Blue Martini Pours it on in Japan

Blue Martini Software Inc. is beefing up its presence in the rapidly growing Japanese market by acquiring key personal from its exclusive Japanese distributor. The San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of customer-facing CRM applications is augmenting its operations by hiring eight executives from Netyear Group Corp. to work in Blue Martini's sales, professional services and marketing departments. The eight Netyear executives are employees that have created CRM practices for Netyear and have been trained on Blue Martini software for more than a year. While key Netyear Group employees will join Blue Martini Software, the company will remain an independent Blue Martini Software partner and distributor, according to Fujiyo Ishiguro, president and chief executive of Netyear Group. "The employees from our CRM practice who have joined Blue Martini Software have a strong track record, and will prove to be a valuable asset for Blue Martini Software," he said in a statement. The newly established eight-person office in Japan is among the company's recent moves to expand its presence in the Asia Pacific region. In January, Blue Martini, which has 330 employees in the United States, established an office in Thailand. Company executives say the Asia Pacific region is growing and Blue Martini wants to establish a foothold. Bill Evans, vice president and general manager of Blue Martini Software Asia Pacific also sounded off in the joint release. "All indicators demonstrate that there is a significant market opportunity for Blue Martini Software in Japan," he says. Market research firm IDC issued a report in May stating that total spending on CRM solutions in Japan increased in 2001 to reach 361.9 billion yen or US $2.9 billion. IDC Japan expects the CRM solution market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.3 percent to reach 840 billion yen or US $6.7 billion in 2006. Earlier this week Blue Martini signed a deal with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., the largest consumer electronics manufacturer in the world. Matsushita has selected Blue Martini applications for CRM initiatives across the company. The first deployment will replace and unify three existing transactional websites and augment the solution with closed-loop analytics and personalization. Matsushita also has an agreement to resell Blue Martini applications through its CRM solution business in Japan. Lisa Picarille also writes for Line56.com
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