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].

Istyle(@cosme) Goes IPO On TSE Mothers


(@cosme’s tag line on the logo is “site of everyone’s word of mouth”)

Istyle [J], who runs Japan’s top cosmetic products review site @Cosme, announced [J] on February 3, 2012, that they will be listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers (Tosho Mothers) planned on March 8, 2012.

The company was established in 1999, and its service @Cosme became the leading beauty information service in Japan. 6.2 million monthly visitors exchange makeup products reviews.

Along with electric appliance review Kakaku.com and restaurant review Tabelog, @Cosme is thought as one of the most successful user generated review service in Japan.

As the reviews on @Cosme sometimes highly influences the sales of cosmetic products, there were rumors that some sellers’ review manipulation existed. Last month, after the buzz of Tabelog review manipulation news, one third party agent was reported [J] to ask @Cosme users to post positive mark with rewards. IPO must have been prepared before the Tabelog incident for long, so it is unfortunate for them if their IPO price will be affected by this word-of-mouth reputation troubles.

How Google Shopping Impacts On Kakaku.com’s Pricing Business?

Google launched its price comparison service intended to Japanese market today, that collects product description and price updates from an enormous number of e-commerce retailers and allows you to find the cheapest price at a glance.

Google’s new service launch influenced the stock price of Japan’s largest e-commerce price comparison site Kakaku.com[J], it dropped slightly down to 380,000 yen which is lower by 55,000 yen compared to yesterday’s closing price and equal to that recorded in December 2007.

The following chart shows you the daily movement of Kakaku.com’s stock price during the last three months.


(Source: MSN MoneyCentral)

Japanese stock market considers Google Shopping might be a threat for Kakaku.com.  However, is the new service so influential as to press down Kakaku’s stock price?   The followings may be considered as threats for Kakaku.com.

  • Unlike Kakaku.com, Google Shopping allows e-commerce sites to update their price listing for free.
  • When a consumer makes a search on Google to buy something, Google Shopping search results will be answered prior to other sites’ results, which may cause the decreased induction to Kakaku.com.

However, Google Shopping lacks the following features (in comparison with Kakaku.com)

  • No ranking of retailers dealing with the product you’ve specified.
  • No specification nor details about the product you’ve specified.
  • No other user’s comment/review on the product you’ve specified.
  • No category menu

The Japanese love ranking things.   Without it, they can’t make their minds on which product should be purchased from which e-commerce site.

But Google Shopping gives you benefit if you’ve already decided what you would buy.   Because…

  • Some of retailers listed on Google Shopping are not participating Kakaku.com.   There’s some cases that Google Shopping show you a list of lower prices than Kakaku.com
  • Google Shopping collects price quotes only from e-commerce sites.  No quote of real store’s sticker prices is included in the results, which makes you easier to pick the cheapest one only from the options that you can buy online.

How Google Shopping will affect the Japanese e-commerce industry?

Via: Tech Seven[J]

January 2010 Japan-IT Links (part 2)

News on the latter half of January 2010 which we did not write as a dedicated article. Part 1 is here.

Referred pages are all in Japanese, unless otherwise stated.

Please let us know if you think we should write details on any news above.

Recipe Sharing Site Cookpad Goes IPO

cookpad2

Cookpad [JP], Japan’s biggest cooking site, announced today that they will be listed to Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers section on July 17th.

CEO, Akimitsu Sano, started the service on 1998. Cookpad is a recipe sharing site with 558,939 registered recipes. The site has 6.8 million unique users and 351 million page views per month.

Cookpad has 676 million yen ($6.76M) revenue, 319 million yen ($3.19M) operating profit, and 176 million yen ($1.76M) after tax profit on FY2009.

Its sales consists of three segments, which are cooperative-marketing, advertisement, and subscription. Revenues of these segments are 399 million yen ($3.99M), 214 million yen ($2.14M) and 62 million yen ($0.62M), respectively.

Akimitsu Sano holds 69.24% shares of the company, and Yoshiteru Akita, a founder of Kakaku.com, holds 23.02%.

See Also:
* Our previous article: Cookpad The Number One Recipe Site
* TechCrunch article: A Recipe Site Goes IPO, In Japan (Cookpad)