generation videoconferencing equipment that results from slow data transmission by using XePhion's high-speed transfer capabilities. At the end of the project, NTT will be in a position to offer a complete package of high-speed video communications services, everything from systems engineering, construction and installation to operations management. The initial tie-up between PictureTel and NTT focused on the development of an ISDN (integrated services digital network) desktop videoconferencing system for businesses and consumers. Later, they formed PHOENIX COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC. to provide multipoint videoconferencing services. NTT also resells its Andover, Massachusetts-based partner's products.
Eleven Japanese, American and European companies will supply equipment for the wideband-CDMA third-generation cellular phone network that NIPPON MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC. expects to roll out starting in 2001. Ending its Japan-only procurement policy for network equipment, the country's largest cellular services operator tapped LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES INC. to provide two major components of the network: expandable base transceiver stations and radio network controller/multimedia processing equipment to provides BTS control and multimedia signal processing capabilities. As it is doing on several projects with NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 26), Lucent will marshal the resources of three operations to fill the NTT DoCoMo contract. They are Bell Laboratories' Yokosuka R&D facility southwest of Tokyo, which was set up specifically at the end of 1997 to work on W-CDMA equipment for NTT DoCoMo's third-generation wireless communications system; Lucent's Product Realization Center in Mount Olive, New Jersey; and its GSM (global system for mobile communications) headquarters in the United Kingdom, which will provide development and manufacturing support.
All the tools that a company needs for Internet Protocol telephony service will be available later this year from CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. It will provide IP- based handsets that can be installed anywhere on a corporate local or wide area IP network. A variety of Cisco Access Gateways, including the Cisco 2600, 3600 and AS5300 Series gateways, also will be put on the market. These products are a family of IP to circuit-switched gateways that are designed solely to provide VoIP (voice over IP) gateway functionality. Regardless of the model, each gateway is managed and maintained by Cisco CallManager 2.2 software. Smaller corporate customers are expected to be a major focus of Cisco's marketing effort since these businesses largely have been ignored by other marketers of VoIP products.
Competition among American companies to provide high-speed IP platforms to Japanese carriers is intensifying. For starters, JUNIPER NETWORKS, INC. formed a subsidiary in Tokyo to support sales of its M40 Internet backbone router. The Mountain View, California company claims that its platform is the first to integrate switch-level performance with software-enabled routing and control. Another plus of the M40, according to Juniper Networks, is the fastest packet processing speed, a whopping 40 million packets per second. One key to this performance is the company's JUNOS software, which is said to be the industry's first Internet-optimized routing operating system. Juniper Networks' subsidiary already has tapped NISSHO ELECTRONICS CORP. as one of what it hopes will be four distributors of the M40. That company is bullish on the Internet backbone router's prospects. It is projecting sales of 300 units over three years at prices ranging from $125,000 to $833,300.
NEXABIT NETWORKS, INC. has claims of its own to make for the carrier-class NX64000 multiterabit core switch/router. First and foremost, the Marlborough, Massachusetts firm says, the innovative architecture of the NX64000 delivers 100 times the switch-fabric capacity of today's state-of-the-art gigabit routers: 6.4 terabits per second per chassis. Moreover, the low latency of the platform, which supports ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) and frame-relay protocols as well as IP, facilitates the convergence of voice/video/data over IP in the backbone. Nexabit Networks selected SUMITOMO DENSETSU CO., LTD. to market, install and maintain the NX64000 switch/router through its nationwide network. DIT. CO., LTD. is in charge of importing the platform, which starts at $433,300. The Tokyo company also will provide technical support.
Not to be outdone in the bragging rights department, FORE SYSTEMS, INC.'s marketing unit has something to crow about in the high-speed networking category, the just introduced ForeRunner ASX-4000 ATM backbone switch. In recent tests, this 40-gigabit-per-second nonblocking, full-duplex switch forwarded more than 90 million IP packets per second. It also delivers the first OC-48c ATM ports in the industry, says the Warrendale, Pennsylvania company, which, through its subsidiary, also put on the market the ESX-2400 multigigabit routing switch. Designed to aggregate both server and desktop traffic onto a Gigabit Ethernet or an ATM backbone, this platform provides up to 24 ports of Gigabit Ethernet, 192 ports of 10/100 Ethernet and an optional eight ports of ATM OC-12.
