HP, Softbank team to tap hot Japan PC market

The computer and printer maker forms a joint venture with the Japanese Internet investor to tap Japan's surging personal computer market.

Computer and printer maker Hewlett-Packard announced late last night that it has formed a joint venture with Japanese Internet investor Softbank to tap Japan's surging personal computer market.

The joint venture, which will be named later this year, plans to sell HP computers, printers and other digital peripherals to Japanese consumers.

The number of PCs shipped in Japan soared 32 percent during 1999, according to a study by the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association released last month. PC demand jumped in Japan, the world's second-largest economy, as consumers and businesses rushed to catch up with the global race onto the Internet.

HP has recently redoubled its push to provide Internet services and support after acknowledging missing the first wave of customers buying systems for building Internet sites. The company said it will provide information technology (IT) infrastructure products such as hardware and software as well as consulting services to support the new e-commerce operation.

Softbank said it will drive the development and ongoing management of the new site.

The Japanese firm's previous successes include funding leading portal Yahoo and online brokerage E*Trade.

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