"Japan's consumer electronic commerce market in 1999 is estimated to have reached 248 billion yen, a four-fold growth over the 64.5 billion yen in 1998.
"Adding the figure for real estate transactions, which was not surveyed in 1998, the market scale was 336 billion yen (about US$3.2 billion at 105.74 yen = US$1).
"An announcement to this effect was made Jan. 19 by the Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan (ECOM), which comes under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), and Andersen Consulting.
"The survey followed the "Size of Market Study for Electronic Commerce" which MITI made public in March 1999. The estimated figure for 1999 exceeded by far the forecast for 190 billion yen made in March, and shows that Japan's Internet business is growing at a faster-than-expected speed.
"As the main topic of the report for 1999, the survey cites the explosive growth of so-called mobile e-commerce, or e-commerce for consumers using mobile phones represented by iMode service by NTT Mobile Communications Network Inc. (NTT DoCoMo). The report also predicts further growth of the Internet in 2000 using game machines, car navigation systems and various other types of terminals.
"Moreover, the report anticipates that new entry into the market by SpeedNet Inc. and Tokyo Metallic Communications Co., Ltd. will kick off lowering of communication fees, which in turn will serve to support further expansion of the e-commerce market.
"Broken down by sector, automobile and real estate had notably large market scales in 1999. Personal computers, which were at the top of the market scale list in 1998, retreated to third place in 1999.
"The report estimates that by 2004, the scale of the e-commerce market, excluding real estate transactions, will have reached 5.5 trillion yen. Including real estate, it will be 6.7 trillion yen.