The joint venture, expected to be named Onsale Kabushiki Kaisha, in Japanese, and Onsale Japan K.K., in English, will be 60 percent owned by Softbank and 40 percent owned by Onsale. Initial capital is being provided by Softbank, while Onsale is supplying the technology, technical support, and management expertise. The two companies anticipate starting service early next year, after adapting the software to the requirements of the Japanese market, according to Onsale.
"Softbank has demonstrated its ability to make joint ventures of this nature successful, for instance with Yahoo Japan and GeoCities Japan , two of the highest traffic sites in Japan," Jerry Kaplan, chief executive officer of Onsale, said in a statement.
The Internet in Japan is approximately 15 percent the size of the U.S. market and used both at work and at home by individuals. It is presently growing at a rate of 66 percent per year and is expected to reach 33 million users by 2001, according to Onsale estimates.
Today's announcement comes a day after Onsale said it was in an exclusive partnership with a unit of Cendant Corporation to auction resort condominium rentals over the Internet. Onsale said the pact with Resort Condominiums International, the world's largest timeshare-exchange company, marks its expected diversification from auctions of computers and electronics into other areas.