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Baidu entering Japan

This is just comedy.
Baidu is entering the Japan market. That’s fine, understandable. But the reasons Baidu gives investors for it’s Japan entry are positively ludicrous. China and Japan are not similar at all in terms of culture, online or offline.

The Beijing-based company cites its experience with non-English languages and similarities between Japanese and Chinese as a factor that will draw users in Japan.

I’m all for more competition in Japan. But this (claim of similarities between Japanese and Chinese) is sheer nonsense.
The analysts in Japan say that Baidu may need an auction platform and a mobile platform in order to compete against Yahoo! Japan. Sensible, seeing that Yahoo! Japan has all of these pieces. Baidu might be able to buy it’s way into the Japanese auction market, but it won’t be cheap. On the mobile side, I don’t think NTT DoCoMo or KDDI would be interested in selling their businesses. So that leaves The Carlyle Group, who own 60% of Willcom. Somehow I don’t think the Carlyle guys would sell Willcom for a price Baidu would pay. I could be wrong of course.
Japanese Tech Stock Weekly Report []

China Japan

Japanese autos in China

NYTimes: Japan Carves Out Major Role in China’s Auto Future
Toyota Motor, the leading manufacturer in Japan, has a market share in China of just 1 percent, but it has set an ambitious goal of expanding it tenfold by 2010.
At the Beijing show, along with showing off its Japan-built cars, Toyota unveiled its first model for Chinese production, based on the Vitz compact sedan, which is not marketed in the United States. Some 30,000 of the cars will be built each month by Tianjin, now a subsidiary of First Automotive Works, known as F.A.W. Toyota is negotiating with F.A.W., China’s largest domestic car company, over a broader alliance that may include a luxury model as well.

Another very good James Brooke article in the Times. I read pretty much everything he writes. His work is Japan-business focused, but it’s all over the place, so I find it very interesting.
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VERY COOL! Photo gallery from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, California.
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FirstMonday: Competition and the Development of the Internet in Japan
This paper argues that bureaucratic efforts, mirroring Chalmers Johnson’s “developmental state” were partly responsible for Japan lagging far behind its industrial neighbours in economic development associated with the growth of the Internet until 1999. It was only in the latter half of the 1990’s, when a concerted effort was mounted to deregulate the telecommunications industry, did the development of the Internet (and the associated economic benefits that flowed therefrom) take off in Japan. Thus, the development of the Internet economy in Japan seems to mirror the arguments of the pro-competition academic writers in the broader debate about the political source of the rise and fall of the Japanese economy. Competition and deregulation helped to spur the development of the Internet in Japan in the latter half of the 1990’s. Bureaucracy had inhibited its development until then.
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NYTimes: Genuinely Ugly Americans, as Viewed by the Japanese
The coming of Commodore Perry and his troops to the shores of Japan has always been a showstopper in Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s fable of gunboat diplomacy and cultural transformation. Those who saw the original Broadway production still marvel at the immense paper dragon of a ship created by the fabled designer Boris Aronson.
But Mr. Miyamoto and company have devised their own highly original coup de théâtre for the occasion, and it, too, is sure to linger in the memory. The ships are seen only as fleeting, ambiguous shadows. But the Americans, whose grotesquely stylized appearances here were inspired by 19th-century Japanese poster art, are canopied by a vast American flag that shoots across the theater’s ceiling amid a flash of eye-searing light.

Went to see this musical last night- my first time at Lincoln Center. Ran into college & high school friends too.