A second line has come onstream at the NOLTEX LLC ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer gas- barrier resin plant in La Porte, Texas. A joint venture between NIPPON SYNTHETIC CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD. (75 percent) and MITSUBISHI CHEMICAL CORP. (25 percent), the company has made Soarnol-brand resin for food packaging applications since early 1996. It bought the idled EVOH facility in 1994 from E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO., INC. and converted the first of the factory's two lines to Nippon Synthetic Chemical Industry's process and product technologies. The second line also has been retrofitted. With a total annual capacity of about 20,000 tons, Noltex now can make specialty Soarnol grades that have been imported from Japan.
NPA COATINGS INC. has lined up the TOYOTA MOTOR MANUFACTURING INDIANA, INC. truck plant in Princeton, Indiana (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 8) and part of the TOYOTA MOTOR MANUFACTURING KENTUCKY, INC. complex in Georgetown, Kentucky as customers for its acid-resistant top-coat automotive paint. The Cleveland-based manufacturer of powder coatings has supplied this product for certain GENERAL MOTORS CORP. vehicles since 1997. NPA Coatings believes that the Toyota contracts will add about $2.5 million to revenues in the first year. NIPPON PAINT CO., LTD. bought what became NPA Coatings in June 1991.
Although it is the world's top maker of printing inks and organic pigments, DAINIPPON INK AND CHEMICALS, INC. sees room to expand business in the United States by reorganizing its sales network. Fort Lee, New Jersey-headquartered DIC INTERNATIONAL (USA), INC., which has been in charge of marketing across the country, will open a branch in San Francisco to handle sales west of the Rocky Mountains. It then will concentrate on distribution east of the Rockies.
Continuing to divest assets that it acquired in 1990, ISHIHARA SANGYO KAISHA, LTD. has an agreement in principle to sell the RICERCA, INC. unit of its ISK AMERICA, INC. subsidiary to STERIS CORP. of Mentor, Ohio. Ricerca, which has more than 200 employees in Concord, Ohio, provides a variety of research, development and technology services to the pharmaceutical, animal health, agrochemical and specialty chemical industries. At the end of 1997, ISK sold the U.S. fungicide manufacturing operations of its ISK BIOSCIENCES CORP. affiliate.
In line with its current focus on making the blood supply in the United States and elsewhere as safe as possible (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 2), GEN-PROBE INC. opened a state-of-the-art reagents plant near its headquarters and primary manufacturing operations in San Diego, California. The 65 people employed at the new facility initially will produce about 40 million tests per year, although the factory has the annual capacity to turn out 100 million tests. The first assays will screen the blood supply for the hepatitis C virus and the human immunodeficiency virus. In time, assays for other viral targets will be added. Gen-Probe is a CHUGAI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. subsidiary.
With sales of Rezulin (troglitazone), SANKYO CO., LTD.'s treatment for Type II diabetes, expected to be hurt by new products from TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. and SMITHKLINE BEECHAM PLC (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 2), the big Japanese pharmaceutical company is working with WARNER-LAMBERT CO. on another drug that targets insulin resistance. Their development focus is R-119702, which contains an insulin resistance-boosting glitazone. The partners hope to start clinical trials in the United States by yearend and to have the drug cleared for marketing in three or four years. Warner- Lambert has U.S. sales rights to Rezulin.
Broadening a relationship established at the end of 1998 (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 2), KIRIN BREWERY CO., LTD. and DENDREON CORP. signed a research and licensing agreement for the development of dendritic cell-based cancer therapies. With funding from Kirin, the Seattle biotechnology company will explore immunotherapies for the types of cancers most prevalent in Asia and evaluate mechanisms for activating the relevant dendritic cells. The Japanese partner will have Asian rights to any products resulting from the collaboration, while Dendreon will receive U.S. rights.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
One key to conducting business over the Internet is the ability of a company's mainframes or servers to handle huge volumes of requests simultaneously. That is the job description for HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORP.'s P9 Pilot Series, a new generation of CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) enterprise servers. The 26 models in the line can be configured with one to 13 processors. When equipped with the maximum number, the P9 can process 1,700 MIPS (million instructions per second). That gives it the ability to handle more than 2 billion hits per day on an Internet site, the Santa Clara, California marketer says. The new servers also facilitate enterprise resource planning, server consolidation, data mining and mission-critical applications. The P9 borrows several features from Hitachi Data Systems' Skyline Trinium mainframe line. One is the Virtual Server Facility, which lets users partition the machine into separate servers. The load then can be dynamically shifted among processors when processing demand rises for a particular application.
Still doing battle in the cutthroat American personal computer server market, the Computer Systems Division of TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC. unveiled the Magnia 3010 workgroup and Magnia 5010 departmental servers. Both lines offer support for up to two 500- MHz Pentium III processors and feature a 100-MHz front-side bus and INTEL CORP.'s 440GX+PCI (peripheral component interconnect) chipset. They also are designed for 18- gigabyte hard drives, with a maximum storage capacity of 72 GB for the Magnia 3010 and 216 GB for the Magnia 5010. The estimated street price of the workgroup server starts at $2,500 while that for the departmental system begins at $3,900.
One way that the CSD unit of TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC. hopes to distinguish itself in the equally crowded American desktop PC market is by offering platform stability to corporate buyers of its Equium 7100 machines. That approach to technical change means that existing Equium customers can have state-of-the-art technology without the hassle and the cost of requalifying their PCs. The Equium 7100 series now supports 10 INTEL CORP. processors on a build-to-order basis. The latest addition is the new-to-the-market 550-MHz Pentium III processor. An Equium 7100 powered by this engine starts at $1,700.
TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC.'s CSD also hopes to win business in the commercial desktop computer market by giving resellers an alternative to all the no-name machines showing up. To that end, the company introduced the low-cost, build-to-order 3200 desktop line. Resellers can put their name on the system alongside Toshiba's. They also can incorporate their own value-added services as well as third-party hardware and software. Perhaps most important, Toshiba gives resellers the ability to determine their own profit margins through unpublished estimated street prices. That allows them to go head-to-head on pricing with unbranded PCs. Any number of configuration options are available with the 3200 series, including 400-MHz Pentium II to 550-MHz Pentium III processors, 64 megabytes or 128 MB of memory, 6-GB to 12.9-GB hard drives, CD-ROM drives and a choice of MICROSOFT CORP. operating systems.
The performance-enhancing 550-MHz Pentium III processor also is available in the PowerMate series of desktop PCs from the NEC Computer Systems Division of PACKARD BELL NEC, INC. This line spans three groups of models: the PowerMate ES (Enterprise Solution) for networked environments, which uses a single, scalable motherboard across three form factors (slim desktop, desktop and minitower); the PowerMate VT (Value and Technology) 300 for cost- conscious corporate customers that also want mainstream performance and flexibility; and the PowerMate 8100, which is strong on manageability features for enterprise environments. Configured with a 550-MHz Pentium III chip, pricing starts at $1,800 for a PowerMate ES 5200, $1,700 for a PowerMate VT 300 and $2,100 for a PowerMate 8100.
Two additions to FUJITSU PC CORP.'s LifeBook C Series of all-in-one notebooks for the consumer market are the first such products available directly from the Milpitas, California company at its Web site. Five retailers also carry the LifeBook C352 and the LifeBook C360. The LifeBook C352 features the 333-MHz mobile Celeron processor, 32 MB of memory standard, a 4.3-GB hard drive and a 12.1-inch TFT (thin-film-transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) screen with a SVGA (super video graphics array) resolution of 800 x 600 pixels for an estimated street price of $1,500. For its part, the LifeBook C360 runs off a 333-MHz mobile Pentium II engine and includes in the base price of $1,900 64 MB of memory, 4.3 GB of storage and a 13.3-inch TFT LCD display with XGA (extended graphics array) resolution (1024 x 768 pixels).
The third member of SHARP CORP.'s Actius line of lightweight notebooks is on the market at an estimated street price of $2,500. Measuring just 1 inch thick and weighing less than 3 pounds, the Actius A250 runs off a 300PE MHz mobile Pentium II processor. It comes with 64 MB of synchronous DRAM (dynamic random access memory) memory, a 6.4-MB hard drive and what is said to be the largest screen available in the 3-pound notebook class a 11.3-inch TFT LCD display with SVGA resolution.
Handheld PCs or what in Japan are called personal digital assistants are becoming ever more sophisticated. A case in point is CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD.'s Cassiopeia E-105, the company's second color product to support Windows CE for the Palm-size PC Version 2.1.1. It uses the identical 131-MHz VR4121 processor from NEC CORP. and offers the same advanced screen technology as the Cassiopeia E-100 released earlier this year. However, the E-105 is equipped with twice the memory at 32 MB. That enables the device to take better advantage of the included multimedia pack. The E-105 has a suggest retail price of $600 versus $500 for its predecessor.
In a coup for HITACHI, LTD. in the high-end, multiplatform storage system arena, HEWLETT- PACKARD CO. has turned to the Japanese conglomerate to bolster its position in the enterprise storage and storage area network markets. Hitachi and HP research and development teams will work together on the design and the development of a broad range of enterprise storage products that can be manufactured by either company. This collaboration, which builds on a nine-year relationship in the field of Unix mainframe and server hardware and software, already has led to the announcement of the SAN-ready HP SureStore E Disk Array MC256. Under a parallel three-year original equipment manufacturing arrangement, HP will resell Hitachi's high-end disk array products after adding to them its own firmware and Fibre Channel technology. Until now, EMC CORP., the world's top maker of high-end storage systems, has been HP's disk array supplier. That relationship will continue under a three-year pact renewed in January, but analysts think that Hitachi equipment increasingly will displace products built by Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based EMC. One reason, HP executives hinted, is that the combination of Hitachi and HP technology, such as represented by the MC256, can meet the American computer maker's promise to its enterprise customers of 100 percent data availability.
Meanwhile, HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORP. which gained the right to resell in a number of countries the HP SureStore E Disk Array MC256 and other storage solutions built around the HP Equation SAN-based, intelligent storage architecture announced two new disk drive options for its multiplatform Freedom Storage 7700E subsystem. This unit, which attaches to mainframes and open system servers located in data centers, now can be configured with 15-GB and 36-GB drives. These can be used on their own or intermixed with the 6-GB and 18-GB drives previously offered with the Freedom Storage 7700E. The 36-GB drive boosts maximum subsystem capacity to 6 terabytes of storage.
PC manufacturers as well as retailers have a new way to meet the demand for high-capacity rewritable, removable storage. The GF-1000 DVD-RAM (digital video disc-random access memory) drive from HITACHI AMERICA, LTD. provides virtually unlimited rewritable storage capacity. Moreover, it can read data recorded on all types of CDs and DVD-ROM (read-only memory) media. This drive is the ATAPI-interface counterpart of the GF-1050, a SCSI-2 interface DVD-RAM drive that has been on the market since 1997. The GF-1000 lists for about $750. DVD-RAM media costs roughly $40 for a double-sided, 5.2-GB disc and $25 for a single-sided, 2.6-GB disc.
An alternative to the DVD-RAM storage format will be available this fall from SONY CORP. Along with PHILIPS ELECTRONICS NV, it is promoting DVD-RW infinitely rewritable drives, which are based on the CD-ReWritable technology. Among other differences, the single-sided version of the DVD-RW disc will hold 3 GB of data. Although pricing has not been finalized, Sony expects its DVD-RW drive to list for roughly $700. MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. and TOSHIBA CORP. join HITACHI, LTD. in being the prime movers behind the DVD-RAM format.
In addition to strengthening the product planning and engineering capabilities of its U.S. data storage media business (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 6), HITACHI MAXELL, LTD. plans to double DVD-ROM capacity at its San Diego, California plant. Sometime this fall, MAXELL CORP. OF AMERICA should be able to turn out 600,000 pieces of media a month. Together with a doubling of its monthly DVD-RAM capacity in Japan to 200,000 units, Hitachi Maxell expects to spend $7.4 million on the expansion.
A year after SEIKO EPSON CORP. reorganized its main U.S. marketing
subsidiary to better focus
sales of its diverse electronics product line (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 345, June 1998, pp. 3-4), EPSON AMERICA, INC., a seller of printers, scanners, digital cameras and the like, announced that it would relocate its corporate headquarters to Long Beach, California from Torrance, California. The move should be completed in October.
Users of APPLE COMPUTER, INC.'s iMac and Power Macintosh G3 computers can have a color- coordinated ink-jet printer. The EPSON Stylus Color 740i from SEIKO EPSON CORP.'s marketing arm shares the sleek, translucent case of the Apple products. A blueberry cover is standard, but covers are available in grape, lime, tangerine and strawberry. On the technical side, the EPSON Stylus Color 740i, which provides native universal serial bus connectivity, outputs five pages per minute in color and six in black with a resolution as high as 1440 x 720 dots per inch. It has an estimated street price of $280.
SEIKO EPSON CORP.'s printer line for professional and advanced amateur photographers now extends to the tabloid-format EPSON Stylus Photo 1200. This six-color system can print everything from wallet-sized photos to 13 x 44-inch pictures with the same 1440-dpi resolution as other models in the Stylus Color family, even on plain paper. Compatible out of the box with both PCs and Macintosh machines, the EPSON Stylus Photo 1200 is expected to sell for about $500.
Additions to the PointSource Ai line of network-ready digital copier/printer systems from MITA INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD.'s Fairfield, New Jersey marketing unit enable these products to serve the needs of users ranging from small businesses and workgroups to corporations. Models are on the market that operate at 15, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 55 ppm.
SMARTDISK CORP., the Naples, Florida developer of the Smarty smart card reader/writer, has attracted another Japanese investor. HITACHI SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CO., LTD. joins original investor TOSHIBA CORP. and NEC CORP., which signed on in January. It paid about $1.1 million to acquire a 2 percent stake in SmartDisk. In return, Hitachi Software Engineering has the right to sell Smarty worldwide. The floppy disk-sized smart card adapter, which is expected to cost $80, allows any PC with a floppy drive to read and write data to a smart card. Global sales of Smarty are projected at 50,000 units in FY 2000.
One use for Smarty is at banks and other organizations affiliated with the Mondex smart-card electronic-cash system. To help get Mondex off the ground in the United States, HITACHI, LTD. has created the Mondex Service Bureau in San Francisco. It is the first independent to offer Mondex electronic-cash transaction processing services. The bureau, Hitachi says, can support any level of Mondex electronic-purse implementation, everything from small pilot or campus projects to a full-scale rollout. Hitachi has a vested interest in the success of Mondex since it has spent a considerable amount of money on the integrated circuits, terminals and systems that support Mondex.
The Allendale, New Jersey marketing unit of PLUS CORP. has introduced a pair of digital projectors that set new standards for weight and compactness without compromising image quality, clarity and uniformity, according to the company. The PLUS U2-1080 XGA digital projector and the PLUS U2-870 SVGA model have a 2.28-inch profile and weigh 5.7 pounds at most.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Hoping to raise $3.9 billion by February 2002 by selling off assets, a struggling DAIEI, INC. has agreed to sell the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu to GENERAL GROWTH PROPERTIES, INC. for $810 million. The mall is the largest open-air shopping center in the world with approximately 1.8 million square feet of leasable space. It has many upscale tenants as well as more mainstream stores. Daiei, Japan's biggest retailer, has owned the Ala Moana Center since 1982, first in partnership with EQUITABLE LIFE INSURANCE CO. but since 1995 by itself. Chicago-headquartered General Growth Properties, which specializes in shopping centers, is the second-largest U.S. commercial property developer. It has managed the Ala Moana Center for the last 10 years.
Financial pressures also have forced two other firms to join the exodus of real estate investors and developers from the American market. DIA KENSETSU CO., LTD., Japan's number-three builder of condominiums, will liquidate its Honolulu condominium development subsidiary within FY 1999. It already has sold a hotel in San Diego, California and an office building in Seattle. Similarly, midsized contractor TEKKEN CORP. will complete its withdrawal from the U.S. market by March 2000. This past March, it liquidated a New York City real estate development subsidiary. The same fate awaits a San Diego, California affiliate working on a local resort hotel project.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
A new source of movie DVD optical discs and music CDs should be up and running this fall. DVD disc manufacturer PANASONIC DISC SERVICES CORP. of Torrance, California has formed MATSUSHITA UNIVERSAL MEDIA SERVICES LLC OF AMERICA with UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, the world's largest music company with many well-known record labels and part of the SEAGRAM CO. entertainment empire. The joint venture, in which Panasonic Disc Services has a 60 percent stake, will install DVD production facilities at Universal Music Group's CD manufacturing plant in Pinckneyville, Illinois. Initially, the factory will turn out 600,000 DVD discs a month. Matsushita Universal Media Services will continue to make audio CDs for Universal Music Group. Simultaneously, MA-TSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. announced that DVD disc capacity at Panasonic Disc Services would be doubled by yearend to 5 million units a month to capitalize on the growth in this market. MEI and the Seagram group have several ties, primarily through the Japanese company's minority ownership of UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, INC.
The first DVD-Audio players could be available in the United States this fall. That is PANASONIC CONSUMER ELECTRONICS CO.'s target date for what it calls the recorded music format of the 21st century. Far more than CDs, DVD-Audio has the potential to deliver concert-hall fidelity to the listener while reducing background noise to imperceptible levels. Like DVD-Video, it is fully surround sound-compatible. DVD-Audio also uses a CD-sized disc. At its highest resolution, the format can store 74 minutes of music on a single side of a single-layer disc. The players, which will be sold under the Panasonic and Technics brands, can play DVD movies, music CDs and video CDs in addition to DVD-Audio discs.
