IBM Snags $1B Japan Deal

IBM Japan has been selected as the 10-year technology partner of Mitsui Mutual Life Insurance in a deal estimated to be worth US$1 billion, the company announced.

The deal, which IBM said in a statement is the largest ever in the Japanese insurance industry, will see Mitsui Life and IBM Japan establish a joint venture to manage the insurance company's host computer system, development and maintenance of new systems, network management and the provision of personal computers to some 780 offices across the country. The joint venture is expected to be established in October, the partners said.

For IBM, the new contract marks the third such major deal signed with financial firms in Japan this year. In early January, IBM said it had signed a 10-year outsourcing deal with Meiji Life Insurance, then in March it announced the signing of a six-year outsourcing deal with Japan Consumer Credit Services.

Together, the three deals are worth $1.9 billion. They come as deregulation sweeps through the local financial services industry and forces companies to become more competitive or risk being overtaken by more nimble domestic and foreign competitors.