To backstop its two-year-old business in Japan, EXTREME NETWORKS, INC., a supplier of Layer 3 LAN switching systems that speed up the flow of information, opened a subsidiary in Tokyo. The Santa Clara, California company's line of Summit stackable and BlackDiamond modular Layer 3 switches, which are designed for enterprise desktops, server farms or network cores, provide routing of IP traffic at wire speed on all switch ports. These products are distributed by SUMISHO ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. and TOKYO ELECTRON LTD. Extreme Networks also supplies selected Summit models to NEC CORP. on an OEM basis.
NTT INTERNATIONAL CORP. has on the market the CompactPCI Alliance Generation Quad T board from NATURAL MICROSYSTEMS CORP. It provides 96 ports of call processing and up to 60 ports of programmable voice processing in one slot with four T1 integrated digital truck interfaces. Unlike the one sold in the United States, the board available in Japan is designed for the ISDN-INS-15 protocol. Last summer, Framingham, Massachusetts-based Natural Microsystems opened a Tokyo subsidiary to support NTT International and other distributors (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 347, August 1998, p. 27).
Shipping from INTEL CORP.'s subsidiary is the Intel PRO/100+ Management Adapter. The network interface card, priced around $120, provides Ethernet/Fast Ethernet connections from PCI-bus desktops along with advanced management features, including remote management and troubleshooting. .....For its part, the subsidiary of Irvine, California-headquartered LINKSYS has introduced the Linksys EtherFast 10/100 LAN Card V2 for Ethernet/Fast Ethernet functionality. The card is priced at less than $50.
Cable modem manufacturer TERAYON CORP. has licensed its synchronous-CDMA technology to SUMITOMO CORP. for local production. The trader is an investor in the Santa Clara, California company, and its wholly owned CROSSBEAM NETWORKS CORP. subsidiary is the exclusive distributor of Terayon's product line. Terayon's S- CDMA cable modem addresses the problem of noise and other impairments in the 5- MHz to 42-MHz upstream path of two-way hybrid-fiber/coaxial networks. This interference makes sending data reliably from the user's site to the network problematic. S-CDMA cable modems use spread spectrum techniques to make data transmission highly immune to narrowband interference and impulse noise. That ensures a robust, high-speed (10 megabits per second in both directions) and scalable cable modem.
In its latest attempt to promote Internet access via set-top boxes attached to TV sets, ORACLE CORP. and its NETWORK COMPUTER, INC. affiliate are heading a project to interest content providers and other organizations to create programming, including on-line services, for so-called network computer television. The partners are SUMITOMO CORP. and ISP DREAM TRAIN INTERNET INC., a MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. company. Oracle and NCI will provide NCTV hardware, development kits and related services to project participants for three months for a charge of about $6,700.
CELOTEK CORP. appointed NEC CORP. to distribute its CellCase cryptographic systems to secure high-speed ATM networks. The Research Triangle Park, North Carolina company's products use 168-bit-key Triple DES encryption to provide secure multimedia transmission and access control services for broadband networks. Accordingly, companies can reap the cost advantages of public ATM WANs over private or leased lines without compromising security.
Start-up CALIBRE INC. signed RYODEN TRADING CO., LTD. as the exclusive distributor of its hardware/software communications subsystems for cordless connectivity. The San Jose, California developer's initial product offerings provide a total infrared data transfer solution.
DATRON SYSTEMS INC. has in hand a pair of contracts from Tsuru Gakuen Hiroshima Institute of Technology totaling $5 million for remote-sensing-satellite earth station equipment and services. The first order covers one of the Vista, California company's RSS earth stations, including a 13-meter data-acquisition system coupled with an Open 2000 data-processing system. The second contract involves adding Open 2000 data-processing capabilities and associated hardware and software to one of HIT's Datron transportable 7.3-meter antennas. Datron also will provide hardware and software to process data from a variety of remote-sensing satellites, including America's Landsat and Europe's ERS-1 and ERS-2. Contract fulfillment is set for the first quarter of 2000.
IBM JAPAN LTD. and MPT's Communications Research Laboratory have developed a way to scan video footage for specific scenes without relying on information like titles or names to conduct the search. Project participants envision the use of this technology in such applications as spotting violators captured on tape by traffic- monitoring systems or identifying crime suspects videotaped by security systems.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
PENDLETON WOOLEN MILLS, INC. has given DAIWA SEIKO, INC. the right to manufacture shirts and sweaters and sell them under the Pendleton name. The sporting goods manufacturer has imported the Portland, Oregon company's clothing since 1996 for sale through some 300 specialty store outlets. Daiwa Seiko hopes that local production and a broader line of women's clothing will boost Pendleton sales roughly 60 percent in FY 1999 to $4.2 million. It also is counting on two new Pendleton shops to be set up this spring in Tokyo and Sapporo to give sales a lift. Daiwa Seiko already has two Pendleton outlets and wants eventually to increase the number to 20.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
For any number of reasons, the expansion of SATURN CORP.'s dealer network is not proceeding as fast as the company's subsidiary had planned. However, it has signed up the 17th Saturn dealer. In October, AMIC CORP. will open a store in Maebashi, Gunma prefecture, north of Tokyo. It will be Saturn's 22nd dealership. The subsidiary hopes to make Saturn a more marketable nameplate this fall when it introduces the first midsized cars from the GENERAL MOTORS CORP. affiliate. The engine in the L series has a displacement of 2.2 liters versus the 1.9-liter engine that powers Saturn's small cars.
