The following is excerpted from IRG's weekly stock report:
Media, Entertainment and Gaming• Square Enix (OTCPK:SQNXF) announced the release for spring of 2008 a new Nintendo DS title The World Ends with You. The game has modern day Japan as background, making it the first game from Square Enix set in contemporary times. The announcement said the game will also feature a host of wireless functionality that will allow players to share fashion items with other players over Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.
• Napster, LLC (NAPS) announced that it will provide music content for a new mobile music feature that will be available to customers of Japan's leading wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo (DCM). Under the offering, NTT DoCoMo customers who subscribe to its Music & Video Channel, a service that provides mobile-phone access to music and video programs, will have the option to subscribe to a Napster-Tower Records music channel. The channel offers two programs that are updated weekly, each with eight to 10 full-length tracks that users may listen to up to three times during the week. The new programs will be accessible through 22 models of NTT DoCoMo handsets. Napster, a pioneer in digital music, is headquartered in the U.S., with its services available in markets all over Europe, Japan and North America.
Mobile/Wireless• NTT DoCoMo Inc. announced that it has entered into an agreement with KT Freetel Co., South Korea's second-largest mobile-phone operator, to jointly invest US$200 million in Malaysian wireless carrier U Mobile Sdn. Under the partnership, DoCoMo and KT Freetel plan to each own 16.5 percent of U Mobile. The carriers will help U Mobile in its 3G mobile-phone business and promote roaming services using the Malaysian operator's infrastructure. Industry observers see the move as a bid by KT Freetel and DoCoMo to find new sources of income overseas as more than 75 percent of people already own handsets in their domestic markets. DoCoMo owns a 10.5 percent stake in Seoul-based KT Freetel. U Mobile is a unit of MiTV Corp. In 2006, the company secured a license to offer 3G services in Malaysia.
Software• Verdasys Inc., a global data security solutions provider and Japan-based Rikei Corporation announced that they have entered into a strategic exclusive master distributor agreement. The agreement is expected to boost the availability of Verdasys' flagship product Digital Guardian in Japan and in other Asia-Pacific countries including Korea, Thailand, China, India, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. This strategic partnership is seen as enabling Rikei to penetrate the rapidly growing Japanese data security market with Verdasys products, certified training and support. Rikei counts among its customers Japan Defense Agency, KDDI, NEC (NIPNY), NTT-ME, and Sanyo Electric (OTC:SANYY). It has seven branches in Japan, as well as offices in the U.S., Hong Kong, Singapore, and China.
• Fujitsu Ltd (OTCPK:FJTSY) and the Institute for Information Industry of Taiwan announced their decision to set up a venture to provide WiMAX software to enable high-speed wireless networks. The two companies said they will set up the venture in March 2008 with a capital of US$5 million. Under the arrangement, the two companies would supply the software to Taiwanese vendors and other manufacturers aiming to lower development costs. The software is designed to link applications on WiMAX devices and base stations.
• Oki Electric Industry Company Limited (OTC:OKIEF) and Fujitsu Limited announced that they have entered into an alliance to develop next-generation ATM (Automated Teller Machine) software. The two companies said they have already completed the development of a prototype of the software using a web-based architecture. The product will be released in Japan beginning April 2008, and the companies plan to sign up 200 customers over the initial three-year period. A key feature of the next-generation ATM software is its fee structure, which charges per transaction in order to reduce financial institutions' initial software development costs as well as streamline asset management operations. The software is designed also to be managed on a central server, thus enabling financial institutions to easily change and add software.
Telecommunications• According to industry sources, KDDI was able to generate some 80 billion yen (US$716.3 million) in its first bond sale in two years, with the company selling 20 billion yen (US$179 million) of 1.5 percent seven-year bonds. Daiwa SMBC and Mizuho Securities (NYSE:MFG) handled the sale. Earlier in May, Standard & Poor’s raised KDDI credit by one level to A, the sixth-highest investment grade. KDDI said it looks to spending 500 billion yen (US$4.4 billion) in capital investments next fiscal year.
Disclaimer: IRG is not responsible for the accuracy of the news compiled within this article, which is based on publicly available information.