Pacific Cyberworks buys Japanese videogame maker

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TOKYO--Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) of Hong Kong has taken an 81% stake in Tokyo-based videogame software developer Jaleco for $257 million as it gears up for its launch in Japan next year.

As part of its launch plans, PCCW is building studios and lining up content and investment partners. The company plans to roll out three business units: the Network of the World, to become the main broadband content platform for consumers, a second unit to export content from Japanese sources to Asian and other global markets and a data center.

Japan is playing catch-up with the U.S. and Europe in the Internet business but major companies such as Sony Corp. have pledged to make broadband services an integral part of their business strategy.

Broadband users in Japan are minimal at present but industry estimates indicate that by 2004 there will be almost 10 million broadband users in the country.

"We can come up with killer content and we can get people to start looking at broadband sites," says Roger Suyama, exec VP at PCCW-Japan.

The question remains if Japan will ride the broadband wave after falling behind other major countries in the Internet race, but Mr. Suyama has confidence in the local market. "New technologies here go in fits and starts in the beginning but once critical mass is achieved, they take on a life of their own," he says.

Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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