Insanely huge [mecha] robot can be yours for a cool $1 Million on Amazon Japan

exoskeleton

Next Shark: 

If you had a million dollars, what’s the first thing you would buy? If you said, “a 5-ton, 13-foot-tall, 5 mph-capable, wearable robot,” then you’re not only ultra rad, you’re also in luck. On sale on Amazon Japan is the Kuratas, the invention of Kogoro Kurata, a Japanese blacksmith and founder of the robotics firm Suidobashi Heavy Industry.

Kurata has been refining giant, wearable robots for several years (think “Mobile Suit Gundam” or Mechwarrior), and so is now offering his namesake latest and greatest robot on the net for 120,000,000 yen ($1 million).

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In order to operate the robot, the wearer must press a button and then climb inside its cockpit. Perhaps the coolest feature of the Kuratas showcased in years previous is its BB gatling gun, which can shoot 6,000 rounds per minute when triggered by the smile of its pilot — no word yet on whether the Kuratas being sold on Amazon has the feature.

Before you run off and buy the machine, be mindful of some caveats to the Kuratas being sold on Amazon Japan: it doesn’t come with arms, and most importantly, assembly IS required.

Want to buy a giant, rideable robot? Amazon Japan will sell you one

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RocketNews 24:

This year, my sister-in-law and nieces gave me an Amazon card for Christmas. The bookstore near my apartment in Yokohama doesn’t stock English-language books, so it’s an extremely thoughtful gift, but I haven’t actually visited Amazon’s site to pick out my new reading material, since I’m still in the middle of a lengthy novel I started during my recent flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles.

With a couple of hundred pages left to go, it might be a while before I actually use the card, and while I’m leaning towards a National Geographic subscription, I still haven’t ruled out the alternative of putting the card towards purchasing a giant robot, since Amazon Japan now sells those, too.

Suidobashi Heavy Industries describes itself as “an organization which aims to spread human ride robots. Terminal syntax stumble aside, they’re serious about the goal of producing and selling robots that can be controlled by human pilots, and the company has already begun manufacturing and selling its 3.8-meter (12.5-foot) tall KURATAS robot.

Still, some of you may feel uneasy dealing directly with the company, seeing as how giant robots are just as likely to be built by mad scientists as brilliant ones. Thankfully, the KURATAS is also sold by a reputable middleman, Amazon Japan.

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This is actually Amazon’s second time to offer the KURATAS, as it also briefly sold the robot in 2013. The most recently listed price was 120 million yen (US$1,008,000), but buyers who were dreaming of a mecha Christmas had the chance to snap one up at a discounted price of 98 million yen ($825,000) during Amazon’s Christmas sale.

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Even when ordering huge robots, though, it’s important to read the small print. The item offered through Amazon is a KURATAS starter kit, and as such, does not include the pair of arms the robot is sometimes photographed with.

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Nor does the starter kit come with the plastic rocker launcher or BB Gatling gun, which are collectively referred to in the above video as the robot’s “greatest feature.”

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Oddly enough, the KURATAS doesn’t qualify for free shipping, as Amazon charges an additional 350 yen ($3) for delivery. Gift wrapping is available, though, which will allow you to keep friends and family guessing as to whether you’ve bought them a rideable robot or a gigantic block of cheese right up to the moment when they tear the paper off.

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Sadly, the KURATAS starter kit is currently sold out, and Amazon hasn’t announced when it will be restocking it, although the item is still listed on the retailer’s website. A little extra wait might be for the best, though. While we’d like to believe that everyone who buys a KURATAS is planning to use it to help build a peaceful, utopian future filled with robots, we’re not entirely convinced a few customers aren’t planning to use theirs for a murderous rampage.

 

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Chinese online retailer Alibaba sets a new record with $8 Billion USD in sales in a single day

Image of Chinese Online Retailer Alibaba Sets a New Record with $8 Billion USD in Sales in a Single Day

Chinese online retailer Alibaba is not afraid to make waves. After putting the world on notice with an IPO valuing the company at $168 billion (for reference, Amazon had a valuation of $438 million when they went public), Alibaba has just set a new earth-shattering record with $8 billion USD in sales in just 24 hours.