In August, the first television sets with built-in DVD-Video players and videocassette recorders will appear on store shelves. They will be produced by AMERICAN KOTOBUKI ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES, INC. of Vancouver, Washington, initially at a rate of 2,000 units a month. The MATSUSHITA-KOTOBUKI ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES, LTD. subsidiary has made TV/VCR combinations since 1986. It has 35 percent of the U.S. market for this product.
PLASMACO INC., a Highland, New York developer of plasma display panel technologies that has been owned by MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. since early 1996, has commercialized the world's largest PDP. Measuring 60 inches diagonally and just 5 inches thick, the flat panel is compatible with high-definition TV broadcasting. MEI's largest PDP to date, a 50-inch unit, could be on the market this fall.
In a bold move to jump-start sales of HDTV sets, MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. will cover CBS CORP.'s entire cost of producing most of the CBS Television Network's prime-time entertainment programming for digital broadcast. The deal starts in the fall and runs through the 1999/2000 television season. Industry analysts estimate that the arrangement will cost MELCO $10 million-plus. CBS says that 14 of its owned and affiliated stations now broadcast some programming in the digital format. By November, more than 40 CBS stations should be providing HDTV content, covering well over half of the country. At the start of 1998, MELCO decided that its future in the American TV set market lay in large-screen, projection analog and digital sets.
Video game giant NINTENDO CO., LTD. and the huge Visteon Automotive Systems parts division of FORD MOTOR CO. have codeveloped a video entertainment system for the rear of any minivan built from 1994 to the present. The $1,500 Visteon Rear Seat Entertainment System combines a videocassette player and a Nintendo 64 game system with a high-resolution 6.4-inch LCD display so that children can watch movies or play video games during trips. A version for sport- utility vehicles is coming soon.
To ensure an adequate, diversified supply of titles for the forthcoming Sega Dreamcast video game machine (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 5), SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD. acquired VISUAL CONCEPTS ENTERTAINMENT, INC. The San Rafael, California company is developing several titles for the new machine, including football, basketball and a character-based adventure game. Sega previously had a minority stake in the video game developer.
Under a cross-licensing agreement with MICROSOFT CORP., video game developer KOMANI CO., LTD. gained the right to adapt Microsoft games developed for the PC platform to run on console machines, including the Nintendo 64, the Sony PlayStation and the Sega Dreamcast. Likewise, Microsoft has the option to publish selected Konami titles for the PC platform. The new partners will announce specific product releases and availability later this year.
To support its drive into the non-PC display market, particularly for medical, industrial and instrument applications, MITSUBISHI ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC. named ARROW ELECTRONICS, INC. and BELL MICROPRODUCTS INC. to distribute its TFT LCD Angleview displays. Previously, ALL-AMERICAN SEMICONDUCTOR INC. was the sole distributor of the panels, which range in size from 8.4 inches to 17.3 inches. At the same time, Mitsubishi Electronics America introduced two Angleview products designed specifically for diagnostic equipment, factory automation and industrial control. Both provide a viewing angle of 120 degrees, 18-bit color depth and a digital interface. The new 12.1-inch Angleview panel allows a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels (SVGA). Its 10.4-inch cousin delivers a VGA resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Both are sampling for $800 apiece.
For portable applications requiring miniature surface-mount-device packages, EPSON ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC. announced a subminiature crystal that it says is the smallest crystal package on the market today. Available in frequencies ranging from 20 MHz to 50 MHz, the FA238 series is priced at roughly $1.40 per part. The El Segundo, California subsidiary of SEIKO EPSON CORP. also released a 32.768-KHz small SMD oscillator that it is targeting for use as the clock input for microcontroller units. The SG3032JC, which operates at 1.8 volts to 2.6 volts, costs $1.50 each.
Although best known as the world's longtime top producer of semiconductor packaging, KYOCERA CORP. doubles as the largest producer of solar photovoltaic cells, which generate electricity directly from sunlight. Its position in the solar energy business will be strengthened as a result of an agreement to acquire GOLDEN GENESIS CO. for $39.6 million. The Golden, Colorado company, majority-owned by ACX TECHNOLOGIES INC., designs fully integrated solar electric generating systems and distributes them worldwide through more than 1,000 dealers. It has been Kyocera's major solar products distributor in North America since 1991. Last year, Golden Genesis had revenues of $43.3 million. Kyocera's solar-related sales in FY 1998 totaled around $142 million. By acquiring the American company, Kyocera will become a vertically integrated supplier of solar energy systems.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Although the sale of the main Japanese operations of nationalized LONG-TERM CREDIT BANK OF JAPAN, LTD. is proceeding more slowly than the government had anticipated, the bank is making progress in disposing of its offshore loans. It has agreed to sell an $11 billion portfolio of U.S.- based loans to GE CAPITAL CORP. The package consists mainly of money lent to major American corporate borrowers and the U.S. subsidiaries of Japanese multinationals. Beyond describing the price as "reasonable," GE Capital did not comment on how much it will pay for the portfolio, which reportedly attracted bids from 90 or so financial institutions. The deal is expected to close by the end of 1999.
SUMITOMO BANK, LTD.'s 1986 decision to put $500 million into GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO. paid off big time when the private Wall Street investment bank offered 13 percent of its shares to the public, including part of the Japanese commercial bank's holdings. Sumitomo Bank sold 9 million of its nearly 37.9 million shares and made close to $457 million on the transaction. Its remaining stock equates to about a 6 percent ownership share in Goldman, Sachs.
Having set its sights on becoming a player in various Internet-related businesses, including financial services, SONY CORP. is scrambling to gain the expertise needed to succeed. Part of this learning experience will be in leasing. It will form a company with HELLER INTERNATIONAL CORP. to lease PCs and broadcasting equipment, with small businesses on tight budgets the main target. Sony will have a 51 percent stake in SONY FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC. Chicago-headquartered Heller, a major provider of financing to midsized and small American companies and a FUJI BANK., LTD. affiliate, will own the balance. Sony Financial Services expected to begin operations in June.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
MEIJI SEIKA KAISHA, LTD. is projecting that its U.S. sales of cookies, crackers, snack foods, including pretzels, and other bakery products will more than double in FY 2001 to $163.9 million. One step toward that goal was the purchase for an undisclosed amount of LAGUNA COOKIE CO. The Tustin, California company, which had sales of $20.5 million last year, makes Meiji Seika a bicoastal producer since it already owns D.F. STAUFFER BISCUIT CO., INC. of York, Pennsylvania. Another part of the Japanese company's game plan is to build a factory adjacent to Laguna Cookie's plant. The new facility will be in business sometime next year. Meiji Seika also will start U.S. production of a three-layer chocolate cookie called Petit Brunch and its chocolate-filled Pucca pretzel snack, first at its Pennsylvania facility and then at the California operation.
Add GREAT PINES WATER CO., INC. to the already long list of bottled water suppliers that the number two in this business, SUNTORY WATER GROUP, INC., owns (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 7). The acquisition bolsters the Marietta, Georgia company's position in the home and office bottled water market and, at the same time, extends its business to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Great Pines had sales of $9.5 million in 1998, exclusively from home and office delivery. Suntory Water Group now has delivery and retail customers in 38 states.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
LTV CORP.'s interest in converting Columbus, Ohio-based L-S II ELECTRO-GALVANIZING CO., which it equally owns with SUMITOMO METAL INDUSTRIES, LTD., from a producer of electrolytically galvanized steel sheet for the automotive industry to a supplier of hot-dipped galvanized sheet has strained the long-standing relationship between the two steelmakers. SMI reportedly did not believe that it had the technical expertise to contribute to a hot-dip operation. It consequently has agreed to sell its stake in L-S II, which began electrogalvanizing in 1991, to BETHLEHEM STEEL CORP. for an undisclosed price. The two American integrated steel mills will change the name of L-S II to COLUMBUS COATINGS CO. and launch production of hot-dipped galvanized and galvannealed flat-rolled steel in the fourth quarter. LTV and Bethlehem Steel also plan to form a steel-slitting and warehousing business called COLUMBUS PROCESSING CO. by taking over the assets of OHIO KANPOH STEEL INC. That Obetz, Ohio company, formed in 1991 by KANPOH STEEL CO., LTD. (55 percent) and SUMITOMO CORP., closed down in May. Despite the end of L-S II, Sumitomo Metal Industries and LTV will continue to run L-S ELECTRO-GALVANIZING CO., a Cleveland electrogalvanizing plant that they opened in 1986. SMI owns 40 percent of this firm.
SUMITOMO CORP. is gearing up to start marketing outside North America an ironmaking process commercialized by IRON DYNAMICS, INC. that produces a steel scrap substitute for use in electric arc furnaces. The trader received a license to the technology at the end of 1996. However, delays in completing IDI's first commercial plant, located in Butler, Indiana, held up the launch of its new business. With the IDI facility scheduled to go onstream this summer, Sumitomo's Chicago-headquartered IRON DYNAMICS PROCESS INTERNATIONAL L.L.C. is putting together a package of engineering, equipment and training services for the direct reduced iron process. It hopes to win three contracts from steel mills in Latin America and Asia over the next five years.
The loss of so much Japanese-owned semiconductor production capacity in the United States over the last 18 months or so had spillover effects on INTERNATIONAL LEADFRAME CORP. The Santa Clara, California subsidiary of MITSUI HIGH-TEC, INC. repeatedly scaled back production of integrated circuit leadframes before calling it quits. The company, which had been in business since 1980 and also did soldering and plating, has become a Mitsui High-tec sales office under a different name.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Although it has manufactured bearings in the United States for nearly three decades, MINEBEA CO., LTD., the world's dominant maker of miniature ball bearings, still is refining its market approach. Its latest move involves transferring more responsibility for development and production to NEW HAMPSHIRE BALL BEARINGS, INC., which runs two plants in New Hampshire that Minebea acquired in 1985 as well as the company's original factory in Chatsworth, California. That facility, which has made miniature and instrument ball bearings since 1971, will undergo a $20.5 million renovation this year to better equip it to respond to changing U.S. market requirements.
OILES CORP., a big manufacturer of self-lubricating bearings for automotive applications, including at a plant in Concord, North Carolina, has received an order from GENERAL MOTORS CORP. for cam units for body stampings that comply with the North American Automotive Metric Standards. The Big Three U.S. makers adopted NAAMS to standardize specifications for vehicle parts and the equipment used to make them in order to trim production costs. The GM contract is worth only about $1.6 million in the first year, but Oiles hopes that its ability to meet NAAMS specifications will translate into a $16.4 million annual business with GM in coming years. Production of the cam units could begin at the North Carolina facility, which opened in 1991, as soon as the end of this year.
Having decided to focus on its core automotive business, NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. has agreed in principle to sell its global forklift manufacturing and marketing business to NACCO MATERIALS HANDLING GROUP, INC. The final purchase price still needs to be worked out, but it is likely to top $300 million. The deal with the Portland, Oregon maker of Hyster and Yale lift trucks includes NISSAN FORKLIFT CORP. OF NORTH AMERICA. Nissan established this Marengo, Illinois company after buying a forklift manufacturer located there in 1988. NACCO Materials Handling also will take over Nissan's European forklift operations, which are anchored by a Spanish plant. In Japan, the pending acquisition, which is expected to be completed later this year, covers the Nissan lift truck factory in Tokyo and seven dealerships. NACCO Materials Handling already produces forklifts in Japan under the Yale and Sumitomo-Yale names through an equally owned venture with SUMITOMO HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. The Nissan brand name, product line and dealer network will be maintained, although NACCO Materials Handling expects some Nissan activities to be integrated with Hyster and Yale operations in time. Now the world's number-two producer of forklifts, the American company will become the biggest lift truck manufacturer once the transaction is finalized. Last year, NACCO Materials Handling and Nissan together turned out more than 100,000 units.
In October, MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. will open a recoating facility for its SuperDry gear-cutting machines at MHI MACHINE TOOL U.S.A., INC. in Itasca, Illinois, a move that will save automotive makers and other users both time and money. MHI's hobbing system uses no cutting fluids in grinding gears. Instead, the SuperDry hob cuts gears at what is said to be twice the speed of conventional machines through the combination of a high-speed steel base material developed by MHI and a proprietary coating that dissipates heat and reduces tool wear. Tool life reportedly is as much as five times longer than with a traditional hob. MHI has sold 50 SuperDry gear machines worldwide since introducing this technology in 1998.
For the first time in 10 years, KOMATSU LTD., the world's second-largest manufacturer of earthmoving and other construction equipment, has redesigned its line of bulldozers for the U.S. market. In succession, manufacturer and marketer KOMATSU AMERICA INTERNATIONAL CO. of Vernon Hills, Illinois will introduce a new big (872 horsepower) bulldozer, the D475A, several midsized products and, in the latter part of 2000, a number of small bulldozers. KAIC expects to sell 40 of the big earthmover in the first year of marketing. The D475A will list for $1.3 million. .....KOMATSU LTD. also has on the drawing boards for a FY 2000 launch a small skid-steer loader designed specifically for the American market. Affiliate KOMATSU ZENOAH CO. is responsible for developing and manufacturing the new product.
HOKUETSU INDUSTRIES CO., LTD., best known for its Airman line of screw compressors but a manufacturer as well of mini-excavators, diesel generators and engine welders, has launched a campaign to boost exports, particularly to the United States, to offset lagging sales at home. Represented by MITSUI MACHINERY DISTRIBUTION, INC. of Bridgeport, New Jersey, the Niigata prefecture firm has had some success in the American rental equipment market. In fact, a recent trade show produced an order for 55 Airman compressors and other products. Hokuetsu Industries' near-term goal is a broader U.S. distribution network.
Starting this fall, TOYO RADIATOR CO., LTD. will ship heat
exchangers to ALLIEDSIGNAL POWER SYSTEMS INC. for an innovative
75-kilowatt power-generating system that the Torrance, California
company has developed for such uses as standby power, portable power
or off-grid power generation. The Japanese automotive parts
manufacturer, which already makes heat
exchangers, will spend $16.4 million on a plant dedicated to supplying ASPS. Annual capacity will be 10,000 units. TOKYO BOEKI LTD. has exclusive rights to sell the TurboGenerator in Japan (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 20).
Rolling stock manufacturer NIPPON SHARYO, LTD. plans to launch exports of portable generators to the United States to take advantage initially of the demand for this electricity- producing source from businesses and consumers worried that the Y2K computer bug will disrupt power supplies. The company's sales goal is a modest 100 units a year.
An environmentally friendly four-cycle engine codeveloped by KOMATSU ZENOAH CO. and RYOBI LTD.'s R&D/design center in Chandler, Arizona is on the market under both companies' brand names. Designed for grass trimmers, brush cutters and other lawn and garden equipment, the engine is manufactured by RYOBI OUTDOOR PRODUCTS, INC., which also is located in Chandler. This fall, Norcross, Georgia-based KOMATSU ZENOAH AMERICA, INC. also will introduce a two- cycle engine that its parent developed. This product will be supplied as well to chainsaw manufacturer STIHL INC. of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
For approximately $1.3 million, ISHIKAWAJIMA-HARIMA HEAVY INDUSTRIES CO., LTD. acquired the nuclear power plant boiling-water reactor inspection unit of SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE. This move followed an early 1998 project between IHI engineers and the San Antonio, Texas group to devise a method for performing the often difficult job of inspecting the welds inside boiling-water reactors. Along with its ISHIKAWAJIMA INSPECTION & CONSTRUCTION CO., LTD. subsidiary, the diversified Japanese manufacturer formed IHI SOUTHWEST TECHNOLOGIES, INC. to run SWRI's nuclear power plant inspection business. The new company is looking for revenues of $5 million in the first year, but it hopes to double this figure quickly, in part by expanding operations to the dismantling of nuclear reactors.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on FUJICOLOR PROCESSING, INC.'s 27th wholesale photofinishing lab in the United States. Located in East Greenbush, New York, near Albany, the approximately $10 million facility will serve customers in New England as well as in upstate New York. The plant is expected to be operational in the spring of 2000. It will have a work force of 150-plus. Fujicolor Processing is the wholesale photofinishing subsidiary of Elmsford, New York-based FUJI PHOTO FILM U.S.A., INC.
KONICA CORP.'s July 1997 contract to supply copiers to TRM COPY CENTERS CORP., a Portland, Oregon company that leases coin-operated copiers to supermarkets, convenience stores and similar public locations, is turning into a big business. As of this spring, the Japanese company had delivered to TRM more than 20,000 Konica 2280s, a 30-copies-per-minute analog machine. Now, it has a tentative order for roughly 25,000 digital copiers to replace part of TRM's installed international base of 45,000 analog systems. The only drawback to the pending contract is that Konica will have to develop a product for TRM since it currently does not manufacture digital copiers in the specified 25-cpm to 30-cpm range.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Expanding a relationship that started in 1997, YOKOGAWA ELECTRIC CORP. has made an investment described as "significant" in 3A INTERNATIONAL INC. that gives it a 30 percent equity interest in the Tempe, Arizona supplier of IEEE 1394 test equipment as well as international distribution rights to its devices for testing the industry-standard high-speed, low-cost interconnection between and among digital consumer electronics products, PCs and industrial appliances. The agreement also establishes a framework for joint product development. Since tying up with 3A to sell its product line in Japan, YEC, which also makes an IEEE 1394 testing device, has captured 80 percent of the domestic market. Both companies see considerable growth potential for development tools and test equipment designed for the IEEE 1394 standard, which also is known as FireWire (Apple Computer, Inc.) and iLink (Sony Corp.), particularly in digital home networks.
