Japanese Emerge Into the World Wide Web
It is no secret that when it comes to technology, the United States and Japan have been constantly at war.Now that Japan is entering the age of he Internet, this competition is becoming fiercer than ever. The Internet market is beginning to restructure Japan’s economy, and a “ restructured Japan is going to be an immensely powerful competitor in all sorts of markets.” (Rohwer 115) The pricing and availability of Internet access, is one area in which Japan is beginning to excel, soon they will be able to undercut their American competitor in both ways. The sheer amount of products available on the Japanese Internet is growing by leaps and bounds everyday, and the American market will have to catch up, or drop out.
Today Japan is gearing itself up for total participation in the Internet market. It’s Internet companies are becoming bigger they have ever been, and even bigger than many American Internet companies. The newest ones are those making all the profit there is to be made in the world of e-commerce. Internet mogul Heroshi Mikitani has recently created a virtual shopping mall called Rakuten . It is comprised of , “ about 2000 stores… and is adding new ones at a rate of 200 a month.” (115) The most shocking thing about the growth of this fairly new company is the fact that it hasn’t even hit he public market yet. It’s opening is scheduled for April.
Even though this Internet market is relatively new, more so in Japan, the stocks for these Internet companies are soaring to heights no one could have predicted. NTT Docomo, a Japanese communications company put out a handset that would allow cellular phone users to connect to the Internet. Today, their stocks have risen 300%. This increase is even unexciting when posted next to those of Softbank whose stock rose four times that much with an astounding 1250% increase. Yahoo Japan is the one that is doing the best, of all these, its increase was 4200%
As strange as it seems, due to the astronomical growth Japan is experiencing, there have to be some changes in the pricing and distribution of the Internet in Japan. As it stands now, it can cost anywhere from eighty to a hundred dollars just to connect to the web, add to this the two dollar per hour charge which accompanies many of the Internet providers initial fee. Within the next three years however, this is scheduled to change. NTT Docomo is planning to slash their prices from 8000 yen, just over 73 dollars, to a more affordable 4000 yen, or in some cases even below 3000. (Landers 2)
With the Internet becoming more affordable, it is now becoming more accessible as well. It is not uncommon to see people sending e-mail from their cellular phones. It is estimated that close to half of the cellular phones made in Japan will be Internet ready. This means that the now 18 million people connected to the web are projected to increase to somewhere around 60 million. This is in Japan alone. Worldwide this increase is expected to be closer to 1 billion. (Wysocki, 5)
America won’t sit back and let the Japanese run them out of the Internet game. The hottest new thing is competitive cooperation within and without American based companies.“The U.S has another goal. It wants to see the Internet take off in Japan as in America, figuring that will give opportunities to U.S. technology companies and help the world economy by lifting Japan out of recession.” (Landers 2) American Companies
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Landers, Peter Feb 11, 2000, “NTT’s Web Pricing Is Called Possibly Predetory As U.S. – Japanese Telecom Trade Fight Deepens” , Wall Street Journal, Available Proquest Direct.
Litan, Robert E, Niskanen , William A.(1998). Going Digital Washington Brookings Institution Press and Cato Institute.
Rohwer , Jim, Feb 7,2000, “Japan Goes Web Crazy”, Fortune , Available Proquest Direct.
Shirouz, Norihiko Jan. 26 2000, “ GM Cracks Japan’s Market With its Wallet, Not it’s Cars” , Wall Street Journal , Available Proquest Direct .