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NTTDoCoMo to offer Internet auction service on mobiles
Posted: 12-Oct-2005 [Source: NTTDoCoMo]

[Rakuten and NTTDoCoMo announce alliance to provider Internet auction services over mobile phones and PCs.]

Tokyo -- Rakuten, Inc., a leading Japanese e-commerce company, and NTT DoCoMo, Inc., Japan's dominant mobile operator, today announced that they will form a business and capital alliance to provide Internet auction services over both mobile phones and PCs.

Under the agreement, Rakuten will spin off a part of its Internet auction business as the newly established Rakuten Auction, Inc. on December 1. On December 16, DoCoMo will acquire 40% of Rakuten Auction's common shares for approximately 4.2 billion yen through investment in Rakuten Auction and transfer of Rakuten's shares to DoCoMo.

Rakuten Auction will take over Rakuten's PC-based auction service, Rakuten Flea Market, in which individuals can list items for sale. Rakuten Flea Market will be linked with the parent company's Rakuten Super Auction, in which shoppers can bid for items sold by some 13,800 merchants (as of the end of September) in the Rakuten Ichiba Internet mall.

Rakuten Auction will expand its Internet auction service to allow DoCoMo customers to participate using their mobile phones. The start date of the mobile auction service has not been determined. In addition, Rakuten Auction plans to develop other services in the Internet auction field.

The agreement will enable the companies to mutually leverage complimentary strengths, namely, DoCoMo's expertise in i-mode and Rakuten's expertise in the Internet auction business. In addition, Rakuten will expand its auction business through mobile Internet phones given increasing demand for DoCoMo's popular 3G service, while DoCoMo will further diversify its revenue streams by gaining a service not tied to communications traffic.

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