Over the next two years, FANUC ROBOTICS NORTH AMERICA, INC. expects to buy more than $1 million worth of machine vision systems from world leader COGNEX CORP. Rochester Hills, Michigan-based Fanuc Robotics, which has manufactured painting, welding, materials- handling, assembly and other robotic systems since 1987, will use Cognex's PatMax machine vision technology in a new generation of vision-guided robotic systems known as the Vision Integrator Package and visLOC. The PatMax software allows the robot to recognize and locate parts with a high degree of accuracy despite changes in their angle, size or appearance.
SURUGA SEIKI CO., LTD. and the Auburn Group Optics division of COHERENT, INC. have signed a cross-supply agreement in the optical-related products field. The Shimizu, Shizuoka prefecture manufacturer will provide optical-fiber positioning and aligning equipment to its Santa Clara, California partner on an OEM basis. Communications companies use this equipment to link the centers of optical fibers. In exchange, Coherent's Tokyo subsidiary will supply such products as diode lasers and laser propagation analyzers to Suruga Seiki for sale through its catalog.
MARUBENI CORP. joined eight earlier investors in raising $6 million in venture financing for R2 TECHNOLOGY, INC., the Los Altos, California developer of the ImageChecker breast cancer screening tool. The only such product approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the computer-aided detection system helps radiologists lower the chances of false negative readings when reviewing the results of mammograms. Marubeni put up $3 million of the new funding for R2 Technology, giving it a 3 percent stake in the company. In return, the trader's MEDITEC CORP. subsidiary received the exclusive right to distribute the ImageChecker system in Japan for three years.
Through its 1996 acquisition of ABX DIAGNOSTICS, INC. and the Irvine, California marketing company's French parent, a manufacturer of hematology analyzers for medical laboratories, hospitals and physician offices, HORIBA, LTD. hopes to build clinical instrumentation into a business rivaling its automotive emissions testing equipment (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 8). Its parallel goal is to boost ABX Diagnostics' share of the world hematology analyzer market to 15 percent in 2002 from 7 percent now. In time, ABX Diagnostics plans to manufacture hematology equipment as well as reagents in the United States. In the interim, it established a second facility in Irvine to provide technical support, service, customer training and customer service, plus warehousing and distribution.
Although its name generally is associated with copiers and other imaging products, CANON INC. is a longtime player in the medical diagnostic equipment business. To promote sales of its new digital radiographic X-ray equipment and associated picture archiving and communications system to hospitals, the company's Lake Success, New York subsidiary formed the Canon Medical Systems division in Irvine, California. This group will be supported initially by technical, sales and marketing people in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York City. The FDA- approved Canon Digital Radiography System allows medical personnel to preview X-ray images within 3 seconds of exposure and to view high-resolution diagnostic images about 30 seconds after exposure since they do not have to wait for film to be developed. PACS then displays, disseminates and archives the images.
YOSHIDA CORP. has given AFP IMAGING CORP. of Elmsford, New York exclusive rights to distribute in North and South America its panoramic and pan/cepholometric imaging devices for dental radio-graphy. An integrated patient chair and X-ray unit, the system is used mainly for whole jaw X-ray imaging by dentists, orthodontists and oral surgeons. Yoshida's panoramic dental X-ray equipment has been sold in the United States for more than 20 years under the Panoura Ultra Pan name.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Commercial supplies of indium-gallium-phosphide epitaxial wafers the fastest-growing segment of the gallium-arsenide epitaxial wafer market will be available this summer from a new source. SUMITOMO ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES, LTD. has signed a long-term agreement with EMCORE CORP. to collaborate on the development and the production of these wafers for use as heterojunction bipolar transistor devices in digital wireless applications. The wafers will be produced at Emcore's Somerset, New Jersey wafer foundry, which has the capability to provide 3-inch, 4-inch and 6-inch wafers in the volumes that the wireless industry requires to compete on cost with traditional ion-implantation-device fabrication methods. SEI will market the wafers in Japan. Emcore specializes in the design, development and output of compound semiconductor wafers and the tools and the processes to make them.
Six weeks after they agreed to team up on North American sales of light-emitting diodes, STANLEY ELECTRIC CO., LTD. a big automotive lighting manufacturer and one of the world's largest suppliers of LEDs of all types and SLI, INC. of Canton, Massachusetts decided to form the first U.S. company for the production of surface-mount-device LEDs. SLI, which has a dominant share of the miniature lamp market in North America through its Chicago Miniature Lamp division, will own 70 percent of the joint venture. The site of the LED encapsulation facility has not yet been selected. The partners project fast-expanding demand in the next few years for SMD LEDs in value-added systems assemblies. Their goal is to rival HEWLETT- PACKARD CO., the North American LED market leader.
With the aim of speeding time-to-market for feature-rich, cost-effective Internet Protocol telephony products, HITACHI, LTD.'s U.S. semiconductor operation is working with ELEMEDIA, a LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES INC. company, to cospecify, develop and market IP telephony technologies and reference platforms. In particular, they will share expertise in the areas of embedded processor design and embedded signal processing and communications protocols. elemedia, one of the first venture businesses that Lucent launched, markets software platforms used in the development of carrier-grade systems and applications for IP telephony. This technology will be combined with Hitachi's SuperH RISC (reduced instruction-set computing) processors, which provide both IP and signal processing capabilities.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
DIGITAL SIGN CORP., a Kanagawa prefecture company that specializes in buying and developing electronic commerce-related intellectual property, acquired for stock PAWNBROKER.COM, INC. and took the Reno, Nevada company's name as its own. It also raised $3 million through a private placement. This money will be used for additional hardware and software requirements as well as for marketing and working capital as Pawnbroker.Com attempts to become the leader in the sale of high-quality goods at reasonable prices through the Internet.
On top of an initial investment of $30 million, companies affiliated with SOFTBANK CORP. put another $35 million into INSWEB CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 7). The Redwood City, California company, which bills itself as the Internet's leading insurance marketplace, helps people shopping for insurance save time and money by offering free, multiple quotes from 33 insurers providing automobile, term life, homeowners, renters, individual health and short-term medical coverage. InsWeb will use part of the Softbank money to develop a variety of additional products and services for its site. In the meantime, the two companies are moving forward with their plan to develop an on-line insurance marketplace for Japanese consumers.
The venture capital fund affiliated with SOFTBANK HOLDINGS INC. was one of two major participants in an $8 million initial round of financing for ANYDAY. COM, INC. The goal of the Cambridge, Massachusetts business, which had a June launch date for its site, is to put people in control of their day by offering them easy-to-use management services integrated with a comprehensive event directory, group calendaring and scheduling all of which can be synchronized with leading personal information management and PDA products.
Four international heavyweights have agreed to combine forces to create a "robust, secure, flexible and scalable" infrastructure for the distribution of digital music and other media over the Internet. The project to develop and test what is being called electronic media distribution technology brings together MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. with AT&T CORP., BMG ENTERTAINMENT, a unit of Germany's BERTELSMANN AG, and UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, a SEAGRAM CO. business. MEI will contribute technology to thwart illegal copying. It also will develop consumer electronics products to store and retrieve media, something that the EMD technology will allow. AT&T will provide its a2b music compression and encryption technologies, while BMG Entertainment and Universal Music, both biggies in the recorded music business, will supply content. The four partners hope to begin a U.S. trial of the EMD technology, which will provide access to graphics, video, lyrics and links to Web sites in addition to digital music, before yearend.
So impressed was the Deloitte Consulting unit of DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP with HITACHI, LTD.'s TradeLink that it tied up with HITACHI COMPUTER PRODUCTS (AMERICA), INC., the U.S. marketer of Hitachi's software products, to offer the suite of Internet commerce software to the world's biggest corporations. The focus of the partnership is to integrate and streamline companies' business-to-business and business-to-consumer Internet commerce solutions while preserving their investments in legacy and enterprise resource planning systems.
The Torrance, California marketing unit of ALPINE ELECTRONICS, INC., which bills itself as the pioneer of navigation systems for cars and trucks, has released the fourth generation of software for its in-vehicle GPS (global positioning satellite) route-guidance system. The new version, priced at $150, includes such added features as points of interest category searches, autodialing a destination and receiving wireless data and text messages.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
To protect its turf in the public and private communications network business as bandwidth- intensive applications strain the capacities of nationwide carriers and Internet services providers, NEC AMERICA, INC.'s Herndon, Virginia Public Networks Group disclosed that it is developing a complete family of what it calls super routers. The first of these products, the IX7000 core router, is expected to be available in late 1999. NEC promises that this product will offer superior levels of packet-forwarding capabilities, support for various line interfaces and an effective migration path from North American carriers' existing ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) and SONET (synchronous optical network) networks.
In preparation for launching transpacific services, TOKYO TELECOMMUNICATIONS NETWORK CO., INC. is in the process of forming a subsidiary in Los Angeles and applying to the Federal Communications Commission for an operating license. It also has acquired at a cost of about $6 million capacity on the Japan-U.S. Cable Network. This 13,000-mile, high-capacity, undersea fiber-optic network is scheduled to be operational in the second quarter of 2000 (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 348, September 1998, p. 7). TTNet initially will have 310 megabits of transmission capacity, but it already is talking about buying more.
A three-year agreement with INTERMEDIA COMMUNICATIONS INC. will enable NTT AMERICA, INC. to offer its customers nationwide, end-to-end frame-relay services. The Tampa, Florida company is the fourth-largest U.S. frame-relay provider. The arrangement also gives ntta.com the option of adding other Intermedia services.
For its part, KDD AMERICA, INC. tapped ABOVENET COMMUNICATIONS, INC. to provide Internet connectivity, colocation and 24x7 facility management. This support will allow KDD to offer a variety of communications services to companies in the United States interested in conducting business in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. The San Jose, California company won the long-term contract on the strength of its secure colocation facility and its peering relationships with more than 250 domestic and international ISPs.
MARUBENI CORP. joined 10 other big-name investors in putting together $50 million in financing for NETWORK COMPUTER, INC., the developer of a standards-based software platform that enables the delivery of Internet-enhanced content and applications to TV set-top boxes, game consoles, smart phones and handheld computers. NEC CORP., NINTENDO CO., LTD., SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD. and SONY CORP. are among the earlier backers of NCI. At the end of last year, the Redwood Shores, California company licensed its software to ISP DREAM TRAIN INTERNET CORP., a MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. subsidiary, and to Marubeni's INTERACTIVE CABLE AND COMMUNICATIONS CORP. With the completion of the new round of fund-raising, NCI changed its name to LIBERATE TECHNOLOGIES.
IKEGAMI TSUSHINKI CO., LTD., Japan's leading producer of television studio cameras, has won its first foreign order for two high-definition TV digital cameras that it released late last year. The buyer is HUDSON RIVER STUDIOS, a New York City programming production house. By this fall, it will have 28 of Ikegami's HDK-790D and HDK-79D cameras, both of which feature a high-resolution 2.2-million-pixel CCD (charge-coupled device). Another of their selling points is the ability to handle a number of the HDTV broadcasting formats in use in the United States.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Unable to meet U.S. demand for its products despite an extensive North American production base, HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. will invest $400 million in a light truck factory located about 40 miles east of Birmingham, Alabama in the town of Lincoln. Work on the plant will begin in mid- 2000, with production scheduled to start in the spring of 2002 and expected to reach capacity output of 120,000 vehicles a year in 2003. Light trucks, especially sport-utility vehicles and minivans, are the hottest-selling products in the United States, but that is where Honda is weakest. Company executives have not yet decided what specific models will be built in Alabama. However, industry analysts are betting that one product will be the Odyssey minivan now made at Honda's Alliston, Ontario plant since capacity there falls far short of demand. Another possibility is a new, Odyssey-based SUV that the Canadian plant will start turning out in late 2000. Whatever vehicle is assembled in Alabama, the plant will represent a break with how Honda, the first Japanese automotive maker to manufacture in the United States (1982), builds vehicles at its sprawling Marysville, Ohio factory or at its facilities in East Liberty, Ohio, Canada and Mexico. For starters, the 1,500 people expected to be working at the Lincoln factory by 2003 will assemble trucks and their engines simultaneously. In effect, every engine will be made to order for a specific vehicle. The complex will have an aluminum casting foundry, even though the production run is extremely limited. It will not, however, have its own body stamping and plastic parts molding facilities, a major departure from standard practice for Honda. All those components will be sourced from outside vendors. In fact, Honda will have to develop a new network of suppliers since most of its 450-odd current suppliers are located in Ohio or elsewhere in the upper Midwest.
The day after HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. announced plans for a light truck plant in Alabama, the company said that it would spend $30 million to expand capacity at the HONDA OF AMERICA MANUFACTURING, INC. engine plant in Anna, Ohio. This facility currently can produce 900,000 engines a year enough for the Accord, Civic and various Acura sedans currently built in Marysville, Ohio, East Liberty, Ohio, Alliston, Ontario and Mexico (Accords only) and for the Odyssey minivan made in Canada. However, with an expansion now underway at the Alliston factory to boost Odyssey output and another planned to launch production of Honda's new SUV there, the company wants to increase the Anna plant's engine capacity to 1,001,000 units a year by 2001. That includes four-cylinder Accord and Civic engines as well as 3.0-liter V-6 engines for Accord and Acura sedans and Odyssey minivans. The additional investment in the engine factory is part of the roughly $360 million that Honda plans to spend, mostly in Japan, over the next three years to strengthen its global position.
RICHMOND AUTO PARTS TECHNOLOGY, INC. plans to launch integrated production of V-6 transmission gears for HONDA TRANSMISSION MANUFACTURING OF AMERICA, INC. in Marysville, Ohio. Richmond, Kentucky-based RAPT, a subsidiary of AICHI KIKI CO., LTD. that recently began operations, currently imports forged materials from Japan and then machines, grinds and heat processes them into gears. Through an additional investment in forging machines and other equipment, RAPT will have the capability by 2001 to perform all the manufacturing steps to make 1,400 sets of seven gears each per day for HTM, or 340,000 a year. By then, Nagoya-based Aichi Kiki expects to have invested $46.8 million in RAPT, which should be doing more than $25 million in annual business and to have 86 people on its payroll.
What big sealing component manufacturer FREUDENBERG-NOK calls its focused-factory strategy plants dedicated to specific processes and products is moving forward in New Hampshire (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 350, November 1998, p. 10). By early next year, the Plymouth, Michigan-headquartered joint venture between NOK CORP. and Germany's FREUDENBERG & CO. will open plants in Franklin and Laconia, New Hampshire to produce bearing seals and shock, strut and steering seals. Equipment and personnel will be transferred to these plants from the company's huge complex in Bristol. In the meantime, Freudenberg- NOK's Ashland facility, which makes low-volume radial shaft seals for general industrial applications as well as automotive products, is at full production. Moreover, in early June, the company opened a factory in Northfield dedicated to the production of highly engineered axle seals for light and heavy-duty trucks.
HITACHI METALS, LTD. has reorganized its U.S. iron castings operations in the United States. The company sold EMI CO. of Erie, Pennsylvania to GUNITE CORP., a JOHNSTOWN AMERICA INDUSTRIES, INC. subsidiary that manufacturers wheel-end components for medium and heavy- duty trucks and trailers, for about $18.7 million. EMI, which Hitachi Metals bought into in 1988, has annual revenues of approximately $55 million. Roughly 40 percent of that volume comes from wheel-end components for medium and heavy trucks and trailers. The Japanese parent retained EMI's other businesses, including wheels and brake drums for medium and heavy-duty trucks and trailers, and integrated them into ACP MANUFACTURING CO. L.L.C. of Lowensville, Pennsylvania. Hitachi Metals also owns 11-year-old AAP ST. MARYS CORP. in St. Marys, Ohio, a manufacturer of aluminum wheels for cars and light trucks.
Major automotive interior supplier JOHNSON CONTROLS, INC. will buy a seat-trim plant in Glasgow, Kentucky from TECHNOTRIM INC., a Livonia, Michigan-headquartered partnership between TACHI-S CO., LTD. (49 percent) and JCI. TechnoTrim, which also operates seat-trim plants in Maysville, Kentucky and Stockton, California, announced in March that the Glasgow plant, opened in 1992, would be closed because of the company's new plant in Mexico. Johnson Controls will convert the factory to make sun visors and overhead consoles. About 300 TechnoTrim employees in Glasgow will be offered jobs with Johnson Controls.
Window regulators for three upcoming GENERAL MOTORS CORP. products will be supplied by HI-LEX CONTROLS, INC. of Litchfield, Michigan. The vehicles are the next-generation Chevrolet S10 pickup and Pontiac Grand Prix and a new Saturn SUV. The contracts are valued at $28 million a year. Hi-Lex Controls, a NIPPON CABLE SYSTEM INC. unit, has made window regulators since 1990. To ensure that it continues to win orders like the one from GM as well as contracts for the automotive control cables made by HI-LEX CORP. in Battle Creek, Michigan, Nippon Cable System opened a large technical development and testing facility in Troy, Michigan.
In July, ASAHI RUBBER INC. of Fukushima prefecture will open a wholly owned subsidiary in Arlington Heights, Illinois to market color silicone rubber caps. FORD MOTOR CO. and GENERAL MOTORS CORP. will be the primary sales focus of ARI CORP.'s staff. The caps are designed to cover small light bulbs in car and truck instrument panels. In FY 2003, Asahi Rubber, reportedly the sole manufacturer of lighting-use color caps for automotive applications, expects this part of its U.S. business to generate annual sales of $4.5 million.