Coinciding with Single’s Day – a Chinese shopping holiday billed as an “anti-Valentines” day held on November 11 – the landmark figure sets a new precedent in retail sales, and easily breaks the previous record of $5.8 billion, set by Alibaba during last year’s Single’s Day. Fun fact: $2 billion worth of sales were made in the first hour alone.

Rakuten, Japan’s version of Amazon, launches U.S. site

Image of Japan's Version of Amazon: Rakuten Launches U.S. Site

Being the largest e-commerce site in its homeland, Rakuten is often referred to as the Amazon of Japan. Earning an impressive $4.9 billion in revenue last year, the company is the world’s third-largest online marketplace behind Amazon and eBay. Offering a large selection of globally known products and the country’s most comprehensive selection of styles and in-demand brands makes this a growing attraction for the young demographic.

Taking it up another notch, Rakuten launched a fashion-focused website in the United States this week. The U.S version differs slightly from the original site, with improved site design, enhanced search functions, and a new MVC platform to make real-time trend updates.To celebrate the new launch, Rakuten is offering week-long sales and promotions.

Be sure to check it out here.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s debut makes a splash in first day of trading

China-Based Internet Company Alibaba Debuts On New York Stock Exchange

Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma attends the company’s initial price offering (IPO) at the New York Stock Exchange on September 19, 2014 in New York City.

Wall Street Journal:

 

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China‘s largest e-commerce company, on Friday became a publicly traded technology powerhouse, launching a blockbuster share offering in New York that drew attention world-wide.

Its first trade changed hands at $92.70, well above the $68 initial price that some investors paid, and shares finished the day at $93.89, giving the company a market value of $231 billion, larger than Procter & Gamble Co.

The 38% first-day gain handed buyers of the offering paper profits of more than $9 billion and easily topped the average 26% jump for U.S.-listed technology and Internet deals this year, according to Dealogic. The rise was especially impressive as larger deals typically have smaller one-day jumps.

The IPO fortifies Alibaba with a sizable war chest for possible acquisitions and product launches to compete with Chinese Internet rivals Tencent Holdings Ltd.and Baidu Inc., and allows it to quickly expand in overseas markets including the U.S. should it choose to do so.

Founded in Executive Chairman Jack Ma‘s apartment 15 years ago, Alibaba built its e-commerce empire by connecting China’s entrepreneurs, first with overseas clients and then with hundreds of millions of domestic consumers.

The former English teacher ranks among the wealthiest of China’s billionaires. He sold nearly $1 billion worth of stock in the IPO, and continues to hold a stake in the company worth about $18 billion at Friday’s close.

Mr. Ma has insisted the company will keep its primary focus on China, but the attention and financial clout from Friday’s offering could change that. Revenue for its most recent fiscal year was 52.5 billion yuan ($8.6 billion), less than one-eighth of Amazon.com Inc.,but its market value now exceeds the U.S. company’s.

George Zachary, general partner at Charles River Venturesin Menlo Park, Calif., said he now views Alibaba as a powerful global force, because of its scale, market value and cash holdings.

We should be careful of Alibaba because they could certainly start to control a lot of the landscape,” he said. “They are going to be the biggest e-commerce company.”

Its steep valuation poses hurdles. Alibaba now trades at a price that has Wall Street investors expecting strong growth even as it faces challenges including a transition to mobile commerce, where advertising rates are lower than for desktop users, and potentially slower-than-expected consumer growth in China.

Alibaba’s value is about 35 times what its underwriters forecast for next year’s earnings, according to people familiar with the banks’ projections. Rival Tencent trades at about 31 times earnings, while companies in the S&P 500 index trade at roughly 15 times.

