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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Media Port Nippon of Nagoya to Open Online Store
  • August 31, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Media Port Nippon (MPN), a Nagoya-based cybermall, will open an online storefront on Sept. 1 to sell personal computers, audio and video equipment, and classical music CDs at discount prices.
    Media Port Nippon is operated by the Nagoya Multi Online Service (NAMOS), a company funded by the Nagoya municipal government, Nagoya Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and 36 companies including Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT).

    The cybermall hopes to offer substantial discounts as well as encourage other mall merchants to be more innovative in their approach to electronic-commerce.

    "We want to extend our operational role and make the mail order service one of the cornerstones of the center," said Jun Inoue of the multimedia division of NAMOS.

    The new storefront will consist of an MPN Digital Market, selling Sharp Corp. products, and an MPN CD Market, selling CDs. The company is negotiating with Sharp on sales prices of the products to be sold through the MPN Digital Market.

    Although cyberstores can escape some fixed costs, working through the existing distribution channels makes cut-price selling a difficult proposition in practice. However, Inoue believes that online businesses must keep prices low if they want to survive.

    "In regard to computer-related products, we'll be seeking deals with manufacturers to keep our prices around the same level as Two Top, Sofmap, and other Internet stores that have gained a strong presence based on low prices. Eventually, we hope to offer products from other manufacturers," Inoue said.

    MPN CD Market will sell classical music CDs. The company plans to offer the European Naxos label, which normally costs 1,000 yen (US$7) in Japan, for a unit price of 880 yen including postage (for a minimum purchase of three CDs). An online bookstore also will open on Sept. 1.

    Media Port Nippon has about 90 participating merchants, and it uses the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol for securing credit card payments. By arrangement with credit card companies, the transaction charges paid by member merchants have been set at less than 5 percent.

    The company has introduced a number of other services and facilities to support mall operations. These include an email news service about stores and products, and a tracking service so that customers can locate an ordered item in the delivery chain.

    The online store is being launched following a system upgrade to SET 1.0 specifications.

    (Nikkei Multimedia)

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    Updated: Fri Aug 28 18:34:19 1998 PDT