The decision by New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to award Canada's BOMBARDIER, INC. a firm contract for 192 electric commuter cars for the Long Island Rail Road and an option for 808 more (including cars for the Metro North Railroad) has opened a new business in the United States for MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. The Japanese company is Bombardier's subcontractor for the cars' motors, main control systems and other electrical equipment. The firm part of the order is worth $445 million. If MTA exercises all its options, the contract would be valued at close to $1.9 billion. Bombardier calculates that about one- fourth of the project's costs will be for electrical components. Deliveries of the commuter cars to LIRR will start in 2002 and extend over five years.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Furniture and floor cleaning products giant S.C. JOHNSON & SON, INC. will start U.S. sales this fall of a disposable mop that it licensed from KAO CORP. for marketing in 130 countries. What the Japanese developer calls the Quickie Wiper in Japan uses a pad covered with throwaway treated paper-like sheets. S.C. Johnson will market the mops under the Pledge name. Sales of Quickie Wiper in Japan, where it was introduced in 1994, totaled some 17 million by the end of last year.
In another licensing deal, big toy maker TOMY CO., LTD. gave TOYMAX INC. the right to develop new product lines for American and international sale based on two of its concepts. For the girls' lifestyle category, the Plainview, New York company designed a line of electronic and activity products, marketed as the Girls Best Friends Club, using elements of Tomy's Friendship Club products. Toymax also launched the Battle Drones line of radio-controlled robotic action figures. These are updates of Tomy's classic toys.
In a seemingly strange diversification, Sapporo sightseeing bus operator KAMORI KANKO CO., LTD. established a 10-person company in Denver to provide background information, including financial data, on people that have applied for jobs with client companies. Most of AMERICAN DATABANK CORP.'s customers are likely to be Japanese-affiliated businesses operating in the United States. The cost of information about a prospective employee is just $6.00 since American Databank provides no analysis or evaluation of the data.
The city of Iizuka in Fukuoka prefecture has awarded a $50,000 annual contract to Stanford University's Center for the Study of Language and Information to advise it on how to develop an information technology industry. Center staff members will travel twice a year to Iizuka to lecture. They also will survey the city's academic and corporate infrastructure to help local officials devise development strategies.
JAPAN AIRLINES CO., LTD. and AMR CORP.'s American Airlines have inaugurated the transpacific code-sharing arrangement they announced in February 1998. For now, American's designator code is on JAL flights between Tokyo and Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco and between Osaka and Chicago and Lose Angeles as well as on certain flights within Japan. At the same time, JAL's designator code appears on American's flights between Tokyo and Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Jose, California and Seattle and on AA's Dallas/Fort Worth-Osaka route. It also shows up on American flights between Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. The two carriers expect to add more code-shared routes later this year.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Having decided that their corporate interests would be better served in Japan if they went their separate ways, HERCULES INC. and NEW JAPAN CHEMICAL CO., LTD. have agreed to dissolve RIKA HERCULES CO., LTD. at the end of June. Formed in 1980, Rika Hercules has made rosin derivatives at the Japanese parent's plant in Tokushima prefecture for sale to the adhesives, ink and paint industries in Japan and Southeast Asia. It had revenues of $20.8 million in the year through November 1998. New Japan Chemical will become the sole owner of the Tokushima facility. Hercules, a Wilmington, Delaware-headquartered manufacturer of chemical specialties, subsequently announced a reorganization of its Japanese operations. Its 20-year- old Tokyo subsidiary selected NISSHO IWAI CORP. as the exclusive distributor effective July 1 of the company's hydrocarbon resins, rosin derivatives, peroxy chemicals and terpene specialties to adhesives, ink and paint manufacturers in Japan and Southeast Asia.
DOW CORNING TORAY SILICONE CO., LTD. hopes that a silicone elastomer powder suspension that it developed will turn into a $16.4 million annual business after three years. The water-based suspension, in which fine particles of silicone spherical elastomer powder are dispersed, can be used in a variety of formulations where dry powder would be hard to disperse. It has good temperature and abrasion resistance as well as good damping absorption and stress relaxation. The partnership between DOW CORNING CORP. and TORAY INDUSTRIES, INC. notes in particular that the material yields a matted surface in painting applications.
For its part, SUMITOMO 3M LTD. is projecting first-year sales of $2.5 million for a high heat- dissipation silicone rubber that it developed. The 3M Scotch Hyper Soft Plus Thermal Conductive Material 5507 and 5507S, which differ in width, is just as pliable as conventional rubber but can conduct twice the amount of heat. Those characteristics make the products ideal for insulating microprocessors and system chips.
VIVUS, INC., the developer and manufacturer of MUSE (alprostadil), has named BIO-MEDIC INSTITUTE, INC. to commercialize and gain regulatory approval for its treatment of impotence. BMI, which provides new drug planning and development services to Japanese pharmaceutical companies, will make a $5 million up-front payment to the Mountain View, California company. Once the Ministry of Health and Welfare clears MUSE for marketing, Vivus will manufacture the drug and sell it to its partner, which is negotiating with an unnamed domestic pharmaceutical company to market the treatment.
On behalf of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based MEDCO RESEARCH, INC., Japan development and marketing partner SUNTORY LTD. filed a new drug application with MHW for adenosine. The specific indication is as a coronary vasodilator for use with myocardial perfusion imaging in patients who are unable to adequately exercise. No products currently have MHW clearance for use as a pharmacologic stressor in nuclear cardiac imaging despite the growing prevalence of this procedure. Adenosine will be sold under the Adenoscan name, which is how it is marketed in the United States by FUJISAWA HEALTHCARE, INC. and in Europe.
The University of Tokyo will evaluate AVAX TECHNOLOGIES, INC.'s AC Vaccine as a treatment for breast cancer. As part of the arrangement, the Kansas City, Missouri company will share its technology with the university so that it can produce the vaccine for a clinical trial. AC Vaccine is made from a patient's own cancer cells by modifying them with a molecule called a hapten. This process alters the tumor cells and makes them appear foreign to the patient's immune system. When the hapten-modified cells are reinjected in the patient, they stimulate the immune system to recognize the cancer cells and destroy them. AVAX is testing the vaccine in the United States as a treatment for malignant melanoma and for ovarian cancer.
Japan is the top country in the world for direct sales. That makes it an obvious expansion target for REXALL SHOWCASE INTERNATIONAL, INC., which markets health and nutrition products through networks of independent distributors. The Boca Raton, Florida company has opened a subsidiary in Tokyo and established a Rexall Academy to educate distributors about nutrition, preventative health care and the benefits of Rexall's products. RSI's parent, REXALL SUNDOWN, INC., recently signed ROHTO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. to market an exclusive line of vitamins and other nutritional supplements (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 13).
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
On top of all the problems that NEC CORP. has had with PACKARD BELL NEC, INC., its majority- owned Sacramento, California PC manufacturing and marketing company (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 3), the joint venture that the two formed in Tokyo in September 1996 to sell desktop and notebook PCs has not lived up to expectations. The equally owned company had expected to sell 160,000 PCs in FY 1997, mainly to corporate customers, for revenues of $213.1 million and 300,000 machines in FY 1998 for a total of $409.8 million. Instead, it sold only about 10,000 systems in FY 1998, generating sales of just $16.4 million or so. Accordingly, NEC said that it would dissolve the joint venture at the end of June.
Demand for PCs in Japan, particularly for home use, has staged a strong rebound this spring. However, American computer vendors continue to rework their sales strategies, at least at the fringes, to ensure that they are positioned to capitalize on the strengthening market. For instance, DELL COMPUTER CORP., which made its name as the top U.S. direct marketer by catering to corporate customers, will put more emphasis on the consumer market in Japan. Signifying this new focus, its subsidiary will release as soon as this fall PC models priced below $1,000. While the low end of the market in Japan has been moving in this direction, to date, no major PC seller has broken through the $1,000 price barrier. Dell says that technical advances have made it possible for the company to sell machines at low prices and still make money.
For its part, the subsidiary of rival direct marketer GATEWAY 2000, INC., whose customer base consists mainly of individuals and small and midsize businesses, is going after major accounts. Having set up a corporate sales division last year aimed at big buyers, Gateway planned a June launch of an on-line link between that division and the purchasing departments of large companies. By yearend, it hopes to have 30 clients for the service, which will allow them to obtain product information, estimates, and sales and technical support over the Internet as well as to place orders and specify configurations. Gateway is not forgetting its roots in its quest for major accounts, however. Later this year, it will begin an installation service for small and midsize firms. The company will match products to customers' requirements as well as provide upgrade and support services. It also will accept equipment trade-ins. Moreover, Gateway hopes by yearend to extend nationwide a service now available in the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya metropolitan areas that helps first-time PC users to get up and running. A 90-minute installation job costs about $125. Training in how to use Windows and other programs also is available, starting at roughly $125 for two hours.
By October 1, NIHON UNISYS, LTD. will complete the transfer of its sizable maintenance operations to its wholly owned UNIADEX LTD. subsidiary. Mainframe service will the last part of this business to be shifted. A big reason for the switch is that most corporate networks now are made up of hardware from a number of vendors, not just Nihon Unisys equipment. Uniadex had revenues of $161.5 million in FY 1998. The addition of mainframe maintenance should boost that figure to around $352.5 million.
Continuing to raise the bar on mainframe performance more quickly than rivals FUJITSU, LTD. and HITACHI, LTD., INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. had a June ship date in both the United States and Japan for its sixth generation of enterprise-class server technology since 1994. The latest S/390 Parallel Enterprise Server performs 1,600 million instructions per second when configured with 12 of IBM's new copper-interconnect processors. That represents roughly a 50 percent performance boost over the S/390 G5 machine (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 345, June 1998, p. 10). Capacity is not the only competitive advantage of the S/390 G6, IBM executives note. They also are touting its bandwidth and flexibility, saying that the combination makes the new line ideal not only for such traditional mainframe jobs like running corporate data bases and on-line transaction processing but also for Internet-based businesses. IBM JAPAN LTD.'s mainframe marketing unit is pitching the S/390 G6 for enterprise resource planning, supply chain management and e-commerce in particular.
Designers, engineers and other power users that prefer the stability of the Unix operating system have a new generation of workstations available from HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. powered by the company's 64-bit PA-8500 RISC processor. The new line of HP VISUALIZE workstations starts with the B-Class. Aimed at computer-aided design engineers and three-dimensional solid modelers, these models use a 300-MHz PA-8500. Pricing in Japan goes from $26,100. For mechanical engineers performing simulations, virtual prototyping, complex modeling and other high-end visualization, there is the C-Class with a 400-MHz version of the processor and prices that begin at $35,700. The latest HP VISUALIZE series is topped off by the J-Class. Capable of handling two 440-MHz PA-8500 processors, these workstations are targeted at the most demanding jobs, including advanced 3D design. Pricing starts at $45,700. HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD., which will supply the new HP VISUALIZE machines to HITACHI, LTD. and OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD. on an OEM basis, is projecting sales of 15,000 units in the next year.
Protecting its turf in the Unix workstation market, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary unveiled three performance-enhanced versions of previously introduced desktop products. The entry-level Ultra 5 workstation now is powered by a 360-MHz UltraSPARC-IIi processor. Priced from just $3,700, it is aimed at cost-conscious buyers running two-dimensional applications. For 3D graphics tasks, Sun has the Ultra 10, now available with a 440-MHz UltraSPARC-IIi processor and the Elite graphics accelerator for as little as $8,200. Sun's fastest desktop workstation is the Ultra 60, which can be configured with one or two 450-MHz UltraSPARC-II processors. Its pricing starts at $22,400.
The just-introduced AlphaServer DS10 not only is the world's fastest single-processor RISC machine, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. boasts, but it also hits a new price point for 64-bit computing, starting at $3,500 in the United States and $8,100 in Japan. Powered by a 466- MHz Alpha 21264 processor and offering a choice of operating system (Tru64 Unix, Linux, OpenVMS or Windows NT), the AlphaServer DS10 is being targeted at fast-growing but budget- minded markets, including ISPs, Web servers and e-commerce. For more demanding business or technical computing applications, Compaq's subsidiary simultaneously released the AlphaServer ES40. It can handle as many as four of the company's new 500-MHz Alpha 21264 processors.
About $2,800 allows corporate software developers to take advantage of the extremely fast processing speed and enhanced graphics capabilities of a 550-MHz Pentium III Xeon processor in a desktop PC. That is the price of the base configuration of GATEWAY 2000, INC.'s GX-550 system. It includes 128 MB of internal memory and a 13-GB hard drive but no monitor.
The same processor also is available in GATEWAY 2000, INC.'s E-5250 PC workstation, which is targeted at such applications as mechanical CAD, software development, digital content creation and geographical information systems. The built-to-order, dual processor-capable machine features the high-end processor with a choice of L2 cache, the 440GX AGP (accelerated graphics port) chipset offering up to 2 GB of synchronous DRAM memory with 100-MHz system bus technology, a variety of graphics accelerator options, a 9-GB SCSI hard drive and several monitor alternatives. A typically configured E-5250 technical workstation costs $6,600.
The release of the multimedia-boosting 550-MHz version of INTEL CORP.'s Pentium III processor has triggered another wave of product introductions. In the PC workstation market, they include COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s refreshed AP200 Professional Workstations. Designed for users seeking a cost-effective, entry-level, single-processor system, the AP200 comes with the 440BX AGP chipset and a choice of graphics accelerators: Compaq PowerStorm 300, Matrox Millennium G200 or ELSA GLoria Synergy+. Pricing begins at $4,000.
DELL COMPUTER CORP.'s entry-level and midrange Precision WorkStations also can be configured with one or two 550-MHz Pentium III processors for as low as $2,700. The world's leading direct computer systems company used the release of these models to offer buyers a choice of graphics adapters from DIAMOND MULTIMEDIA SYSTEMS, INC. The Diamond Viper V770D now is the entry-level graphics option for the Precision WorkStation 210 and 410 as well as for the Pentium III Xeon-equipped Precision WorkStation 610. Alternatively, buyers of the Precision WorkStation 410 and 610 can opt for the Diamond Fire GL1, which is designed specifically for the 3D OpenGL workstation market.
The performance advantages of the 550-MHz Pentium III processor are available as well in DELL COMPUTER CORP.'s departmental and workgroup Pow-erEdge servers and in its OptiPlex GX1 and GX1p desktop PCs for corporate users. The latter machines start at just under $2,000 for the new engine, plus 64 MB of synchronous DRAM memory, 6.4 GB of hard drive storage, 3Com 10/100 Wake-up On LAN (local area network) networking, integrated 2X AGP video with 4 MB of integrated video memory, integrated audio, a 32X CD-ROM drive and Windows 95.
COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s corporate customers also have access to the processing power of the 550-MHz Pentium III chip in selected Deskpro EN and Deskpro EP models. The high end of the Deskpro EP line, the Deskpro 6550/10/CDS/N, lists for $3,100, which includes a 10-GB hard drive, a 32X CD-ROM drive, a 2X AGP graphics card and a 17-inch monitor.
Giving corporate PC users more power is just one thrust in desktop marketing. Another current angle is a space-saving design. IBM JAPAN LTD., for example, announced the four-model PC 300PL Slim line. These products have in common a 400-MHz Celeron processor, 64 MB of SDRAM memory, an 8.4-GB hard drive and a CD-ROM drive. Their monitors differ both in type TFT LCD or cathode-ray tube and in size. Prices range from $1,600 to $3,500.
The subsidiary of GATEWAY 2000, INC., one of the first vendors to discover that a stylish, space-saving, all-in-one desktop design would sell, particularly if it was customized for Japanese users, has unveiled new models in its Profile series. It already is selling the Profile LS for the home buyer. Powered by a 400-MHz AMD-K6-2 processor with 3D Now! technology from ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC., this $2,000 machine features 64 MB of internal memory, a 6.4-GB hard drive, a 2X DVD-ROM drive and a 15-inch color XGA TFT LCD display that has all of the system's electronics built into its base. Gateway also had a late June ship date for the Profile SE, a model designed for use as a network computer. It is less expensive than the Profile LS because the storage capacity is smaller and a CD-ROM drive is installed in place of the DVD-ROM drive.
Slim also sells in notebook PCs. For instance, COMPAQ COMPUTER
CORP.'s subsidiary added two models to its Presario 1900 Series of
ultrathin, lightweight products for home computing. Both
are optimized for Internet access and feature a removable drive wedge. The higher-end product, the Presario 1925, uses a 400PE MHz mobile Pentium II and provides 64 MB of memory, a 6.4-GB hard drive, a second-generation DVD-ROM drive and a 13.3-inch XGA TFT LCD display.
For corporate customers just as interested in value as performance, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s marketing unit has the Armada 1500c notebook. Available at a number of price points, including $1,400 for the base model, these machines all use the new 366-MHz mobile Celeron processor.
GATEWAY 2000, INC.'s latest entry in the svelte category is the Solo 3150, which is just 1.2 inches thick and weighs only 5.2 pounds fully loaded, including its DVD-ROM drive. A model with a 333-MHz Celeron processor, 32 MB of internal memory, a 4-GB hard drive, a 24X CD- ROM drive and a 12.1-inch screen goes for $2,200.
For buyers who want all the bells and whistles of a desktop machine in a notebook PC, GATEWAY 2000, INC. introduced several Solo 9150 models. One configuration pairs a 366-MHz mobile Pentium II processor with 128 MB of memory, a 14.1-GB hard drive, a removable combination DVD/SuperDisk diskette drive and a 15.1-inch XGA TFT LCD display for $3,600.
A 14.1-inch TFT LCD screen now is available in the business-focused Latitude line of notebooks from DELL COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary. The Latitude CPt C333GT comes standard with a 333-MHz mobile Celeron processor, 32 MB of RAM, a 4.3-GB hard drive, a 24X CD-ROM drive and the large display for $2,200.