Carlos Kirjner, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., estimated before the IPO that Alibaba’s fair value was around $215 billion. Now, valued at $231 billion, “the market is counting on spending per user to grow, and the company to invest the IPO profits wisely for future growth.” He said that meeting those targets is “very plausible,” but hardly “a no-brainer.”

In contrast to Facebook Inc.’s troubled IPO with confusion over missed trades, Alibaba’s first day went smoothly, coordinated by a gaggle of banks tasked with selling an Asian company in New York to investors across several continents.

Thanks to the heavy retail and institutional demand, underwriters are expected to exercise an option to sell more shares, which would vault the amount raised to $25 billion, a global record for a stock offering.

The deal’s 35 underwriters collectively earned as much as $300 million in fees, with the first five banks on the deal earning as much as $45 million each, according to people familiar with the terms. Those banks were Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.,J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley. Alibaba also hired Rothschild as a separate adviser on the deal.

Yahoo Inc. sold 121.7 million shares in the deal, a bringing in about $5.1 billion after capital-gains taxes. It still owns 401.8 million shares.

While the company hasn’t been as well known outside of China, its IPO establishes it on the global stage. A majority of its shares were sold to U.S. investors, said people involved in the deal.

Friday’s debut also was watched closely around the world: Employees at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou celebrated their new wealth with a fireworks display, Silicon Valley venture capitalists took in the spectacle with a mixture of awe and dread, and Wall Street bankers toasted the millions of dollars in fees the stock sales generated.

“To have the money is something that can make the heart feel more at ease,” said Tony Miao, who says his wife works at Alibaba and currently owns about 2,000 shares.

Publicity around the company in recent days helped drum up a “swell” of interest among ordinary investors, said Steve Quirka senior vice president of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. He said Alibaba accounted for roughly 13% of TD Ameritrade’s trading volume.

Originally, “we weren’t sensing there would be this much activity,” Mr. Quirk said. “But in the last 48 hours it just picked up a lot.”

Still, only about 10% of the IPO went through retail channels, about two-thirds of which were set aside for friends, family, and employees designed by Alibaba itself, according to people familiar with the deal. Just a 4% sliver of the deal went broadly to small investors, the people said, in contrast to the more than 25% set aside for Facebook.

Investors who couldn’t obtain shares at Alibaba’s Thursday night price took to their computers Friday for a chance to buy a piece of the Chinese e-commerce company, even as shares at times neared the $100 mark.

Chris Kateyiannis was one determined buyer. A sophomore at Ohio State University, he placed an order at up to $81 per share before his Chinese language class began at 9 a.m. By the time he got out, the opening range had already exceeded that. In the school’s computer lab, Mr. Kateyiannis downloaded a web extension that refreshed his Fidelity brokerage account for him every few seconds, and he adjusted his order.

Just before his calculus class began at noon, his order finally went through at $94.79. Sitting in class, he discreetly used his phone to buy another round of shares when the price pulled back a little to $92.18. “I was still paying attention to the teacher,” he insisted.

With shares closing at $93.89, Mr. Kateyiannis was hardly a big winner. “I might sell half my shares in a few weeks if I need the money to invest in something else,” he said. “I’m going to hold on to some of it though—I think it’ll go up in the long-term.

Link

Hulu sells its Japan operations to a local broadcaster, licenses brand name and tech

Engadget: 

Hulu jumped into overseas expansion of subscription video streaming services around the same time as its competitors Netflix and Amazon, but now it’s taking a step back. New CEO Mike Hopkins announced one of his first big moves in a blog post, revealing that Hulu Japan has been sold to Nippon TV, one of the top TV networks in the country.

In Japan the Hulu Plus-style approach has been the only one offered, with a pay subscription opening up access to a mix of local and imported-from-the-US programming, including HBO. According to Hopkins, not a lot should change for subscribers. While Nippon TV will take over day-to-day operations and expand the content available with some of its own stuff, Hulu is licensing its brand and technology to the company.

Check out this link:

Hulu sells its Japan operations to a local broadcaster, licenses brand name and tech