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.

Ask.jp Shuts Down Its Japanese Search Engine


Ask Dot JP(ask.jp) announced [J] the end of its search engine service in Japan, to restructure their business operation.


On 25th of this month, June 2009, web search, blog search, product search and category search will be closed. They had already closed down their movie and image search last month. The announcement says that some services for enterprises will be kept.

Ask Dot JP, a Japanese counterpart of Ask.com, was established by Ask Jeeves (now Ask.com, a part of IAC) and Japanese company TransCosmos Inc., IT services provider forming conglomerate around the internet (J-Stream, DoubleClick, Fujisan Magazine Service, NetMile, NetRatings, etc.), which is listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange the first section (code 9175). TransCosmos also was known to be involved with TechCrunch Japan until recently.

Japanese search engine market share data on NetRatings/Nielsen newsletter in 2008/10 [J] listed up Yahoo!, Google, MSN/Live, goo, Biglobe, Nifty, Infoseek, Excite and Baidu, but no Ask.jp is there.

Uniqlo Starts Online Sales in Mainland China

Uniqlo's Logo Alibaba China's Logo Taobao's Logo

Japan-based casual clothing retailer First Retailing(its brandname, Uniqlo) started its online sales in Mainland China[C], in tie-up with Taobao[C].   Taobao is China’s largest online shopping mall by the e-commerce giant Alibaba, and it engages more than 100 million frantic shoppers in the country.   This is the first independent entry by a Japanese large retailer to China’s e-commerce market.   Uniqlo’s CEO Tadashi Yanai unveiled the company is aiming to grow its online sales up to 10% of Uniqlo’s entire retail business in Mainland China.

TransCosmos' Logo

Shanghai Transcosmos, a local subsidiary of Japan’s large BPO (business process outsourcing) provider, handles all the back-end processes for Uniqlo’s new e-commerce site.   Transcoscmos has call center facilities in Beijing and Shanghai, and the two sites have 560 seats for call center representatives.

Uniqlo China's EC Site