IBM JAPAN LTD.'s latest PC innovation is to pack an almost full-size keyboard into a mininotebook, the ThinkPad 240. Weighing only 2.9 pounds, including the battery, and measuring 1.05 x 10.2 x 8 inches, these machines run off a 300-MHz Celeron processor and feature a 10.4-inch SVGA TFT LCD screen. Depending on the model, 32 or 64 MB of SDRAM memory is available, as is a 3.2-GB or a 6.4-GB hard drive. A well-equipped system costs about $2,000.
For people willing to sacrifice functionality to gain portability, IBM JAPAN LTD. introduced the WorkPad c3. Small (4.5 inches in length) and lightweight (4.2 ounces), this PDA or personal organizer has only half the 4 MB of memory of the WorkPad introduced earlier this year (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 16) and no expansion slots. However, it still can be used to store memos, lists of thing to do, addresses, schedules and the like for transfer later to a PC. Moreover, it has handwriting-recognition capability and an easier-to- read screen. At $450, the WorkPad c3 costs about $40 more than the previously released model.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is marketing a second color handheld product running Windows CE Handheld PC Professional Edition (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 16). The Jornada 680, which has an estimated street price of $1,100, measures 7.4 x 3.7 x 1.3 inches and weighs just 1.1 pounds. Yet it sports a 6.5-inch screen displaying 256 colors and a keyboard that is 76 percent the size of a normal PC keyboard. In addition, a faster processor has improved performance.
With the iMac adding luster to the APPLE COMPUTER, INC. name, its subsidiary hopes to broaden the appeal of its whole line. That now includes a pair of Macintosh PowerBook G3 notebooks that are faster than their predecessors as well as lighter and thinner. Moreover, they can operate five hours on their batteries, an hour and a half longer. Through its direct sales channel, Apple is selling a PowerBook with a 400-MHz PowerPC G3 processor for $3,500 and a model with a 333-MHz chip for $2,400.
The subsidiary of automatic teller machine specialist NCR CORP. is marketing to financial institutions what it bills as a next-generation terminal. The 5750II, which starts at $27,900, actually is an OEM version of the Banking Terminal N8333 developed by NEC CORP. with input from SUMITOMO BANK, LTD. .....NCR CORP.'s marketing unit, which has built a name for itself in Japan by supplying integrated systems to the financial sector, also has introduced the NCR Next Banking System Solution. This accounting and information-based package consists of a NCR WorldMark 5200 Unix server, Open ToxIII middleware and the iBIS program, which helps banks comply with the regulatory environment established by the Bank for International Settlements. The base configuration costs $16.4 million. With Japan moving to implement global accounting rules, NCR expects to sell 30 systems over the next five years.
Less than a year after forming a Japanese subsidiary, M-SYSTEMS FLASH DISK PIONEERS LTD. has won a breakthrough order for its FFD (fast flash disk) data storage device from a communications carrier described only as a first-tier company. The order, to be delivered over three years, consists of FFDs ranging in capacity from 320 MB to 1.8 GB. They will be used with the carrier's private branch exchange equipment. Newark, California-based M-Systems attributed the win, which could be worth close to $3 million, in large part to the reliability of its data storage device compared with traditional hard disks and, as a result, the lower costs of ownership.
Demonstrating its newfound commitment to serve the storage requirements of the fast- expanding enterprise market, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. introduced on both sides of the Pacific the HP SureStore E Disk Array MC256. The first high-end array delivered by HP, this product is designed to address the growing demand for Fibre Channel storage area network-ready disk arrays for open, highly available, centralized storage. The MC256, which scales from 60 GB to 9 terabytes per storage subsystem, supports multivendor Unix system, Windows NT and mainframe environments. According to HP, it also offers the best multiplatform SAN support, with connections to the HP-UX, Solaris, AIX and Windows NT operating systems, and contains the most reliable disk-drive technology in the industry. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has priced the MC256 from $516,400. It believes that it can sell 200 systems, plus a variety of software from the 11-product portfolio offered for the MC256.
Marketing peripherals from other companies is one strategy that a newly aggressive SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. is trying to boost sales of its proprietary Unix servers in Japan. Its subsidiary has contracted with SONY MARKETING (JAPAN) INC. to sell SONY CORP.'s digital data tape drives and automated tape libraries to television broadcasters and computer graphics businesses, the company's mainstay customers. Included in the deal are Sony's GY-2120 tape drive, which incorporates that firm's Digital Tape Format technology, the DMS-B9 and DMS-B35 automated tape libraries and the DMS-8400 mass storage library.
NEC CORP. is banking on selling 100,000 units a year of the USB version of IOMEGA CORP.'s Clik! drive for mobile products, including digital cameras and smart cellular phones as well as handheld PCs. In June 1998, the Roy, Utah company gave the diversified electronics maker worldwide, nonexclusive rights to manufacture and market Clik! drives. Previously, Iomega had licensed NEC to build its Zip drives. The USB Clik! drives are priced at $245 in Japan. The low- cost Clik! disk holds 40 MB of information.
In another transpacific release, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. introduced the replacement for the HP LaserJet 4000, its best-selling network laser printer. The HP LaserJet 4050 printer outputs up to 17 ppm with a resolution of 1200 dots per inch. Networked with the company's 10/100 BaseTX print server, the machine integrates into all Ethernet environments. Despite increased performance and greater versatility, HP kept the price of the HP LaserJet 4050 the same as its predecessor. In Japan, pricing starts at $1,400. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is projecting sales of 30,000 units in the first year of marketing.
Come August, EASTMAN KODAK CO. will launch international marketing of an affordable midvolume color scanner for the production scanning market. The Kodak Digital Science Color Scanner 3590C can scan 85 ppm at 100 dpi in color about the speed of today's bitonal scanners or 75 ppm for mixed batches. The Color Scanner 3590C costs $36,100 in Japan, where Kodak's subsidiary is forecasting sales of $24.6 million a year for its commercial-use scanners.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. figures that 25,000 people a year will want to scan 35-mm photographic images into their PCs using the HP PhotoSmart S20 photo scanner. The system provides a resolution of up to 2400 dpi at a color depth of 36 bits, which is designed to capture the finest details. HP Japan's main selling point, however, is the list price of $570. The company says that the HP PhotoSmart S20 offers features for which other companies charge up to three times as much.
COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary selected the Compaq TFT5000S flat panel display to spearhead its push into Japan's monitor market. With a 15-inch viewable image size, this color display has a XGA resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Equally important, it weighs only 20 pounds with a 3.1-inch-thick panel. Thus, it can be hung on the wall or mounted on an arm as well as placed on a desk. The TFT5000S lists for $1,500-plus. Compaq also introduced a 17-inch cathode-ray tube display, the V700, for $560.
With the launch by NEC CORP. of two desktop PC families incorporating an all-digital video interface, SILICON IMAGE, INC., the developer of the PanelLink Digital technology, believes that the stage has been set in Japan for the widespread adoption of this digital video interface know- how (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 18). The reason? NEC is Japan's top PC manufacturer, and it used the Cupertino, California company's chips in a pair of mainstream PC products, the VALUESTAR NX series for the consumer market and the Mate NX line for the corporate market.
Seeing the USB port standard as a way to provide network-like file transfer speeds between two PCs running Windows 98 and equipped with software offering the appropriate support, TRAVELING SOFTWARE INC. developed the LapLink USB cable. It transfers files at rates as high as 4 MB to 6 MB per second, far faster than serial cables and even parallel cables, the Bothell, Washington company claims. INTERCOM CO., LTD., which represents Traveling Software, expects to sell 3,000 LapLink USB cables in the first year. It has priced the cable at $65; the LapLink software is separate.
Mechanical computer-aided design and engineering users of various IBM JAPAN LTD. RS/6000 Unix workstations now can obtain the performance and the functionality of 3D visualization through a graphics accelerator that costs half the price of its predecessors. The Power GXT2000P lists for $4,400.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Reports out of Japan say that the property investment arm of CB RICHARD ELLIS, the world's top real estate services company, will tie up with big condominium contractor DIA KENSETSU CO., LTD. to build condos. The prospective partners hope to capitalize on what many experts believe is the bottom of residential land prices. If the reported joint venture is formed, the Los Angeles company will be the first major foreign company involved in the residential or commercial construction business from the development stage. Earlier this year, CB Richard Ellis significantly strengthened its position in Japan by making the country's largest real estate services company part of its global network (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 16).
Time-share operator SUNTERRA CORP. apparently plans a two-pronged approach to the Japanese market. In addition to building or buying resort facilities and selling shares to individual owners, the San Mateo, California company will acquire underutilized properties run by financially struggling companies for their employees and open them to the public after renovation. Informed sources estimated that as many as five of the six or seven resorts Sunterra opens this year will fall into this category. The target vacation sites are within a three-hour drive from central Tokyo. Sunterra currently operates four time-share properties in Japan.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
A second big Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer sees TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC.'s digital light processing technology as critical to its competitiveness in digital television sets. MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. has joined HITACHI, LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 19) in agreeing to use DLP chips as the video engine in future all- digital, large-screen, high-definition rear-projection TVs. Both were sold on the ability of the only commercially available all-digital display know-how to deliver the high resolution, high contrast and small, lightweight package that will sell next-generation home display systems. MELCO expects the first product incorporating TI's DLP technology to be on the market in late 2000. That also is Hitachi's time frame.
Although barely a year old, SURVEYOR CORP. has opened a subsidiary
in Tokyo to provide technical sales and support services to OEM
manufacturers, Web site developers and corporate users of what it
calls Intelligent Vision Network products. The San Luis Obispo,
California start-up develops intelligent video processing and
compression technologies for distributed data
networks. Its IVN products have potential for extending, enhancing or replacing human vision for image understanding in a variety of both simple and complex remote-sensing applications.
A collaborative effort between power system engineering researchers at GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. and CHUBU ELECTRIC CO., INC. has come up with a promising solution to the worst-case scenario that the fault-current duties of some of the big Japanese electric utility's 500- kilovolt circuit breakers in Mie prefecture might exceed their interruption capabilities. Instead of the obvious response, which would require an enormous investment and considerable systems engineering expertise, the two teams have proposed a fairly straightforward fault- current limiter. It consists of an isolation transformer and a series capacitor with high-energy varistor protection.
Industry analysts are forecasting explosive growth in the international market for solar batteries because of the demand by home builders for a clean energy source. To ensure that it remains the world leader in this field, transatlantic oil giant BP AMOCO P.L.C. will invest some $8.2 million in a subsidiary of KANEKA CORP. that expects to start making an inexpensive amorphous solar battery in October. BP SOLAREX of Frederick, Maryland, now a wholly owned subsidiary of the British multinational, will be Kaneka's actual partner. According to current plans, BP Amoco and Kaneka will form ventures in the United States, Europe and Asia to make the Japanese company's solar battery for sale through the BP Amoco worldwide distribution network. In the interim, about 30 percent of the projected solar battery output of the Japanese company's unit, forecast initially at the equivalent of 20 megawatts of generating capacity, will go to BP Amoco.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
EXXON JAPAN PIPELINE LTD. will evaluate the feasibility of building a pipeline to deliver natural gas from the northern end of Russia's Sakhalin Island to Japan in partnership with a newly formed Japanese company. JAPAN SAKHALIN PIPELINE FS CO., LTD. is owned by JAPAN PETROLEUM EXPLORATION CO., LTD. (45 percent), ITOCHU CORP. (33 percent) and MARUBENI CORP. (22 percent). It will have a 75 percent interest in the consortium to be set up with the EXXON CORP. subsidiary and will put up the same share of the three-year project's estimated $32.8 million cost. The initial pipeline route studied would run 800 miles down the length of Sakhalin Island and then under the Sea of Japan to Niigata prefecture. The alternative is a Pacific Ocean route. The feasibility study not only will examine these options but also design standards and environmental and regulatory considerations. Exxon and Japan's SAKHALIN OIL DEVELOPMENT CO., LTD., a public-private partnership, each have a 30 percent stake in the offshore Sakhalin I project, the source of the potential natural gas supply.
All 10 nuclear electric utilities in Japan now have new long-term purchase contracts with USEC INC., the world's leading supplier of uranium fuel enrichment services for commercial nuclear power plants. The last two regional utilities to arrange for nuclear fuel enrichment services for most of the coming decade were TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER CO., INC., Japan's biggest electric power company, and TOHOKU ELECTRIC POWER CO., INC. Bethesda, Maryland- headquartered USEC and its UNITED STATES ENRICHMENT CORP. operate nuclear fuel enrichment plants in Kentucky and Ohio that previously were owned by the U.S. government.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Longtime partners CIGNA CORP. and YASUDA FIRE & MARINE INSURANCE CO., LTD. have finalized a previously announced agreement to provide pension and Japanese-style mutual fund products to businesses and individuals (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 15). Equally owned YASUDA KASAI-CIGNA SECURITIES CO., LTD. will begin operations in October, leveraging the distribution network of the country's number-two property and casualty insurer and CIGNA's experience in retirement and investment plans. The joint venture's ultimate goal is to serve Japan's defined contribution pension market. Legislation authorizing this form of retirement system is expected to pass in FY 2000. Meanwhile, Yasuda Kasai-CIGNA Securities clients will be able to make post-tax investments in mutual funds run by asset management subsidiaries of CIGNA and Yasuda Fire & Marine as well as in funds offered by independent asset managers.
Taking advantage of a December 1998 change in Japan's financial regulatory framework, the securities subsidiary of MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER & CO. registered as a lender to corporate and institutional clients. The first such company to do so, it now is positioned to provide a broader and more flexible range of services to its big customers.
BEAR STERNS COS. INC. will advise TOKYO SOWA BANK, LTD. how to tap foreign money to boost its capital/asset ratio. The midsized regional bank, which operates in the Tokyo area, now has a capital/asset ratio of just 2.4 percent, well below the 4 percent minimum required for domestically focused banks. With the help of the New York City investment bank, however, Tokyo Sowa Bank hopes to raise this figure above the threshold.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Furniture discounter ROOMS TO GO INC. has opened its first freestanding store in Japan. Located in the Palette Town West shopping center in the Daiba area of Tokyo, the 30,100-square-foot showroom offers a selection of furniture for children as well as mainstream lines at prices 30 percent to 50 percent off list. Last summer, the Seffner, Florida company worked with JUSCO CO., LTD. to open a Rooms To Go Kids section in the big retailer's Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture store (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 28).
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
By the middle of the summer, publicly traded KURODA PRECISION INDUSTRIES LTD., a manufacturer of a range of factory automation products that build on its strength in pneumatic technology, will have a new top shareholder. Through a private placement, PARKER HANNIFIN CORP. will acquire a 33.4 percent stake in the struggling Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture company for $15.4 million. The Cleveland-headquartered multinational, the leading international maker of motion, control, instrumentation and fluid-flow components and systems for diverse industrial and aerospace applications, sees the alliance as a primary way to build a stronger base in Japan's automation market. Parker Hannifin also hopes the tie-up with Kuroda Precision Industries will advance technology development in the factory-automation field and expand global marketing opportunities.
By this fall, SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. will be able to build 400 compact hydraulic excavators a month at its Sagami, Kanagawa prefecture factory. Doubling mini-excavator capacity will cost equal owners CATERPILLAR INC. and MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. about $8.2 million. The new line will make 3.5-ton and 4.5-ton models for sale by Caterpillar in Europe and 5-ton shovels for the Japanese market, where demand for small hydraulic excavators is stronger than for Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi's mainline bulldozer products.
With more local governments opting to repair streets rather than resurface them, CATERPILLAR INC. sees a market in Japan for the high-efficiency CAT PM-565B cold planer, which cuts up and removes the part of the roadway to be fixed. SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. has priced this system at $983,600. It expects to sell five of them.
LIXI, INC. of Downers Grove, Illinois has given TEIJIN ENGINEERING LTD., its local distributor since 1990, rights to sell the Lixi Profiler in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. This portable X-ray system is designed to inspect pipes in oil refineries, power plants, chemical plants and similar settings for corrosion, blockages, wall thinning and other problems. The wholly owned TEIJIN LTD. subsidiary has priced the Lixi Profiler at $68,900. In three years, it expects the product to produce $16.7 million in annual Asian sales.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Supermarkets, drugstores and other retail outlets in Japan that consumers frequently visit typically do not have an on-site film processing capability. EASTMAN KODAK CO. sees that missing service as an another opportunity to gain ground on archrival FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD. Although plans still are sketchy, its subsidiary will seek out innovative companies willing to install photo processing labs in their stores. The advantage of the Kodak system is that it can be maintained on-line, which means that stores do not have to have technicians on staff. Down the road, the firm plans to offer interested retailers digital imaging services.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
SCIVAC, a supplier of vacuum sputtering equipment used in the production of such products as hard disks, has licensed its basic technology to ULVAC JAPAN, LTD. The Kanagawa prefecture firm, which also is known for its vacuum expertise, plans to use the San Jose, California firm's know-how to develop equipment to manufacture optical disks and LCD-related products. By maintaining a vacuum state between each deposition step, SciVac's equipment prevents deterioration from oxidation and, thus, produces an exceptional surface. It also is said to work three to five times faster than conventional sputtering equipment. The licensing agreement prevents Ulvac from making production equipment for hard disks since that would impinge on SciVac's main product line. However, this spring SciVac gave Ulvac exclusive Asian distribution rights to its Sci-Clone 2000 sputtering system for manufacturing hard disks. Priced around $6.6 million, this equipment can turn out 4,500 to 5,000 2.5-inch disks an hour. Ulvac hopes to sell five systems a year, although it is precluded from selling the Sci-Clone 2000 to American companies operating in Asia.
