24 August 2000
The number of big names, including Travelocity.com, involved in ventures such as kokunaisensen.com, is not unexpected.
Japan has long been viewed as one of the world’s most lucrative online business markets. According to Travelocity.com’s president Terrell Jones, more than 20 million Japanese are online, and Internet penetration is expected to double by 2003.
A recent report by Roper Research says Japan is the fastest growing country in terms of personal computer ownership, with half of all Japanese now online. Andersen Consulting and Japan’s ministry of international trade and industry predict Japanese e-commerce to rise from US$4 billion in 1999 to US$693 billion in 2003.
Travelocity.com is not the first foreign player to see Japan’s worth. Name-your-price etailer, Priceline.com, announced its joint venture with Japanese Internet investor Softbank late last month.
Priceline.com is expected to offer airline tickets and hotel reservations online to begin. Chairman Richard Braddock was reported as saying, “Any Internet company looking to build a successful worldwide business and brand must have a significant presence and commitment to the Japanese market.”