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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story


Convenience Stories

MILK, A NEWSPAPER AND THE NEW BANANA YAHIMOTO, please. That is the kind of convenience shopping that Japan's Softbank has in store for customers at the local 7-Eleven. Starting in November, the high-tech company will compete with online bookseller Its new service, called eS-Books (the S is for shopping), will offer 1.4 million titles for sale over the Web. Of course, this being Japan, things are a little different. While Amazon's customers punch in their credit card details and wait for the postman's knock, eS-Books' literary surfers will pick up their order from the nearest of the 8,000 7-Eleven stores nationwide - and pay in cash. Softbank president Son Masayoshi calls it "Japan-style e-commerce," a hybrid of old habits and new tricks to work around the mistrust the country's shoppers have of credit cards and online transactions. And instead of Amazon's all-in-one approach aimed at cutting out the middlemen, Softbank's strategy helps preserve a supply-chain status quo. In addition to Softbank and 7-Eleven, Yahoo! Japan, Taohan publishers and Yamato Transport all get a piece of the action. Japan-style, indeed.

illustration by Emilio Rivera III


HOW GOOD IS YOUR WEBSITE? You might soon be finding out - and if you don't like what you hear, blame Third Voice, a browser add-on launched last month. The new software allows surfers to slap virtual Post-it notes on any website, telling the owner (and the world) just what they think of it. Download it (, use it, then sit back and watch the insanity as webmasters everywhere scream for it to be banned.


LIKE MARK TWAIN BEFORE IT, the PC has been subjected to plenty of premature obituaries. But while the U.S. market may be ailing, Asian sales are in fine fettle. Shipments of PCs in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) broke records in the first quarter of this year, pushing the 3 million mark. The 25% rise on last year is due both to sales in high-growth markets China, Australia, India and Taiwan and a rebound in Crisis-hit countries. China topped the list, with one million units - 35% of all sold.
This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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