MyPoints Launches Japanese Joint Venture

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MyPoints and Dai Nippon Printing Co. last month launched a joint venture, MyPoints Japan, a localized version of the U.S. loyalty marketer's American program. The alliance was announced in June last year.

DNP started as a printing company in 1876 and has diversified into a group of companies with consolidated net sales of $12 billion last year. It is also a major direct marketing player in Japan.

MyPoints, San Francisco, offers advertisers an integrated suite of rewarded media products. It claimed a membership base last year of more than 16 million and expects to add 1 million members in Japan by the end of this year.

This is the company's fourth foreign venture. It has private agreements with Swedish Post and Star Media to cover Sweden and Latin America.

It opened MyPoints Europe in February as a joint venture with Experian, a subsidiary of Britain's Great Universal Stores. The approach in Japan will be similar to Europe.

"Like MyPoints Europe, MyPoints Japan effectively leverages our investment in technology and our expertise in running the Internet's leading loyalty marketing program," said Noah Doyle, vice president of international development.

Geoffrey Ossias, vice president for corporate relations, added, "This is a high-level partnership for us with real strategic benefits. We are the technology and marketing expertise provider, while they add marketing clout and the client base."

MyPoints is taking roughly a 20 percent stake in the joint venture with an investment of $2 million and an option to increase the stake to 50 percent "down the road." DNP is putting up $12 million.

The launch will help DNP build its relationship with leading Japanese advertisers that are increasingly eager to get their products shown on the Web and to win and keep Internet customers.

MyPoints Japan already has a high-end roster of Japanese advertisers, including Alpen, a sports specialty retailer; Fnacl, a leading cosmetics and health products marketer with a foothold in the United States;, the online store of Family Mart; and, a game distributor.

A number of Japanese companies, led by the post office and several popular retailers, have agreed to redeem accumulated consumer points. They include Daiei, a department store; and JTB, Japan's largest travel agency.

Despite a sagging economy, Japan's online markets are expected to grow exponentially, with 45 million people expected online -- most of them through DoCoMo's increasingly popular wireless devices.

The Internet advertising market, MyPoints said, is expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2003. The company cited industry analysts for the projection.

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