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Hikari Tsushin Puts $29.5 Million in Wireless Firm

Japanese mobile phone distributor Hikari Tsushin Inc., Monday invested $29.5 million in Pixo and announced plans for the two companies to form a joint venture for the Asian wireless market.

The new partners will develop mobile e-commerce applications for the Japanese wireless audience, with an eye to expanding throughout Asia. Banking on the future of mobile e-commerce, Hikari's new systems will be based on Pixo's HTML-based microbrowser technology.

The Japanese telecom service firm will also use the technology to display its existing Web content on wireless devices.

"Hikari invests in companies with exceptional technologies that will support us in our goal to develop advanced wireless Internet services such as mobile commerce," said Masahide Saito, managing director of Hikari Tsushin. Saito added that the company believes that the mobile phone will be the main conduit for wireless e-commerce.

Hikari's investment, the largest Pixo has received to date, will also make it the largest shareholder in the U.S.-based firm. Conexant Systems, Inc., Altos Ventures, Bay Partners and Communications Ventures also hold stakes. Hikari previously injected funds into mobile software company Phone.com (PHCM) and Web-based application developer Tumbleweed.



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