The email service will be branded by KDDI and work on the “auone.jp” domain. Google will provide the backend for the service and account holders will have the same functionality as provided by Gmail itself, including 2GB of storage.
The announcement continues a recent string of deals in Asia for Google as it attempts to build market share and presence in countries it does not dominate. More recently, Google has licensed search to a number of Chinese search portals.
KDDI is currently Japan’s second largest mobile operator behind NTT DoCoMo. Third ranked mobile operator Softbank owns Yahoo Japan, which according to Smart Money is not as strong in search, but leads Google in other services including email.