SoftBank Suffers Rare Japan Debut Drop After Record IPO

SoftBank Suffers Rare Japan Debut Drop After Record IPO

SoftBank Corp shares slumped more than 10 percent on debut, as investor appetite for Japan’s biggest ever IPO was hurt by a recent service outage at the telecoms operator and worries over its exposure to Chinese telecoms gear maker Huawei.

The poor start for the unit of investment giant SoftBank Group Corp was uncommon in the Japanese IPO market. Of 82 IPOs so far this year, SoftBank was only the seventh to open below the IPO price. Among recent major IPOs, Japan Display was the only one to flop, suffering a fall in its 2014 debut.

“Retail investors are dumping shares after seeing the opening below IPO price, also affected by a service outage,” a market analyst at a brokerage said, declining to be named because he was not authorised to talk to the media.

“But I don’t expect the shares will fall much further given their dividend yield and expectations for being included in stock indexes,” he said.

Following its $23.5 billion initial public offering, shares of SoftBank Corp fell as far as JPY 1,344 five minutes into trade, or 10.4 percent lower than its IPO price of JPY1,500. The broader Tokyo market was up 0.1 percent.

SoftBank Corp shares were most heavily traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section, accounting for about a third of the total turnover volume.

At 10:48 a.m. (0148 GMT), the shares were at JPY 1,384, after opening at JPY 1,463. SoftBank Group was up 0.5 percent.

SoftBank Corp CEO Ken Miyauchi will hold a news conference at 0630 GMT.

The IPO was just shy of the world record $25 billion 2014 listing of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, a SoftBank Group portfolio company.

During the IPO period, Japan’s third-largest mobile phone network provider by subscriber numbers suffered a rare nationwide service outage, which it said would not affect earnings or dividends.

Adding to investor worries, SoftBank Corp’s relationship with Huawei Technologies Co came under scrutiny as governments around the world moved to shut out the Chinese firm amid worries its gear could facilitate Chinese spying.

SoftBank Corp, which has the most exposure to Huawei among Japanese telecoms firms, plans to replace Huawei-provided 4G network equipment with other suppliers’ hardware, two sources said, in a process likely to be time-consuming and expensive.

IPOs are popular among Japanese retail investors, many of whom see them as sure profit bets given their tendency to open much higher than offering prices.

In SoftBank Corp’s case, an added attraction was its promise of a dividend payout of 85 percent, much higher than those of rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI Corp.

The IPO attracted about twice as many retail orders as the number of shares offered, sources at lead underwriters said last week. A smaller portion of shares offered to overseas intuitional investors was three times oversubscribed.

[“source=cnbc”]

Japan Creative shines a spotlight on the “different characters” of the country’s regional crafts

Japan Creative

Japan’s unique regional manufacturers are put under the spotlight by Japan Creative, an organisation that has paired them with international designers including Jasper Morrison, Daniel Rybakken and Industrial Facility to create new work.

Japan Creative

British designer Jasper Morrison has expanded on his earlier Palma project for Japan Creative, adding a second tea kettle

The non-profit organisation exhibited for the second time at this year’s Milan design week, presenting new products based on laquerware from Sabae, paper from Shizuoka, cast iron from Mizusawa and Aji inscription stone from Mount Goken.

In previous years, it has instigated projects like Stefan Diez’ Soba furniture, made using unprocessed bamboo from the groves surrounding manufacturer Taketora in Kochi Prefecture.

Japan Creative
Morrison’s homeware is made at cast-iron foundry Oigen, which has been in operation since 1852

The organisation launched in 2012 and works to bring international attention to Japanese craftsmanship, or “monozukuri”, which locally is already highly valued. Each year it picks three of Japan’s many small specialty manufacturers to focus on, and then selects a designer from overseas to complement each of them.

“Each area has a different character, and it affects the manufacturer’s techniques,” said Maho Masuzaki from Japan Creative, explaining the country’s many diverse specialities.