The huge Visteon Automotive Systems parts unit of FORD MOTOR CO. has opened its fifth sales and service center in Japan. The newest location, intended to expand sales to HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD., is in Utsunomiya, Tochigi prefecture. It will be equipped with five CAD/CAM workstations to tailor products to Honda's specifications as well as a videoconferencing system. Last year, Visteon established a sales and service center in Aichi prefecture to work with TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. It also has similar facilities at its Asian Pacific headquarters in Yokohama and at two places in Hiroshima prefecture. .....In the meantime, FORD MOTOR CO.'s Visteon Automotive Systems awarded a two- year contract to SUMINO KOGYO CO., LTD. of Hiroshima to make an ignition coil bracket for MAZDA MOTOR CORP. vehicles.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.
Semiconductor manufacturers in Japan have a new source of high-purity fused quartz goods now that PYROMATICS, INC. is represented locally. The Willoughby, Ohio producer named TOMOE ENGINEERING CO., LTD. to handle three of its products: molded Pyro 220 fused-quartz crucibles, which come in a broad range of sizes for growing single-crystal silicon ingots; molded PT 77 fused-quartz PyroTanks for stripping, etching, cleaning and other wafer processing steps where the absence of ionic and particulate contamination is important; and molded fused-quartz coil covers for epitaxial reactors. The Tokyo distributor has a modest first-year sales objective of $833,300, but it believes that sales of Pyromatics' products could total $4.2 million annually after three years.
Three types of Scotch-brand double-sided tape are available at home centers across Japan. The SUMITOMO 3M LTD. products, which cost between $1.20 and $1.40 a package, are designed for rough surfaces, external wall use and lightweight objects. The joint venture forecasts that the new tape line will add $83,300 to annual revenues.
Nineteen grades of high-performance Pennzoil engine oil, including GT-Performance products, are available through ITOCHU LUBNET INC., which ITOCHU FUEL CORP. set up specifically to market the PENNZOIL-QUAKER STATE CO. products. The Houston company's line, which is 10 percent less expensive than comparable grades of oil at $25 to $90 per 4.2-quart container, is sold at 1,000 or so Itochu Fuel gas stations across Japan as well as at roughly 200 automotive service centers and tire stores. Itochu LubNet is aiming for sales of $4.2 million a year.
Skiboard manufacturer K2 CORP. has diversified its product line to offset the seasonal nature of its business. Its Tokyo subsidiary introduced the Kick Board skateboard in addition to the Adio skateboard shoes that were put on the market at the end of last year. The company also released about 30 styles of sports shoes under the K2 brand name. The skateboard, which lists for about $320, and the other new products are available at some 100 sporting goods stores. In another move to boost its Japan sales by 10 percent to 20 percent annually, K2 has a promotional tie-in with ISUZU MOTORS LTD. dealers for its skiboards and skateboards.
IWERKS ENTERTAINMENT INC. soon will have 40 ride simulator attractions in Japan. Number 39 just opened, a 44-seat theater called the Hankyu 3D Theater at the Takarazuka Family Land Park outside Osaka. It is using the Burbank, California company's "Dino Island II 3D: Escape from Dino Island" 3D film. The 40th Iwerks installation, a 24-seat theater, will be located at the American Village on Okinawa. It is scheduled to open in March 2000.
Next summer, the INFINI reservations system operated by ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS CO., LTD. will be seamlessly integrated with the Sabre computerized reservations system developed by SABRE GROUP, INC. With Sabre, travel agencies serviced by INFINI will have automated access to carriers and flight schedules as well as automatic authorization of credit cards. They also will gain expanded access to airline distribution networks and sale tools, such as seat maps. Some functions of the Sabre system will be modified specifically for the Japanese market. Fort Worth, Texas-based Sabre and INFINI TRAVEL INFORMATION, INC., which is 60 percent owned by ANA, already are working on the system. The Japanese CRS company expects the project to cost more than $25 million.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.