Manufacturers of printed circuit boards that have been looking for a large, dual-access system to expedite the testing process now have that type of equipment available. TEST TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL, INC. of Carson City, Nevada has given TAIYO INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. rights to sell its Model 6000, a large, dual-access universal grid-bare board tester. It can handle a grid of 19.2 x 16 inches on both the top and the bottom and provides 30,720 test points on each side. Wakayama prefecture-based Taiyo Industrial, which makes one-sided PCB bare board testers, has priced the standard configuration of the Model 6000 at $643,400. It is targeting sales of five systems a year.
Three new modules for the HP 16600A and the HP 16700A general-purpose logic analyzers not only make these debugging tools the fastest on the market today, says HEWLETT-PACKARD CO., but also easier for designers of high-end computer, networking and communications systems to use. The modules offer up to 333-MHz state analysis and as much as 2-GHz timing analysis. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. expects to sell a combined total of 1,000 or so modules in the first year. The add-ons list for $14,300 to $19,900.
Over the coming year, the subsidiary of world machine vision systems leader COGNEX CORP. believes that it can sell 3,000 of the next-generation MVS-8200 Series of high-performance embedded machine vision systems. These hardware platforms for PCI, Compact-PCI and VME architectures are designed to solve alignment, guidance, inspection and identification problems in semiconductor, electronics and a variety of other manufacturing processes. More important, they answer the need for faster embedded vision performance in order to keep pace with higher throughput production equipment. MVS-8200 Series pricing starts at $9,800.
SHIFTWORK SYSTEMS, INC. tapped KANSAI TECH CORP. of Osaka to develop the market in Japan for the Circadian Lighting System. This computer-driven lighting system calculates optimal dynamic lighting conditions in the work environment in order to enhance productivity and cognitive performance. It has been found to be particularly beneficial in night-shift operations. The system consists of customized software, a controller and lighting hardware. The technology was developed by Harvard Medical School, which gave Cambridge, Massachusetts-based ShiftWork exclusive worldwide licensing rights to the know-how. Kansai Tech, a KANSAI ELECTRIC POWER CO., INC. affiliate that participated in a multinational demonstration of the CLS's effectiveness in night-shift work, calculates that it will cost anywhere from $163,900 to $245,900 to install the system in a 1,075-square-foot room. It hopes to find three or four buyers a year among government agencies, hospitals, banks and the like.
Shipments of MICRO THERAPEUTICS INC.'s peripheral blood clot therapy products have started to CENTURY MEDICAL INC. Under an agreement signed last fall, the Irvine, California company, a supplier of minimally invasive medical devices for the diagnosis and the treatment of vascular disease, gave the big medical products distributor exclusive Japanese rights to all its current and future neurovascular and peripheral vascular products (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 19). In the interim, Century has invested in MTI $3 million of the $5 million that the pact allows.
MHW approved for marketing ENDOSONICS CORP.'s Vintage balloon catheter. FUKUDA DENSHI CO., LTD. expects to begin sales shortly. It has rights to distribute the Rancho Cordova, California company's angioplasty products as well as certain of EndoSonics' intravascular ultrasound imaging products.
With MHW marketing approval in hand, KOBA-YASHI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. has launched sales of ARTHROCARE CORP.'s Coblation-based arthroscopy products. The Sunnyvale, California firm's Coblation technology uses radio frequency energy to remove tissue through a significantly cooler process than is possible with traditional electrosurgery or laser surgery. ArthroCare expects a significant market to develop for its products since more than 200,000 arthroscopy procedures are performed annually in Japan.
With big hospitals in Japan increasingly recognizing the efficiency and quality benefits of medical imaging information networks, at least two American suppliers anticipate an expanding market for their products. IMAGRAPH of Sunnyvale, California and CODONICS, INC. of Middleburg Heights, Ohio use the same distributor, TOYO CORP. Through it, Imagraph released a video capture board, while Codonics introduced its DICOM-compliant network printer and a color imager. In time, Tokyo-based Toyo hopes to develop products with the pair of U.S. firms that are customized to the Japanese market's requirements.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
In a deal that could add more than $1 billion to INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s revenues in coming years, the computer giant will design and manufacture the engine that powers NINTENDO CO., LTD.'s next home video game console. The 400-MHz processor, already in the advanced stages of development, features IBM's cutting-edge 0.18-micron process technology with copper interconnects. Dubbed the Gekko processor and designed to provide dramatically better graphics and more realistic action, it is based on the PowerPC architecture. However, IBM is incorporating enhancements specifically sought by Nintendo, including extra on-chip memory and more efficient data management between the processor and the game system's graphics chip. Nintendo expects to launch its code-named Dolphin console in time for the 2000 holiday season. The machine will pair the IBM processor with what is billed as a revolutionary graphics chip designed by ARTX INC. of Palo Alto, California. Today's popular Nintendo 64 game machine uses a processor and a graphics chip designed by MIPS TECHNOLOGIES INC. of Mountain View, California and manufactured by NEC CORP.
IMAGING TECHNOLOGIES CORP., designer and maker of a range of controllers that support printers, copiers, multifunction peripherals and other output devices, has signed a product development contract with an unnamed Japanese manufacturer for an embedded controller for a new generation of digital output devices. The development pact is worth $400,000. San Diego, California-based ITEC figures that the follow-on production agreement could bring in $5 million over two years. Shipments of the next-generation, lower-cost controller, which will be based on the forthcoming NEC V4300 processor, should start late in the fourth quarter of 1999 or in the first quarter of 2000.
The supplier of the hot Voodoo 3D graphics accelerator for PCs has opened a marketing subsidiary in Tokyo. 3DFX INTERACTIVE, INC.'s new unit will promote sales of its graphics accelerators through stores specializing in PCs. Its yearend sales goal is 70,000 units. The San Jose, California company's Voodoo has close to three-fourths of the U.S. market for PC graphics accelerators.
Start-up TENSILICA INC.'s first international subsidiary is located in Yokohama. Japan was an obvious choice for a foreign sales and support office. The Santa Clara, California company is involved in the emerging market for application-specific processor cores and software development tools used in high-volume, embedded systems. Tensilica's Xtensa architecture enables system-on-a-chip designers to develop a processor subsystem hardware design and a complete software development tool environment tailored to specific requirements in what is claimed to be just hours.
VLSI TECHNOLOGY, INC. sees in NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC.'s scheduled 2001 rollout of the third-generation, wideband-CDMA (code-division multiple access) cellular telephone network an opportunity to expand its Japanese business. The San Jose, California company's subsidiary is pushing customizable system chips for both W-CDMA handsets and base stations that contain all the required basic communications functions but allow manufacturers of this equipment to add other functions. Chips for developers of CDMA cell phones are a primary VLSI marketing thrust in Japan (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 19).
Bedford, Massachusetts-based AWARE, INC., a big player in the high-speed data transmission xDSL (digital subscriber line) business, has licensed its G.992.2 standards-based G.Lite technology and software to NEC CORP. The semiconductor maker will incorporate the know-how in a chipset that will give customers both G.Lite and full-rate ADSL functionality. Starting in October, the part will be marketed worldwide to communications and networking system providers and to modem manufacturers. Aware's G.Lite technology delivers data transmission speeds of up to 1.5 megabits per second downstream and as fast as 512 kilobits per second upstream at distances up to 24,000 feet. The main advantage of DSL technology is that it enables broadband data transmission over existing telephone lines without interrupting regular phone service.
In a product release that should help move the concept of home networking in Japan beyond PC- to-PC connections, ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC.'s subsidiary announced the HomePHY device. This first-of-its-kind single chip enables PC peripheral and information appliance manufacturers to integrate support for the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance's technology into their products. HomePHY supports physical layer functions for both HomePNA phoneline networking and the 802.3 standard for 10-Mbps Ethernet networking and automatically determines the appropriate network connection. AMD is sampling the part at $8.03 each in quantities of 10,000 units.
What ALTERA CORP. is billing as the programmable logic device industry's first system-on-a- programmable-chip solution is shipping. The San Jose, California firm's APEX 20K architecture gives developers increased performance but still allows them to change their design at any time. The first APEX 20K device is the 400,000-gate EP20K400, which can, for example, integrate all the components needed to build a 1-gigabit-per-second Ethernet 8-port switch. Other members of the family are expected to range in density from 100,000 gates to as many as 1 million gates.
The Bizworks 106 and Bizworks 706 multifunction peripherals recently released by RICOH CO., LTD. are the inaugural products to incorporate XIONICS DOCUMENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC.'s XipChip. The first system-on-a-chip for MFPs, the Burlington, Massachusetts firm's controller chip is designed to deliver high-performance scan, digital copy, fax and print functions to all-in-one systems without adding significantly to costs or time to market.
NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTOR CORP. says that it has established a new price point for low-power 8-bit analog/digital converters. The performance-oriented ADCO8831 single-channel A/D converter and the ADCO8832 dual-channel A/D converter, which are available in several small packages, cost $1.03 each in 1,000-unit quantities. They are designed for a variety of handheld battery-operated communications and industrial applications.
With the goal of eventually becoming a "fabless" semiconductor supplier, XICOR, INC. has lined up SANYO ELECTRIC CO., LTD. to fabricate wafers for it. This agreement supplements the Milpitas, California firm's foundry relationship with YAMAHA CORP. and a German company. Xicor, a supplier of nonvolatile EEPROMs (electrically erasable programmable read-only memories) and other products that retain information even when the system is turned off or power is lost, said that it tapped Sanyo Electric because of that company's experience in nonvolatile chip manufacturing and its volume production capabilities.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Japan's large golfing community is a natural target for CHIPSHOT.COM INC.'s first international Web site: a fully localized virtual store offering tour-quality golf equipment, accessories and information. Besides providing brand-name clubs with price quotes in yen, the new site touts its "Perfect Fit" system for ordering tour-quality clubs built to an individual's physique and skill level. The Japanese version of chipshot.com is featured on LYCOS JAPAN K.K.'s Internet portal. The partners have agreed to generate traffic for each other's Web pages.
Taking aim at on-line shoppers and gamers, EUNIVERSE, INC. has teamed with US-STYLE.COM INC. to localize the Wallingford, Connecticut firm's CDUniverse on-line retailing property. US- Style.com already operates a virtual mall of American stores and services, and it recently launched on YAHOO! JAPAN CORP.'s portal. It will work with eUniverse to bring its on-line commerce, community, technology and entertainment offerings to Japanese users. Of particular interest most likely will be a Japanese version of eUniverse's "event" gaming site, where players can enter tournaments, game ladders, forums and chat rooms.
To enhance the appeal of its new on-line automotive sales Web site, CARPOINT JAPAN K.K. has struck an exclusive deal with a local used-car auctioneer to provide pricing information. Owned by SOFTBANK CORP. (50 percent), MICROSOFT CORP. (40 percent) and YAHOO! JAPAN CORP. (10 percent) (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 25), CarPoint Japan and USS K.K. will establish a 40/60 joint venture to manage the agreement and to run the new site, which went live in June. CarPoint Japan is a localized version of Microsoft's MSN CarPoint on-line automotive service. It is available through both the MSN Japan and the Yahoo! Japan portals.
The first company to provide an on-line business-to-business auction service to corporate customers (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 351, December 1998, p. 21) also is the first to use the Internet to offer consumers bargains on excess merchandise and services. ONSALE JAPAN K.K., owned by Menlo Park, California-based ONSALE, INC. and SOFTBANK CORP., initially has listed more than 1,000 computers and related products from the likes of Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Hitachi and NEC on its fully localized site. It intends to expand the computer product offerings and to add other product categories by yearend, including appliances and concert tickets.
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING ONLINE LTD. of Redwood City, California has opened an office in Tokyo to promote its ECnet supply chain management service. ECnet, which melds seamlessly with traditional electronic data interchange systems, handles price checks, order placement, shipping and billing through the Internet. With installation costs as low as $5,000 and monthly fees of about $100, AMO hopes to sign up midsized Japanese firms interested in taking advantage of the lower prices and the operating efficiencies that on-line procurement can yield. The Japanese-language version of ECnet should be up and running sometime in the fourth quarter.
IBM JAPAN LTD. also has jumped on the Internet EDI bandwagon, developing an on-line procurement system for internal use. The computer giant buys nearly $5 billion worth of materials and services each year from more than 3.800 vendors. The on-line ordering system not only could save IBM Japan an estimated $3.3 million annually by eliminating procurement support staff, but it also will lower costs by streamlining the procurement process. The on-line system, which will use XML technology, should be fully operational by April 2000 after a September launch.
Real estate prices are close to bottoming out after a steep plunge from their stratospheric heights of the late 1980s. That makes buying a house financially feasible for a broader range of Japanese. To help potential buyers get the best possible deal on a mortgage, E-LOAN, INC., the leading on-line mortgage broker, and the consumer finance unit of SOFTBANK CORP. have established a joint venture to serve as a low-cost channel for financial institutions to advertise their mortgage products and as a convenient way for consumers to compare a large number of loan options and, after making their selection, to handle the application process over the Internet. E-LOAN JAPAN K.K., in which Dublin, California E-LOAN has a 40 percent stake versus a 60 percent share for SOFTBANK FINANCE CORP., also will serve mortgage customers in South Korea. A portion of its Web site will be devoted to car loans another financial product enjoying the benefits of Tokyo's financial liberalization program. Through a pair of U.S. subsidiaries, Softbank is a minority partner in two-year-old E-LOAN. They joined two other investors in a September 1998 second round of financing that raised $25.4 million.
The international debut of DIRECTADVICE.COM CORP.'s on-line personal financial planning services will occur in Japan. The Hartford, Connecticut start-up and SOFTBANK CORP.'s consumer finance subsidiary have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture to develop and deliver financial advice and information over the Internet in Japan as well as in South Korea. As early as December and for as little as $75 a year, consumers will be able to access a localized version of DirectAdvice.com's services for personalized, objective advice on how to manage their money. Earlier this year, Softbank's U.S. holding company took a minority position in DirectAdvice.com (formerly Mentum Corp.) (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 9).
As these examples indicate, Internet fever is just as epidemic in Japan as it is in the United States. Providing further proof of this reality, MARSH & MCLENNAN COS., INC., the parent of the world's leading risk and insurance services firm, and MICROSOFT CORP. have decided to take equity positions in INSWEB JAPAN K.K., which plans to begin selling insurance products on- line late this year. The nascent Japanese Web insurer currently is owned by Redwood City, California-based INSWEB CORP. (40 percent) and SOFTBANK CORP. (60 percent) (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 7). Marsh & McLennan will acquire a 20 percent interest in InsWeb Japan and Microsoft a 2 percent interest. Those transactions will trim InsWeb's share to 25 percent and Softbank's to 53 percent.
A broad strategic alliance between HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. and NTT-ME CORP. promises to simplify the task of introducing complete multimedia services to Japanese companies. With HP Japan contributing its hardware and software expertise and the new subsidiary of NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. providing the sales, marketing and customer support muscle, the partners intend to provide soup-to-nuts planning, development, implementation and maintenance of a full range of electronic information services. Their first offering most likely will be turnkey electronic commerce services for small companies, with systems maintenance and support to follow soon after. The HP Japan/NTT-ME tie-up comes on the heels of the computer company's agreement to work with KDD CORP. on SCM solutions for the distribution industry (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 27). Its thrust mirrors that of a comprehensive service introduced recently by competitor NIHON UNISYS, LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 24).
COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary and KDD CORP. have reengineered the American firm's MilliCent electronic commerce transaction settlement system to facilitate small purchases over the Internet. To address consumers' concerns about privacy and security, MilliCent uses a "digital wallet" system, which safely stores credit-card, bank account and other sensitive personal information on a secure server. The modified e-commerce payment system will be featured first on a 15-store Internet mall run by a KDD affiliate. It will be the first time MilliCent is commercially deployed.
A complementary Internet security program comes from VERISIGN, INC.'s Japanese operation. Priced from $14,500, Secure Server ID assures on-line customers and business partners that they truly are dealing with the company they think they are, preventing Internet fraud and deceptions. Mountain View, California VeriSign's digital certificates also serve as encryption keys, again helping to allay users' privacy concerns.
As the "Internet portal" model begins to take hold in Japan, ENCOMMERCE, INC. expects demand to blossom for its getAccess portal security program. Therefore, the Santa Clara, California firm has established a wholly own subsidiary in Tokyo, its first overseas outpost. Distributed by OSAKA GAS INFORMATION SYSTEM RESEARCH INSTITUTE and MI-TSUBISHI CORP. and already used by several major companies (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 24), getAccess has been available in Japanese since April 1997. It will be updated to version 3.0J this fall. enCommerce counts among its investors both of its Japanese distributors and several other local firms.
The subsidiary of Menlo Park, California-based INFORMIX CORP. plans to release a Japanese- language version of its i.Sell Web site and e-commerce construction package this fall. Localization work should be completed by September, allowing a sales campaign aimed at financial institutions, communications companies and manufacturers to begin as early as October.
The latest version of software to automate and simplify the management of e-business applications is now available from Mountain View, California-based MARIMBA, INC. through its trio of distributors: FUJITSU, LTD., HITACHI, LTD. and ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE CORP. Besides being fully localized, Castanet 4.0.1 offers strong encryption and authentication to protect the integrity and the confidentiality of information traveling through a Web portal. It also includes software modules that allow Web applications to be published, maintained and updated automatically. Castanet already has been deployed by SONY CORP. as well as by Fujitsu.
Another competitor in the Internet security arena, INFORMATION RESOURCE ENGINEERING, INC., and its distributor, MITSUBISHI CORP., are offering newly localized versions of the Baltimore firm's virtual private network software. SafeNet/Soft and SafeNet/Smart are aimed at giving nontechnical users access to IPSec-certified VPN services. SafeNet/Soft runs on PCs as an easy-to-use desktop utility, while SafeNet/Smart offers the additional security of smart- card authentication at both ends of the VPN connection.