“We focus on whether the manufacturer has some unique material or technique, not only traditional ones. First we select the manufacturer and then we think about which designer to put together with the company.”

Japan Creative
This year Japan Creative also launched kitchen tools by Leon Ransmeier made using Aji stone by manufacturers Shimamoto Sekizai

Many of these manufacturers have been in continuous operation for centuries. Industrial Facility worked with Sekisaka to produce the Store vessels based on the manufacturer’s 300-year-old laquerware techniques, while British designer Jasper Morrison expanded on his earlier Palma project, adding a second tea kettle created at cast-iron foundry Oigen.

The manufacturer has been producing this kind of ironware – named Nambu after the former ruling family in the Iwate prefecture – since 1852.

Japan Creative
Aji stone is known as the “diamond of granites” for its texture and sheen

Also included in this year’s new launches were a sound-absorbing hood made by Norwegian designer Daniel Rybakken and the Tokushu Tokai Paper company, and kitchen tools by Leon Ransmeier made using Aji stone by manufacturers Shimamoto Sekizai.

The stone is apparently known as the “diamond of granites” for its texture and sheen, and is usually used in gravestones, but Ransmeier used it in a rolling pin, nutcracker, and mortar and pestle to showcase its potential for “everyday use”.

Japan Creative
Industrial Facility worked with Sekisaka to produce the Store vessels based on the manufacturer’s 300-year-old lacquerware techniques

Industrial Facility’s Sam Hecht likened the country to Italy in the way it has managed to preserve its traditional crafts.

“With companies like Sekisaka, it’s very similar to Italy, where they are family companies that are generally handed down through generations,” he said.

“And the thing about family companies is, you can’t just stop. You can’t just close the door and say ‘oh well I’m going to do something else’ – you keep it going by default. So that’s why they have this ability to be able to adapt and to maintain their quality and their interests.”

Japan Creative
Industrial Facility’s Sam Hecht likened the country to Italy in the way it has managed to preserve its traditional crafts

Outside of Japan Creative, the country’s strong craft tradition is a frequent inspiration for designers. Barber and Osgerby worked with regional paper-lantern makers for their Hotaru lighting, while Nendo made a ceramic speaker in partnership with a potter.

Industrial Facility frequently works in Japan, including with the country’s design megastore Muji, which makes its products locally and recently collaborated with a number of artisans to introduce the handmade Tatazumai collection to its stores.

Japan Creative
This year Japan Creative also brought together Daniel Rybakken and the Tokushu Tokai Paper company to create a sound-dampening hood

“In Japan I feel the idea of craft – and it doesn’t have to be only handmade, it can be something that is produced in significant numbers, but still the process is crafted – people are really into that,” said Hecht. “There are tons of magazines that are exposing that in Japan, and it’s constantly part of the conversation.”

Japan Creative exhibited its projects during Milan design week at Palazzo Litta, where other works on show included bikes created by Punkt in collaboration with leading design schools. Its previous collaborations include works with Claesson Koivisto Rune, Nacho Carbonell and Inga Sempé.

[“source-ndtv”]

Pokemon Go Finally Launches in Japan as India Continues to Wait

Pokemon Go Finally Launches in Japan as India Continues to Wait

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pokemon Go was initially launched in US, Australia and New Zealand
  • The delay in Japan launch was caused due to server overloading issues
  • India is still waiting for Pokemon Go’s official launch

Eager Japanese rushed to their phones on Friday to start hunting as the Pokemon Go mobile game finally launched in Japan, bringing the record-setting global hit to the home of the Pokemon characters.

After several days of rumours that the launch was imminent, Japan – one of the world’s biggest gaming markets – joined the United States, Canada, Australia and more than 30 countries in Europe in playing the “augmented-reality” game by Nintendo Co Ltd in which players interact with virtual characters in the real world.

The unexpected hit has doubled Nintendo’s value since its US launch earlier this month.

