Japanese wireless Internet content goes to China

Mitsubishi, a large Japanese trading company, and Index Corp., a content provider for wireless Internet services, said Monday they will each buy a stake in Shanghai Linktone Consulting Co. Ltd., a provider of wireless Internet content. The two Japanese companies will start distributing content for Chinese mobile telephone users through Linktone in the third quarter of this year, they said.

Index and its top stockholder Mitsubishi have invested a combined total of US$1 million for a 5.5 percent stake in Linktone, according to Masanori Hirano, a spokesman for Index.

Index, which supplies entertainment-based software for all of Japan's mobile Internet services, will provide Linkage with a Chinese version of its software while Mitsubishi will help other Japanese content providers to enter the Chinese market via Linktone, according to Tomoya Shimoda, a spokesman for Mitsubishi.

Linktone, which was established in 1999, is one of 15 content providers for China Mobile Communication Co. Ltd., China's biggest cellular telecommunication carrier.

Linktone will provide content for China Mobile's Monternet wireless Internet service, which was launched earlier this month on a trial basis with per-minute pricing, said Katsuhisa Oda, a spokesman for Index. A commercial service, which will be based on GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) technology and charge users on a per-packet basis, is planned for launch in August, Oda said.

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