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Excite Inc the internet company whose search engine has excited more interest than its financial results, is expanding its presence in Japan with the formation of a joint venture with huge Japanese trading group Itochu Corp, to provide localized Excite services and establish a high profile sales and marketing presence in the country. Excite Japan Co Ltd will be owned equally by Excite and Itochu, with Dainippon Printing Co Ltd and Itochu’s computer distribution subsidiary Itochu Techno Science Corp taking a minority stake in the joint venture. According to research from International Data Corp, the number of internet connections in Japan is expected to surge to 39.6 million in 2001 from 5.3 million last year. Excite says Itochu’s local sales and marketing presence, coupled with Dainippon’s access to local content will enable it to get going immediately with its Japanese service. CTC Create Corp, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Itochu, will become the exclusive media sales representative for Excite Japan. Excite already has a presence in the Japanese market with the Excite Japan search service, and through the company’s relationship with Netscape Communications Inc (CI No 2,958). Excite is working with Netscape to build localized versions of Netscape’s Guide in five international markets and the first to be launched will be in Japan.

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