Fremont, California's AMPLIFY.NET, INC. has brought its iSurf family of bandwidth management programs to Japan through distributor TAKACHIHO KOHEKI CO., LTD. Written for the heavy demands of ISPs, iSurf modules integrate bandwidth provisioning, prioritizing and metering with such back-office applications as usage accounting, customer billing and capacity scheduling. With prices starting as low as $14,200, Takachiho Koheki is promoting iSurf as an affordable, flexible and customizable end-to-end solution for this increasingly important ISP service.
MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary has released a localized version of its latest PC operating system, Windows 98 Second Edition. The update fixes many bugs as well as offers a number of improvements, particularly in the area of Internet-related functions, and integration with Microsoft's dominant office productivity suite. .....Firing right back, the marketing arm of APPLE COMPUTER, INC. rolled out a Japanese version of its most advanced operating system for the Macintosh computer line. Mac OS 8.6 offers better power management for laptop machines and an improved intranet/Internet search engine known as Sherlock.
Thanks to the digital revolution, operating systems for PCs are not the only hotly contested part of this market. FLASHPOINT TECHNOLOGY, INC. has opened a Tokyo branch office to support marketing and sales of its Digita OS for digital cameras (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 21). Although it already has technology alliances with MINOLTA CORP., SEIKO EPSON CORP. and SHARP CORP., the San Jose, California firm hopes that Digita will penetrate the even bigger digital imaging market that includes printers, scanners and other imaging devices.
With less than six months to go before the millennium, NOVELL, INC.'s subsidiary has opened a center to help users of its software analyze and repair Y2K problems. Technicians will visit customers' facilities to inspect for potential problems. The local Novell unit also has created a Y2K response team, Project 2000, to address this issue. .....Meanwhile, IBM JAPAN LTD. has been selected to analyze and fix remaining Y2K issues in the computer systems of SURUGA BANK, LTD. The midsized regional bank, which operates in Shizuoka and Kanagawa prefectures and in the Tokyo metropolitan area, began Y2K work in the fall of 1996, first targeting its mainframe applications. IBM Japan will handle final checks of Suruga Bank's systems as well as provide contingency planning and support. The bank expects to exceed its $8.2 million budget for Y2K preparations by $2.9 million by the time December 31, 1999 arrives.
UNISCAPE, INC. is claiming a key role in the internationalization and then the localization of LYCOS, INC.'s MailCity free e-mail service. The Redwood Shores, California company not only translated all MailCity interfaces and pages into Japanese, but it also reworked the system so that it can easily adapt to other languages as well. Uniscape hopes its work with Lycos will attract other Japanese firms interested in globalizing their software products.
The latest version of SYMANTEC CORP.'s popular integrated development environment for Java- language programs is on the market. The $3,000 VisualCafé Enterprise Suite provides powerful tools to develop and deploy Java-based enterprise applications. An affiliate of SOFTBANK CORP. is handling local distribution of the Java IDE.
As enterprise applications grow in complexity and size, a software development tool from SOFTWARE EMANCIPATION TECHNOLOGY, INC. can help code writers keep a firm grasp on the big picture. The Burlington, Massachusetts firm's DISCOVER development information system captures the interrelationships among all entities in the source code base and provides a clear view and high-level architectural perspective of the entire application. Software Emancipation Technology tapped OSAKA GAS INFORMATION SYSTEM RESEARCH INSTITUTE to handle sales and integration of DISCOVER.
To ensure 24x7 availability of complex enterprise applications, local developers now can enjoy the benefits of MERCURY INTERACTIVE CORP.'s newest testing and performance evaluation software. TestSuite Enterprise 5.0 includes the Sunnyvale, California firm's LoadRunner 5.0 (load testing and performance bottleneck isolation), TestDirector 5.0 (test planning, execution and defect tracking) and WinRunner 5.0 (functional testing, such as Java applets and Euro conversion algorithms). Mercury Interactive's subsidiary priced the package at $5,700.
DYNASTY TECHNOLOGIES INC. has jumped into the Japanese market for application development software by opening a subsidiary in Tokyo in partnership with COMPUTER INSTITUTE OF JAPAN, LTD. The Kingwood, Texas firm hit the ground running, offering localized versions of its entire Dynasty Development Environment suite as well as documentation and training courses in Japanese. CIJ not only will help market Dynasty but also is ready to provide development and integration services using Dynasty for large corporate projects.
A program-installer development package from INSTALLSHIELD SOFTWARE CORP. of Schaumburg, Illinois is part of a wave of products designed to make using computers simpler and easier. InstallShield Express 2.1, available for $6,700 through NETSERVE INC., allows Windows developers to create graphical user interface-based program installers that use wizards to help PC owners make proper configuration decisions. InstallShield Express supports many popular programming tools. It also offers native support for foreign languages, including double-byte ones such as Japanese.
To further boost sales of its flagship groupware, LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary is offering special prices on 10-client packages of its recently released Notes R5/Domino R5 client-server package (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 28). A 10- pack of Notes licenses, a single Domino license and a single license for Domino Developer runs $3,100, putting it within the reach of small companies. .....Through its marketing unit, LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP. also released several add-ons and utilities to enhance the Notes/Domino environment. First, Domino.Doc R2.1 extends Internet-based document archiving and management functions to the Domino server. It is priced at $18,300. Next, a new middleware module makes it easy to link Notes/Domino to popular accounting and payroll packages, including those from OBIC BUSINESS CONSULTANT CO., LTD., OTSUKA SHOKAI CO., LTD. and PCA CORP. for just $1,600. The version for MIROKU JYOHO SERVICE CO., LTD.'s accounting software costs $4,100. Lastly, the Lotus subsidiary and NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC. have released software for cellular and PHS (personal handyphone system) Notes clients that minimizes their need to spend time on-line with central servers. Domino Mobile Server R1.0, which costs $2,100 per license, works tightly with special Notes clients, each of which is less than $40, to send and receive only relevant information that has been modified since the client last logged in.
A new competitor in the groupware space is OPEN TEXT CORP., which chose CANON SALES CO., INC. to localize and distribute its collaborative knowledge management application. The Chicago firm's Livelink package allows knowledge workers to share information easily, collaborate on projects and reuse strategies and documents developed previously by coworkers. The pair already has convinced HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. to adopt Livelink internally, a decision in line with agreements between Open Text and HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. in the United States and Europe.
Through its subsidiary, APPLE COMPUTER, INC. localized the latest version of its intranet server suite, AppleShare IP 6.2. The package includes application and data base services as well as file, print and e-mail modules. It also offers much-improved performance over TCP/IP and mixed protocol networks. AppleShare IP 6.2 pricing starts in Japan at $485 for a 10-client license.
ADVENTNET, INC. has adapted its Web-based network administration package AdventNet Web- NMS for Japanese speakers. In turn, distributor NK-EXA CORP. built its $2,400 AdminCenter 1.2J network administration solution around WebNMS. The Edison, New Jersey company's product is a modular Java-based toolkit for building custom element and network management systems.
NEXTPOINT NETWORKS selected HUCOM INC. to bring its application-to-network performance management package to the local market. NextPoint S3 analyzes end-to-end service levels and isolates performance bottlenecks. The suite's tools then allow network managers to make and implement informed decisions about network services and resource allocations. Hucom priced the Westford, Massachusetts firm's product at $18,900. It sees sales quickly expanding to $8.2 million a year.
NETIQ CORP. and FUJITSU, LTD. have linked up to provide a competing product, SystemWalker/AppManager for BackOffice. Aimed at networks controlled by Windows NT and running Microsoft's BackOffice suite, the package integrates the Santa Clara, California firm's AppManager application performance monitor with Fujitsu's SystemWalker network management solution. While Fujitsu claims more than 4,000 users for its SystemWalker package, it has set a sales goal of 30,000 units over the next three years for the $5,700 SystemWalker/AppManager pairing. NetIQ has a similar integration arrangement with HITACHI, LTD. on AppManager (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 25).
The local unit of NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. has developed a unique product that enhances the functionality and the performance of its parent's Total Virus Defense suite. Management Edition for TVD lets network administrators set enterprisewide policies and rules that govern the action of TVD on individual users' computers. The package integrates tightly with NAI's other antivirus products WebShield, NetShield and GroupShield allowing network managers to mount a complete defense against destructive computer programs introduced by internal or external agents. Management Edition costs $55 when purchased for 1,000 PCs.
EMC CORP. continues to cement its position as the premier enterprise-level information storage provider. Its latest product, EMC CopyPoint, extends the reach of its storage hardware and software down to midsized businesses that use IBM AS/400 systems. In conjunction with EMC's TimeFinder and Symmetric Remote Data Facility, CopyPoint allows AS/400 systems to read off-site copies of production system data as if they were the originals, helping to ensure continuous computer services. EMC's subsidiary priced CopyPoint from $54,700.
Challengers in the corporate data storage arena continue to emerge, such as VERITAS SOFTWARE CORP. Along with marketing partner TOKYO ELECTRON LTD., the Mountain View, California firm is offering its full line of storage management software. TEL expects sales of VERITAS products to generate $82 million over the next three years. .....Also entering this ring are BMC SOFTWARE, INC. and HITACHI, LTD. They have agreed to jointly develop and market storage solutions that offer enterprise customers fast backup and high-level data-sharing solutions for heterogeneous environments. These products, to be released throughout the year, will be marketed via each partner's distribution channels. Houston-headquartered BMC recently formed a business unit focused on enterprise storage management and application recovery.
The subsidiaries of MOBIUS MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS, INC. and STORAGE TECHNOLOGY CORP. have teamed up to deliver the former's electronic document warehouse package to the Japanese market. The Mobius EDW is an integrated suite of modules that archive and cross-index documents in different formats on a wide variety of media and computer platforms, making the information accessible to all users regardless of hardware or software differences. The partnership represents another step in Mobius Management Systems' plan to expand its presence in Japan. The Rye, New York company recently opened a wholly owned marketing subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 27).
Competition in this market segment is hot, however. For instance, INFORMATICA CORP. is rolling out a pair of data warehouse products in partnership with MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. The new business allies will adapt for the local market the Palo Alto, California firm's PowerCenter an enterprise data integration hub that enables large organizations to easily transform legacy, relational and enterprise resource planning data into reliable information for business analysis and its PowerMart integrated tool suite for designing, deploying, managing and maintaining line-of-business data marts and analytic applications. MELCO then will bundle Informatica's products with its own DIAPRISM hardware/software data warehouse fast sorting and data base scanning technology. The English-language version of the package will be available in mid-September. A Japanese-language release will follow at an unspecified date.
To keep track of the vast number and variety of information stored in a data warehouse and temporary information created by data base and other applications, NCR CORP.'s local unit wrote Teradata MetaData Services. MDS gathers, indexes and makes available the torrent of information tidbits generated each day by a company's computer systems and programs. In conjunction with analysis programs, MDS can become a key planning resource for executives and sales agents. With prices starting at $39,300, NCR's subsidiary expects to sell 1,000 MDS systems a year.
IBM JAPAN LTD. now is shipping a localized version of the latest release of the venerable DB2 data base. DB2 Universal Database v6.1 offers new features to meet the rapidly changing needs of corporate customers: support for Java, connectivity with ERP packages, backing for e- business programs and a small-footprint client for mobile users. Three versions of the package have been released for different size customers, spanning one for mobile customers, a workgroup edition that costs $860 and up and an enterprise package priced from $10,700.
Through its subsidiary, SYBASE, INC. has released an update of its relational data base management system, Sybase Adaptive Server IQ12. Priced from $41,200 (a three-user license for Windows NT environments) to $71,200 (a five-user license for Unix systems), the RDBMS has been thoroughly reworked with enterprise decision support in mind. The new package sports greatly increased scalability to backstop large data warehouses as well as big user populations.
Data base heavyweight ORACLE CORP. is not taking these developments lightly. Its subsidiary has introduced packages that keep the company's flagship Oracle8 and Oracle8i RDBM systems at the heart of rapidly changing corporate business activities. Oracle Developer 6.0, Oracle Developer Server 6.0 and Oracle Designer 6.0 let companies create business intelligence front-end applications for Oracle8 and Oracle8i that are Internet-savvy and accessible to nontechnical users yet harness all the power of the underlying data base systems.
Developing and delivering business-knowledge solutions is the aim of a new three-year pact between DATAWARE TECHNOLOGIES, INC. and FUJITSU BUSINESS SYSTEMS LTD. The Cambridge, Massachusetts firm has made FBS its master distributor in Japan. It will begin selling localized versions of Dataware Knowledge Management Suite 2.0J in August, both directly to its own customers and by developing a reseller network. The first module to be rolled out will be Knowledge Query Server Japan, which enables collaborative searches of data warehouses as well as searches of Internet-based resources. Fujitsu Business Systems also will provide consulting, system design, development and operational support.
A software package from INDUS INTERNATIONAL promises to help Japanese companies with the difficult process of reengineering their business processes to meet today's rapidly changing competitive environment. KOA OIL CO., LTD., a CALTEX CORP. affiliate, has decided to deploy the Indus Solution Series to deal with the fallout from the deregulation of Japan's oil industry by getting a better grip on its refining and storage operations. Koa Oil chose the San Francisco company's enterprise asset management solution based on Indus' experience with the special needs of the oil and gas industry as well as the positive results the software has produced at Caltex operations around the world. Koa Oil is aiming for full implementation of the EAM program by early 2000.
Another business reengineering tool is available from REMEDY CORP. The Mountain View, California firm's Action Request System allows corporate managers to track, control and automate a diverse range of business tasks, such as help-desk requests, systems management, customer relations and purchase orders. AR System 4.0.2, which fully supports the double- byte Japanese language, lets users impose their own business rules to direct corporate activities. Remedy's products are used by some 200 clients in Japan and are distributed and supported by more than 30 local partners.
HYPERION SOLUTIONS CORP.'s subsidiary has named a seventh company to distribute Hyperion Enterprise (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 27). INFORMATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL-DENTSU, LTD. set up a dedicated six-person consulting and sales team to handle its new job. It has priced the departmental-level package at $180,300. Hyperion Enterprise pulls together the many components of project management, helping coworkers to collaborate and managers to smooth the workflow.
COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary will sell, install and support GEOTEL COMMUNICATIONS CORP.'s full line of customer-interaction software solutions. The computer vendor will integrate the Lowell, Massachusetts firm's Intelligent CallRouter, Network Intelligent CallRouter, Site ICR and full line of desktop computer-telephony integration programs into its own customer call-center solutions. Compaq hopes that GeoTel's software will allow it to seamlessly mesh front-office and back-office applications to provide even better customer service.
An alliance aimed at leveraging the benefits of cutting-edge electronic imaging technologies to the newspaper industry has been formed by ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC. and FUJITSU, LTD. The deal brings together Adobe's publishing and multimedia software expertise with Fujitsu's knowledge of newspaper pro-duction equipment. Based on Adobe's Photoshop image editing program. the new partners' initial goal is to create a system that can handle huge numbers of electronic images and interface directly with newspaper production equipment made by Fujitsu and other firms.
The growing power of PCs is illustrated by a new, high-precision clock and timing engineering analysis package from AMHERST SYSTEMS ASSOCIATES, INC. The Amherst, Massachusetts firm's M1 Time-Interval Measurement Standard and Serial Data packages run on Windows-based PCs, yet they can conduct sophisticated analyses of factors that produce even tiny errors in the high- speed clock systems that are critical to modern computers and data communications systems. ASA's products will be distributed and supported exclusively by TOYO CORP. It expects to sell between 100 and 200 copies of ASA's packages at prices from $8,300.
LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s marketing unit hopes to breathe life into its venerable 1-2-3 spreadsheet program by releasing an update in July. 1-2-3 2000 offers improved compatibility with Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet and Word word-processing programs, bigger data sheets and premade sheets for business applications. The new program also is Internet- savvy, being able to upload and download data from the Web with just a few mouse clicks. As a standalone product, 1-2-3 2000 will retail for $165, but it is a better deal when purchased for $205 as part of the Lotus SuperOffice 2000 bundle.
Hoping to make its 3D animation graphics package the standard in Japan's engineering schools, AVID TECHNOLOGY, INC.'s subsidiary has served up a special version of SOFTIMAGE. SOFTIMAGE|3D GT for Students retails for about $1,000 a sixth the price of the previous low-end version, which is aimed at small businesses (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 351, December 1998, p. 25) yet it retains most of the commercial package's features and power.
ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC. has localized the latest version of its Internet-essential electronic document software, Acrobat 4.0. The update makes it much easier for workgroups to develop, create and post electronic documents in Adobe's portable document format to the Internet a major expansion beyond the single-user limits of previous editions. Although retail prices are not fixed, it is likely that the Japanese version of Acrobat will sell for about the same amount as in the United States, which is generally $245 for an upgrade from previous versions of Acrobat to about twice this for a full package.
For its part, APPLE COMPUTER, INC. has released a Japanese version of its ColorSync hue- matching utility. Version 2.6.1 offers greater control and broader compatibility with commercial prepress and color separation standards. Moreover, it still is available at no cost through an Internet download.
IBM JAPAN LTD. has adapted its parent's popular ViaVoice 98 speech input software to handle the norms and the practices of the Japanese market. ViaVoice 98 Friendly Speak sells alone for $150, but it also comes with a special bundle costing $60 that includes a noise-reducing microphone and special software developed with JUSTSYSTEM CORP. The software allows users to access Justsystem's JustNet Internet service with voice commands.
