KDDI invests $113M, partners with 11 internet companies to better engage smartphone users


Japan’s Nikkei reported earlier this morning that Japanese telco KDDI will partner with 11 internet companies to provide the former company’s subscribers with an integrated portal menu. By integrating a user base of 40 million monthly visitors in total using services provided by these companies, KDDI wants to compete against Yahoo Japan which has one of the largest user bases in the Japanese internet industry.

The article says that partnering companies include Weathernews, iStyle (a company behind cosmetics buzz site @Cosme), and Navitime Japan (transit navigation and updates), AppBroadcast (a company behind game media site GameGift, Natasha (a company behind j-pop culture site Natalie, acquired by KDDI in August), Hatena (social bookmark service), and Luxa (funraised from KDDI in October last year).

These companies will share an integrated common menu and user profiles, where one can hop around web services by these companies without entering personal information even when required. Integrated services will be provided for KDDI subscribers in addition to smartphone users subscribing to other companies like NTT Docomo and Softbank.

Through this integration and partnership, for instance, once a business trip using a calendar app is arranged, it will provide seamless access for finding the best transit route or checking weather update for the destination using third-party services, similarly to what Google makes possible alone in a seamless single interface.

In a series of these partnering efforts, KDDI also announced that it has acquired Nanapi (lifehack site operator, we learned that it has been acquired for about $72.6 million through our recent interview.) and BitSeller (mobile app developer). Furthermore, KDDI said it has invested in internet startups like Jorte (calendar app developer) and Vasily (a company behind fashion coordination app iQON)The total amount of these investments is worth 12 billion yen (about $113 million).

Via Nikkei (paywalled) / TechCrunch Japan