Yahoo! Japan Allies With CCC(Tsutaya), Japan’s Blockbuster

Yahoo! Japan, the nation’s largest web service, and Culture Convenience Club(CCC), who runs video rental chain store Tsutaya and the center of the reward point network T-point, announced their tight alliance today after the Tokyo stock market closed.

According to the release [J], Yahoo! Japan to merge T-ID, online ID for 40 million T-point card members into Yahoo! Japan ID. Yahoo! Point, virtual reward points given on many Yahoo! Japan services, will be merged into T-point.

Both companies are to set up a new subsidiary dedicated to manage this new T-point, planned to establish in October, to finish the integration 2013 Spring.

Nihon Enterprises Opening Android Market From Summer Which Allows Payment Using Point Program “Ponta”

Nihon Enterprise, [J] in partnership with Royality Marketing, who run the community point program Ponta, [J] has announced that from this summer they will launch the Android contents service “Ponta App Market” which can make transactions using Ponta points.

“Ponta App Market” is a marketplace for Android where you can leisurely purchase contents using saved Ponta points via businesses and shops linked up with Royality Marketing.  Because of this, “Ponta” users’ options for using saved points will widen further.  As a mobile solutions company, Nihon enterprise has a chance  push towards offering exciting mobile contents for “Ponta” users with this “Ponta App Market” service.

Translation authorized by VSmedia

note from Asiajin

Ponta [J] is rather new point card alliance, and major companies joined the network are Geo, Japan’s second largest video rental chain-store after Tsutaya/CCC and Lawson, the nation’s second largest convenience store chain after Seven Eleven.

Lawson used to be a member of T-point card, which is led by CCC.

Dentsu Buys 15% Stake In Tokyo-Based Web Company Kakaku.Com

Tokyo-based Dentsu, one of the biggest advertising agencies in the world, today announced [JP, PDF] it has acquired 15.06% of Kakaku.com, Japan’s largest price comparison site and community (all Kakaku-related articles on Asiajin, my very early review of the site from 2007).

The eponymous company behind the service is currently listed at the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a US$1.6 billion market cap. Culture Convenience Club (CCC) , the operator of the Tsutaya DVD and CD store chain, is the main shareholder.

While the price comparison site is still the core asset (after almost 15 years in business), kakaku.com rolled out a number of other web services in the last few years that now Dentsu has a foot in, i.e. movie portal eiga.com, 4travel, or hotel reservation service yoyaQ.com.

The biggest hit Kakaku.com landed after establishing online price comparison in Japan is tabelog, a wildly popular restaurant guide that is similar to Yelp in the US. Last month, tabelog alone saw 712 million page views (kakaku.com: 877 million).

All sites of the group racked up a combined 1.7 billion page views in the same time frame, coming from 77 million unique users – and this reach is exactly what Dentsu is after.

Kakaku.com’s stats can be accessed here [PDF].

Opt Offers Social Recommendation Application Market “myappee” Also In Coordination With T-points

Opt has begun to implement the social recommendation application market “myappee,” which knows which Android apps are popular based on “Like this” and user tweets. New applications are also open for registration [J].

Myappee is a service which introduces popular applications for Android. It combines “ranking.” “recommended,” and “points” to introduce the truly most popular applications to the user. It aggregates users’ word of mouth (tweets, Facebook “Like,” etc.) with download count using and original algorithm, in cooperation with Twitter and Facebook, and is also able to introduce applications recommended by friends.

It is also linked with T point, a service by Culture Convenience Club (CCC). It grants users one point for every 100 yen (US$1.2) spent on applications, and likewise points can be used to purchase applications. From now, during the campaign period, points will also be granted for free application downloads, and the service will be offered to T members for a special price.

original article on VSMedia

Video Rental Store Chain To Be Lead Shareholder Of Kakaku.com

Digital Garage's LogoKakaku.com's Logo

Logo of Culture Convenience Club Tsutaya's Logo

A Shibuya-based Internet conglomerate Digital Garage (DG) announced on Thursday that it would sell a half of all the shares of Kakaku.com[J], a B2C price comparison site and a subsidiary of DG, to Culture Convenience Club (CCC) owning Japan’s largest nationwide store chain providing video rental service called Tsutaya[J].   CCC plans to purchase 58,360 shares of Kakaku.com for approx. USD181M (USD JPY18.1B) on May 25th.

DG will obtain USD157M (JPY15.7B) as the profit arisen from the gap between its book price and this time’s evaluation price, and the company declare it in the business year ending in June, 2009.   DG’s two subsidiaries of Technorati Japan (search engine for blog) and DG Communications[J] (estate advertising) posted operating losses due to some reasons caused by this economic downturn.

DG also announced it would be partnering with CCC, which contains merging payment services being operated by the two companies and helping oversea cloud service providers to enter Japanese market.

Kakaku.com earns relatively higher profit among the DG group companies, however its parent company DG was forced to do so to cover the deficit before reporting figures.   This announcement pushed up DG’s share price to a limit-up in Friday morning, then in afternoon it declined under the previous day’s closing price.

In connection with this time’s new partnership, Joi Ito, managing director for DG and also known as the CEO of Creative Commons(CC), disclosed on his blog that he had joined the board of directors at CCC.   Now he is the management of CC and CCC as you see.