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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