The popularity of Microsoft productivity software continues to invite attacks from computer virus makers. SYMANTEC CORP.'s subsidiary has put on the market a new antivirus utility that protects Microsoft's PowerPoint presentation package. Virus creators have been getting into PowerPoint through the back door, launching attacks from Excel and Word files. Symantec says that its special version of Norton Antivirus can defeat the Tristate and the Triplicate macroviruses that recently have appeared.
UNISYS CORP.'s local software writers have produced an update to their specialized version of the CADCEUS computer-aided engineering program for injection-mold makers. The improvements on the 2.0 version of CADCEUS MoldDesign (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 26) were developed with the help of NISSEI PLASTIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. The Unisys subsidiary hopes to sell 500 copies of the $35,200 CADCEUS MoldDesign v2.1 package in the first year.
A new version of COCREATE SOFTWARE INC.'s popular ME10 2D and 3D CAD program is now available from the local office of the HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. subsidiary. Version 9.0 runs entirely under Windows and offers an enhanced interface and faster rendering. At $4,900 and up, it also improves on the price/performance ratio of previous versions of ME10 for Unix- based systems. A new ME10 Viewer, which lists for $615, debuted along with the CAD program. It is intended to make the final results of ME10 available to a wider range of users. The marketing unit of Fort Collins, Colorado-based CoCreate Software expects to sell as many as 6,000 copies of ME10 v9.0 annually.
THINK3 of Santa Clara, California has entered the CAD/CAE market in cooperation with distributor ANDOR CO., LTD. think3 is touting the low price $8,000 and high functionality of its thinkdesign package. This software is based on the Eureka Gold CAD system it sold in its former incarnation as CadLab, Inc. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 30).
The subsidiary of CAD powerhouse AUTODESK, INC. rolled out graphical add-ons for several of its strong-selling products, including Genius+ for AutoCAD R14, Genius+ for Mechanical Desktop3 and Genius LT for AutoCADLT98. Also debuting were new versions of Autodesk's core design package AutoCAD2000 and its map-specific package, AutoCADMap2000, which lists for $5,800. These updates offer greater integration with the Internet as well as greater compatibility with other CAD and graphics packages. At the same time that it released the add- ons, Autodesk's local unit enlisted a powerful partner TOSHIBA CORP. to distribute these products.
XILINIX, INC. has put on the market via its Tokyo unit new generations of its Alliance and Foundation series of electronic design automation tools. Alliance Series 2.1i is the first EDA program that can design field-programmable gate arrays with up to 2 million gates. It also delivers 50 percent faster compile times than the previous 1.5 version. The Alliance Series has been reworked as well to allow design teams to collaborate over the Internet. For its part, Foundation Series 2.1i integrates Xilinix's core generator with SYNOPSIS, INC.'s FPGA Express synthesis tools to provide fast compile times for high-performance programmable logic devices. This package goes for $4,900.
An electronic device simulator developed by EMULTEK LTD. is available now through KOBE STEEL, LTD. as well as from NIPPON SYSTEMWARE CO., LTD. The Pasadena, California company's RapidPLUS is part of both companies' portfolios of turnkey electronic device design solutions. RapidPLUS combines a user-friendly graphical interface with a powerful code- generation engine to create computer simulations of electronic devices that are as functional and interactive as the real items. The distribution arrangement with Kobe Steel will produce more than $500,000 in revenues for Emultek in 1999. That also is the minimum amount that the Nippon Systemware contract, which was signed in January, will generate this year.
SYNOPSIS, INC. and HITACHI, LTD. have agreed to jointly develop and distribute the first coverification models of Hitachi's popular SH3-DSP and SH-4 RISC processor cores. Engineers designing these chips into their products will be able to simulate hardware/software interactions with Synopsis' Eaglei coverification tool. The partners hope to have the first models ready by the third quarter of 1999.
In a major win for start-up TERA SYSTEMS INC., the Campbell, California firm has landed a contract to supply FUJITSU, LTD. with its full line of verification tools for system-on-a-chip designs. The TeraForm tool takes a high-level approach to SOC designs. That can help engineers pinpoint problems with placement and layout of whole components as well as tell them how these components interact with split-second timing. Fujitsu currently is qualifying TeraForm for its CS71 0.25-micron library. It expects to bring the Tera Systems tool to its IPSymphony SOC design system later this year.
In the meantime, LOGICVISION, INC. of San Jose, California licensed its SOC verification tools for embedding in FUJITSU, LTD.'s IPSymphony system. LogicVision and Fujitsu officials claim that this is a first in the industry. They add that it will greatly simplify the task of integrating and testing intellectual property cores from multiple sources within the virtual confines of the IPSymphony SOC design methodology.
VOYAN TECHNOLOGY has signed a multiyear development pact with semiconductor production equipment manufacturer TOKYO ELECTRON LTD. and affiliate TOKYO ELECTRON TOHOKU LTD. to integrate its thermal control software into the next generation of TEL batch furnaces. The proprietary version of Clairvoyant Control that the Santa Clara, California company comes up with should help TEL make furnaces with higher performance and lower cost of ownership. The first of these products, the Adaptive Thermal Processor, has a mid-July introduction date.
Helping to fuel the rapid advances in Japan's mobile communications market, QUALCOMM INC. has delivered its high-speed packet data solution to manufacturers of CDMA digital handsets. A complement to the company's MSM3000 baseband chipset, the MSM3000 system software enables suppliers to big cellular services providers DDI CORP. and NIPPON IDOU TSUSHIN CORP. to quickly add the ability to their MSM3000-based products to connect to the Internet at speeds up to 86.4 kilobits per second without new or additional hardware. Before the end of this year, DDI and IDO (as it is generally known) expect to enable high-speed packet data for subscribers to their cdmaOne services.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Japan has a new facilities-based communications carrier, the eighth authorized by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications since this market was deregulated in February 1998. The latest company to receive a Type I license is RSL COM JAPAN K.K. With this go-ahead, the wholly owned unit of New York City's RSL COMMUNICATIONS, LTD. will connect its international gateway switch in Tokyo via existing fiber-optic cables to the RSL global communications network, which includes an international gateway in Los Angeles. The company now has a special Type II license that allows it to provide international simple resale services using circuits leased from Type I carriers. Starting in October, according to current plans, RSL COM will offer an expanded range of services to businesses and consumers at a lower cost and a higher quality than at present. Transpacific private-line services will be the primary focus initially of a business that is expected to generate revenues of $819,700 in the first year.
In yet another demonstration of its determination to become a major supplier of carrier-class equipment in Japan, LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES INC. expects to double staffing at its Makuhari, Chiba prefecture R&D center to between 60 and 70 people by yearend. Opened last December and run by Lucent's Bell Laboratories unit, the facility is working on passive optical networking equipment. PON technology uses lasers to carry communications signals over fiber-optical networks and is the key to NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP.'s plan to bring high- bandwidth, multimedia services to homes and offices nationwide by 2010. Lucent already has received two PON-related contracts from NTT (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 26). It intends to leverage the R&D work done at its Chiba prefecture center to commercialize products for global markets. Bell Laboratories also operates a R&D facility in Kanagawa prefecture that specializes in wideband CDMA technology for Japan's third-generation wireless communications system.
Tokyo now is home to one of just three CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. facilities around the world that can quickly generate blueprints of customers' in-house communications networks. The internetworking giant spent $819,700 to equip the Cisco Customer Center at its Japanese headquarters. Diagrams of clients' network layouts can be produced in about two hours.
NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP.'s plan for an extremely high-speed extranet service based on next-generation Internet Protocol technologies is creating opportunities for collaboration between American communications companies of all types and NTT-ME CORP., the actual backer of the XePhion broadband service (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 31). The latest company to tie up with the recently formed NTT subsidiary is CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. Their goal is to combine the technology underlying XePhion with Cisco's VoIP (voice over IP) and IP/TV know-how in order to deliver quality audio, video and data over fiber-optic networks to corporate Japan. The new partners also intend to move into the technical training field by commercializing products that integrate NTT-ME's CALAT Internet and network technology educational system with Cisco's Networking Academy.
In a move designed to better position it to win IP-based equipment contracts from big services providers launching high-bandwidth multimedia networks, CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary formed a marketing alliance with OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD., one of the Big Four hardware suppliers to NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. and other local carriers. The primary thrust of the tie-up is equipment based on Cisco's MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) technology, which is optimized for the low-cost transmission of massive multimedia data files. The partnership extends beyond marketing hardware and related software to customizing high-throughput communications networks for clients and maintaining and managing these systems.
Capitalizing on its ties overseas, INFONET SERVICES CORP., which supplies global networking services to multinational companies, signed an agreement with KDD CORP. under which the international carrier will resell to its customers worldwide the El Segundo, California firm's frame-relay services. These services are locally supported in close to 50 countries. .....On a different level, EQUANT, a major source of managed data network services for global businesses worldwide (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 29), has won a contract from TOMEN CORP. to supply data networking services in more than 24 countries. By July, frame-relay services will be available to support Tomen's global e-mail and corporate intranet applications. The trader already uses the Atlanta firm's remote dial-in services worldwide and its frame-relay services in North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe.
Internet-based communications services provider CALLNOW.COM, INC. signed a multiyear agreement with LYCOS JAPAN K.K. under which the Internet portal will market its products. The deal is similar to one that CallNOW.com has with LYCOS, INC. in Europe. The New York City company bills itself as a one-stop shop for communications services on the Internet. Customers can sign up on-line for national and international long-distance, cellular rentals, calling cards and other services. Activation is instant. CallNOW.com provides real-time call monitoring as well as on-line billing.
Following the lead of its Rochester, New Hampshire parent, the subsidiary of CABLETRON SYSTEMS INC. launched a new series of SmartNetworking Services that are designed to minimize network operating costs while maximizing network performance by linking real-world business processes and communications requirements to network capabilities. The various components allow information technology managers to set, enforce and track automated rules that govern such network operations as security, bandwidth and quality of service. The first component rolled out in Japan involves policy-based networking to address security and QoS for LANs and WANs.
IBM JAPAN LTD. has extended its line of Nways Ethernet switches with the addition of the $3,800 desktop Model 416 from the IBM 8275 line for high-performance, wire-speed Ethernet LAN switching. It also introduced the 9783 AccessPlus F200, a $6,000 package that, according to the company, provides the industry's highest quality and widest range of voice compression technology for frame-relay networks.
Users of handheld or palm-size computing devices running the Windows CE operating system now can access data and information on corporate networks thanks to the CompactCard Ethernet 10 from the marketing unit of XIRCOM, INC. The first such product from the international leader in connectivity solutions for mobile computing professionals, the Windows CE-based CompactCard, priced at $170 or so, provides high-speed connections to 10-Mbps networks for e-mail access, Internet browsing and data synchronization.
Continuing a recent string of design wins in Japan, EXTENDED SYSTEMS, INC. has landed a contract worth more than $2.5 million over the next year to provide infrared LAN connectivity for a new Windows CE-based tablet computer produced by TOSHIBA COMPUTER ENGINEERING CORP. and marketed by TOSHIBA TEC CORP. The Boise, Idaho firm claims to be the first to develop infrared LAN drivers for the Windows CE platform. The IR LAN connection in the TCEC product will be made via a cradle supplying the tablet device with power as well as a hot dock to the LAN. Toshiba TEC already has a volume order for the handheld computer from a convenience- store chain that plans to use it as an advanced point-of-sale product for better data management and increased efficiency.
The latest LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES INC. wireless LAN product to be marketed in Japan by NCR CORP.'s subsidiary is the WaveLAN/IEEE Turbo. This $800 system is being advertised as a two- in-one product. For office settings, it has a high-speed mode that provides data transmission rates equivalent to those of wired Ethernet LANs. In standard mode, the WaveLAN/IEEE Turbo offers extended range, making it suitable for retail, warehousing, manufacturing and similar environments. Given the WaveLAN/IEEE Turbo's combination of features and price, NCR's marketing arm believes that it can sell 200,000 units over the next three years.
Interest in enabling the networking of PCs and other digital devices in the home continues to gather momentum. The latest pairing brings together SHAREWAVE, INC. and KYUSHU MATSUSHITA ELEC-TRIC CO., LTD. El Dorado Hills, California ShareWave specializes in high- bandwidth, multimedia-capable wireless networking technologies that support digital, interactive multimedia content delivery to devices throughout the home. This know-how will be melded with KME's expertise in consumer electronics products to commercialize before the end of 1999 high-speed, low-cost home networking devices. These products, to be marketed by KME under the Panasonic brand name, will operate initially at 11 Mbps. Even higher speeds will be supported in the future. The partners say that they will reveal details about their forthcoming products later this year.
3D programming is coming to TV viewers in Japan. C-3D DIGITAL, INC., which operates the world's first 24-hour TV network with 3D programming, has signed 3D TELEVISION CO., LTD. as the exclusive distributor of its programming. The Salt Lake City, Utah firm's content initially will be available through SKYPERFECTV CORP., Japan's largest direct-to-home satellite broadcaster. As part of the agreement, 3D TV contracted to buy a minimum of 30,000 C-3D Digital Imaging Systems, the device people need to view the 3D channel. This system can handle signals from cable and terrestrial transmissions as well as from satellite broadcasts.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
One of the hottest names in designer jeans for women in trendy American cities is an equally huge success in Japan. The key is the narrow cut of the five EARL JEAN product lines. Since exclusive distributor YAGI TSUSHO, LTD. launched marketing of Earl jeans in February at some 200 outlets around the country, including boutiques and upscale department stores, sales have been running close to 10,000 pairs a month. A typical pair of Earl jeans costs $130. To ensure the continued success of the brand, Los Angeles-based Earl Jean has opened an office/showroom in Tokyo.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Reports continue to circulate through Japanese automotive circles that an expanded dealer network is central to FORD MOTOR CO.'s strategy for getting its sales back on a growth track (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 34). According to the latest information, the number-two U.S. vehicle maker could spend as much as $49 million to boost its current 234-store presence to 300 showrooms by FY 2003. Buying up dealer points closed by Japanese competitors struggling with sagging sales is said to be a primary way that FORD SALES JAPAN LTD. the retail channel for imported Ford vehicles as well as for Ford-badged cars built by affiliate MAZDA MOTOR CORP. plans to expand. Ford sold just 22,000 or so cars and light trucks in Japan last year, far off its peak of roughly 88,000 vehicles in 1990, but it expects to boost the yearly figure to 60,000 in the near to medium term. Products obviously are critical to the success of FORD MOTOR CO.'s sales-expansion strategy. That makes the introduction of the completely redesigned Mustang coupe and convertible all the more important. FORD SALES JAPAN LTD. is projecting Mustang sales at 200 units a month. The sporty car, which has a manufacturer suggested retail price of $23,800 to $30,700, has a new exterior and an improved 3.8-liter, V-6 engine. Traction control and an antitheft system are standard equipment.
The first right-hand-drive Jeep Grand Cherokee equipped with a V8 engine is in CHRYSLER JAPAN SALES LTD. showrooms. DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG is counting on the more powerful 1999 sport-utility vehicle to boost sales in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7L, which designates its 4.7-liter engine, lists for $40,600. Its mate, the remodeled Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4.0L, which sports a 3.95-liter, V6 engine, has a MSRP of $36,000. Chrysler Japan Sales is projecting Jeep Grand Cherokee sales at 1,800 units by December. Earlier this year, the company released the 1999 RHD versions of both the Jeep Cherokee and the Jeep Wrangler.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.
Through an investment of $8.2 million, CORNING INC. will expand capacity by 20 percent at its Osuga, Shizuoka prefecture plant, a key source of glass substrates for Japan's once-again expanding LCD manufacturers. The factory's seventh production line should be operational by yearend. The facility currently turns out between 30,000 and 40,000 glass substrates a day. That output is key to Corning's claim to 60 percent of the world market for LCD glass substrates. Executives also have said that the company is prepared to make additional investments in the Shizuoka plant if demand from makers of LCDs requires such a move.
Home building supplier MASCO CORP. has set ambitious goals for its Japanese business: sales of $41 million in 2002 and double that in 2004. The Taylor, Michigan company the manufacturer of Merillat kitchen cabinets, Delta faucets, water systems, door locks and other hardware, and a variety of other products for the home sees an expanded distribution network as vital to the achievement of its target since its Japan-tailored products on average already cost 20 percent to 30 percent less than the domestic competition's. Masco currently works with 10 regional distributors. The company wants to raise this number to 20 or even 25 in the short run, plus sign up two or three companies that have nationwide sales channels. At the same time, it hopes to strengthen ties with home improvement centers. Masco currently supplies only one such retailer.
The BriteSmile 2000 teeth-whitening system soon will be available to dentists in Japan. BRITESMILE, INC. of Lester, Pennsylvania has agreed to form a majority-owned venture with optical instrument maker MEJIRO PRECISION INC. to introduce what it says is the fastest and most effective procedure for whitening teeth. The new company will make its money from licensing the BriteSmile 2000 system to dentists as well as from selling them a whitening gel.
The golfing craze in Japan might be over because of hard economic times in the 1990s, but TEARDROP GOLF CO. still sees sales opportunities there. The Morton Grove, Illinois company has teamed as a minority partner with KINDAI GOLF CO., LTD. to form a business that has sales, marketing and distribution rights to all TearDrop golf club and accessory brands except Walter Genuin golf shoes.
MART FRANCHISE VENTURE L.L.C. of Paramus, New Jersey and Tokyo's SUPER STAGE INC. will cosponsor the International Franchise Show & Business Expo 2000 in March 2000 in Tokyo. Billed as the premier showcase for transpacific franchise business opportunities, the exposition is expected to draw about 130 Japanese and 30 foreign exhibitors and to attract as many as 30,000 visitors.
An exchange rate of ¥122=$1.00 was used in this report.