(Also see: How to Download Pokemon Go APK, Install, and Play on Android)

Junichi Masuda, head of development at Game Freak, and co-creator of the game, apologised in a video announcement on the Internet for keeping players waiting so long in the land where Pokemon was first born two decades ago.

(Also see: Pokemon Go iOS: How to Download Pokemon Go for iPhone, iPad)

“From today you can go out and find Pokemon to your heart’s content,” he said.

“We hope the game enables users to see the world in a new, fulfilling way. Obey the rules and have fun.”

(Also see: How to Play Pokemon Go in India? Here’s Everything You Need to Know)

Initial attempts to download the game took some time, but before long players were starting to hunt and capture the monsters, which showed up even in ordinary offices.

“This game is just as I imagined it to be, it’s really fun,” said Toshinori Ishibashi, 18, who was seen playing the game near a Pokemon goods store in Tokyo Station.

“It’s also a great reason to go outside, so I’m really enjoying it.”

(Also see: Pokemon Go: How to Catch Pikachu)

The game was created by Nintendo, Niantic, and Pokemon Co. Nintendo owns a third of Pokemon Co, and both have undisclosed stakes in Niantic.

McDonald’s Holdings Co Japan Ltd teamed up for the launch and said its nearly 3,000 shops across Japan would serve as spots where Pokemon can be battled or “trained” in the game – but added a very Japanese caveat.

(Also see: Pokemon Go Needs These 6 Features for Continued Success in India and Elsewhere)

“Ultimately, McDonald’s is a restaurant,” said a company spokesman. “We will call on players not to become a bother to customers who are eating.”

The Japanese government on Thursday issued a safety warning, with the country’s National Center for Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) giving nine instructions to users of the mobile game, ranging from advising them not to use their real names to warning about heat stroke in the muggy Japanese summer.

(Also see: This Pokemon Go Map Will Show You Every Pokemon Location)

Nintendo shares climbed more than 4 percent in Tokyo trading on Friday, while shares of McDonald’s Japan surged 7.2 percent.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Android, Apple, Gaming, iOS, Japan, Niantic, Nintendo, Pokemon, Pokemon Go

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Pokemon Go to Be Available in Japan Wednesday; India Release Date Soon?

Pokemon Go to Be Available in Japan Wednesday; India Release Date Soon?

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pokemon Go is available in over 30 countries
  • It could launch in Japan tomorrow
  • This paves the way for more Asian countries, India included

Last week saw 26 more countries getting Pokemon Go in addition to Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the US. Now it seems that Japan will get it tomorrow.

(Also see: Playing Pokemon Go in India? Here’s Everything You Need to Know)

According to sources close to the matter speaking to TechCrunch, Pokemon Go will be available in Japan on Wednesday. What’s more is that the blog claims that fast food chain McDonald’s will be the game’s first launch partner. It also noted that this will be the game’s first launch in Asia with other countries to follow.

(Also see: How to Download Pokemon Go APK, Install, and Play on Android)

Since Japan will be Pokemon Go’s first Asia release, its likely that others in the region such as India should see a release this week or the next. That hasn’t stopped eager Indian fans playing it though.

(Also see: Pokemon Go Review)

The impact of players in other countries sideloading the game, in addition to those in countries where Pokemon Go is available, is that the game has been uplayable for a vast number of people due to its servers unable to deal with the load. So much so that developer Niantic who made Pokemon Go along with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company has delayed its release in other markets till this is fixed.

(Also see Pokemon Go Player? Here’s How Much Mobile Data You Can Expect to Burn)

“We thought the game would be popular, but it obviously struck a nerve,” Niantic CEO John Hanke said, stating that the launch in other countries has been “paused until we’re comfortable”. Despite the rabid interest the franchise has generated over the years, something Niantic is aware of, it has been caught by surprise.

Tags: Niantic, Nintendo, Pokemon Go, Pokemon Go India, Pokemon Go India Release Date,Pokemon Go Japan Release Date, The Pokemon Company
[“Source-Gadgets”]