RealTime IT News

Intranets.com Launches Japanese Venture

Free intranet portal Intranets.com Tuesday sparked a joint venture with Hikari Tsushin Inc., Japan's largest distributor of wireless communication devices and Internet services, to offer free intranets to the Japanese market.

The agreement, coming on the heels of Hikari Tsushin Inc.'s $20 million investment in Intranets.com last month, is part of Intranets.com's plan to expand globally, according to president and chief executive officer, Steve Crummey.

With its excellent reputation in delivering Web-based services through a variety of wireless appliances, Hikari Tsushin seems like a logical place to begin expansion overseas, according to Crummey. That Japan is packed with five million small- and medium-sized businesses also played a role in the deal.

The joint venture will be hosted in Japan and will offer localized content, support and services. Intranets.co.jp will be based on the Intranets.com model, which provides businesses and organizations with free hosting, custom URLs, industry news, calendar scheduling and vendor services.

Crummey said Intranets.com, which has 80,000 users, could have as much 500,000 clients in the next four months. He said 25 percent of the company's clients are from overseas. He said Intranets.com will look to set up another shop somewhere in Europe within the year.

"[The Net industry] is on fire now globally," Crummey said.

Hikari Tsushin, a $2.3 billion company, is the largest distributor of wireless communication devices in Japan, which boasts an Internet market second only to the United States. Hikari Tsushin owns 1,975 sales shops and has 13 offices in Japan and three subsidiaries worldwide.