JIN-181 -- Wilbur Ross, Others Wait for Tokyo Buyout Bargains

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R
Commentary on the Week's Business and Technology News
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Issue No. 181
Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Tokyo

CONTENTS

++ Viewpoint: Wilbur Ross, Others Wait for Tokyo Buyout Bargains

++ Noteworthy News
- Dell Unveils the Dimension 4500C
- E-Commerce Rankings Show Most Fields Have One Dominant Web Site
- Fast Food Restaurants Turn to Hotspots to Woo Customers

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++ VIEWPOINT: Wilbur Ross, Others Wait for Tokyo Buyout Bargains

Buyout guru Wilbur Ross has his eye on Tokyo banks these days. After
reviving Kofuku Bank in Osaka as Kansai Sawayaka Bank, he's ready for
the more cutthroat market in Japan's capital city. "We would very
much like to be in Tokyo long term, but we wanted to start out in an
easier place," Ross tells J@pan Inc writer Alex Stewart in our June
issue. "Based on what we've done we now feel we are ready to compete
in Tokyo, and we're very keen to enter."

Ross is not the only one. As senior editor Sumie Kawakami shows in
the first part of our special report on buyouts, there is more than
1 trillion yen waiting in the wings as buyout funds like Ripplewood,
Carlyle and Lone Star scour the economic landscape for good buys.
Meet the people in charge of these funds, find out what sort of
businesses they're targeting and how these foreign buyout funds are
going to change Japan. Are they "sucking the blood of Japanese
taxpayers," as novelist Ryo Takasugi writes, or revitalizing battered
businesses, as they claim?

Our June issue will be in bookstores from May 25th.
Thanks for reading.

-- Bruce Rutledge

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++ NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

** Dell Unveils the Dimension 4500C

Extract: The Dell Dimension 4500C, which sells for 99,800 yen, is the
US company's newest addition to the Dimension range of consumer
desktops. What's of special note about this new PC is that it was
conceived, designed and developed by Dell Japan.

The basic configuration features a Pentium 4 1.7MHz processor, six
USB 2.0 ports, 128MB of RAM, a 20GB hard disk drive and Windows XP
Home Edition. Dell has come up with a novel
approach to the eternal problem of accessibility in desktop PCs.
Instead of having all the important ports hidden away at the back of
the case, Dell has developed something it calls the MultiAccess
floppy replacement. This nifty little unit slots into a bay on the front of the case and
offers two type II PC cards, a Firewire port and a modem socket.

Read more about the newest Dell family member born in
Japan in an article by editor J Mark Lytle in the July edition of
J@pan Inc.

Link:
http://www.dell.co.jp

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** E-Commerce Rankings Show Most Fields Have One Dominant Web Site

Extract: Nikkei NetBusiness recently released a ranking of e-commerce
sites in Japan. The survey shows that most business fields are
dominated by one Web site, while others struggle for the leftover
crumbs. For example, Nikkei NetBusiness says, Yahoo! controls about
three-quarters of the market for online auctions, and Rakuten Ichiba
does the same for online malls. Amazon is also the controlling force
for online booksellers.

One field where competition is rife is in home electronics and PCs.
Sofmap and Yodobashi Camera lead the pack, but the two combined
control only 10 percent of the market. The rest is being pursued a
slew of companies with Seiko Epson's build-to-order site Epson Direct
in third place.

Another competitive field is music sites, according to Nikkei
NetBusiness. Amazon leads the way, followed closely by Tsutaya, HMV,
Sony Music Entertainment, Tower Records and others.

Source:
http://www.nikkeibp.asiabiztech.com/wcs/leaf?CID=onair/asabt/fw/186019

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** Fast Food Restaurants Turn to Hotspots to Woo Customers

Extract: Wireless LAN 'hotspot' providers are teaming up with fast
food chains across Japan to give diners a chance to surf the Web
while they dine. A lot of the services planned are beginning in late
May or June. McDonald's will use Softbank's services in Tokyo
restaurants beginning in June; Mr. Donut will team with Softbank to
offer hotspot connections in 20 stores in the Hokkaido, Tokyo and
Kansai areas from late this month; and Mos Burger plans to expand its
services with NTT Communications from the current 40 stores to 150 in
June. It looks like today's fast food restaurants will soon be
doubling as Internet cafes.

Source:
http://www.nikkeibp.asiabiztech.com/wcs/leaf?CID=onair/asabt/news/186
270

Link:
"Wireless Hotspots" from April 2002 issue (password protected)
http://www.japaninc.net/inc/login.html?articleID=761

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STAFF
Written by Bruce Rutledge (bruce@japaninc.com)
and Sumie Kawakami (sumie@japaninc.com)
Edited by J Mark Lytle (mark@japaninc.com)

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