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I-mode Rapidly Emerging as Second Largest Market after the Web
Posted: 10-Apr-2000 [Source: Nikkei NetBusiness]

[An increasing number of Japanese businesses are using NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service in new business models.]

By Tsuyoshi Otake -- "Businesses based on i-mode are making speedy progress.

"The bookseller Kinokuniya Co., Ltd., which sells more than 2 billion yen worth of books annually over the Internet, now gets nearly 10 percent of its orders from i-mode wireless handsets. And Culture Convenience Club Co., Ltd., which manages the video rental store TSUTAYA, gained 140,000 of the 200,000 sign-up members for its online services through i-mode.

"Other enterprises, such as Recruit Co., Ltd., Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd. and Pia KK, are utilizing i-mode in tandem with the Web or magazine publishing as a tool to link customers into their information services.

"Among the newly emerging business models is NTT DoCoMo's billing agency service. Using this service, content providers pay a commission of 9 percent of sales, and NTT DoCoMo will collect fees on their behalf for content that costs the i-mode subscriber no more than 300 yen per month. This mechanism means that a business model based on small-fee items, which people are seldom persuaded to purchase on the Web, can be implemented via i-mode.

"By utilizing this billing agency service, Bandai Co., Ltd. has signed up more than 600,000 i-mode users for its "Charappa!" service, which delivers popular character images for 100 yen per month. This wildly successful service earns Bandai more than 60 million yen per month in revenue.

"A wide variety of other new business models based on i-mode functions have emerged and are performing well. One such function enables site operators to acquire the unique ID of the i-mode handset when the user visits the site. Another is the "phone-to" function, which automatically places a voice call when the user clicks on a link.

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