Asterisk Inc. and ITOCHU Pulp & Paper Corporation enter into a Capital and Business Alliance

updated:June 13, 2019

Creating new value in the current state of business by combining automatic recognition and paper

Asterisk Inc.
ITOCHU Pulp & Paper Corporation

The manufacturer of smartphone-mounted “AsReader” barcode scanners and RFID reader/writers, Asterisk Inc. (Head Office: Nishikawajima, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, Japan; President: Noriyuki Suzuki) and ITOCHU Pulp & Paper Corporation, a subsidiary company of ITOCHU Corporation specialized in paper and paper products (Head Office: Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Kenichi Oshitani) entered into a Capital and Business Alliance on 31 May 2019.
Through this alliance, we will share our unique know-how and combine our resources to create and provide more extensive business solutions for our clients, and develop new value for mutual business development, IoT for business, and auto-recognition.

■Overview of the Business Alliance

伊藤忠紙パルプ調印式_調印中HPAsterisk Inc. is a start-up company that has created new value for barcodes and RFID through mobile solutions and IoT. ITOCHU Pulp & Paper Corporation is a trading company specialized in the field of paper and pulp, which has developed services for B2B in the world of paper used for business.
While each provides highly specialized business solutions within the B2B domain, this partnership will allow Asterisk Inc. to utilize ITOCHU Pulp & Paper’s extensive business network to approach businesses all over the country with their unique auto-recognition solutions. In turn, as a solution provider that responds to the diverse needs of client companies, ITOCHU Pulp & Paper Corporation will incorporate new IoT and auto-recognition products in their sales field. This partnership will create new value and help realize one-stop service solutions through the collaboration between these two companies, who have each had great results in the new area of IoT and the sales of “paper”, an indispensable product in any business.

■Background and Purpose of the Business Alliance

In recent Japan, labor shortages are becoming more serious due to the declining birthrate, aging population and decreasing population. Many measures are considered in order to combat this, such as new IT technologies like the fusion of IoT and auto-recognition (such as RFID and AI etc.) in various places. For example, in April 2017 the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) formulated the “Declaration of Plan to Introduce 100 Billion Electronic Tags for Products in Convenience Stores” in order to help the convenience store industry break free of their current situation of being understaffed, and the staff they do have being overworked. This means that by 2025, major convenience stores will have to put electronic (RFID) tags on all the products handled (estimated to be 100 billion units per year), which will help them realize individual product management. Experiments with RFID tags have already begun in specific regions.
In addition, with the expansion of societal problems, such as death from overwork and companies exploiting their employees, improvement of the work environment has ceased to be merely a problem of the companies, but has also become the problem of the state. The reformation of the Japanese workstyle, for instance by improving and reforming businesses through processes such as reducing overtime etc., has now become a pressing matter.

Both Asterisk Inc. and ITOCHU Pulp & Paper agree about the necessity to resolve these various issues in the work environment, and aim to mutually create and provide such solutions.

■Overview of Capital Alliance

Asterisk has transferred 10% of the total number of issued shares to ITOCHU Pulp & Paper Corporation.

<Overview of Asterisk Inc.>
■ Company name: Asterisk Inc.
■ Representative: Noriyuki Suzuki (CEO & President)
■ Capital Stock: ¥290,000,000 (Including reserve funds of ¥140,000,000)
■ Established: September 2006
■ Head Office: Shin-Osaka Dainichi Bldg., 201, 5-6-16 Nishinakajima, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka-city, Osaka, 532-0011, JAPAN
■ TEL: +81 (0) 50 5536 1185
■ FAX: +81 (0) 6 6886 1114
■ URL: (company website) & (products website)
■ Business Details
・Develops “solutions useful for businesses” based on mobile devices
・Designs, develops and sells AsReader devices (1D, 2D, RFID, NFC), a case-type reader attached to iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and other smart-devices
・Develops and sells mobile apps centered on iOS
・Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for business apps centered on iOS
・Other: OEM for devices used in businesses, business consultant for mobile terminals, and system integrator

<Overview of ITOCHU Pulp & Paper Corporation>
■ Company name: ITOCHU Pulp & Paper Corporation
■ Representative: Kenichi Oshitani (CEO & President)
■ Capital Stock: ¥500,000,000
■ Established: January 1972
■ Head Office: 8th Floor, NOF Nihonbashi-Honcho Bldg., 7-1, Nihonbashi-Honcho 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 103-8415, JAPAN
■ TEL: +81 (0) 3 3639 7111
■ FAX: +81 (0) 3 3639 7198
■ URL:
■ Business Details
1.Buying and selling pulp, paper and processed paper, as well as import and export
2.Buying and selling paper products, packaging materials, non-woven fabrics, chemical products, used paper and the raw materials for the previous, as well as import and export
3.Buying and selling, designing and manufacturing printed materials
4.Buying and selling, brokering and leasing equipment and materials related to the previous points
5.Buying and selling logistics system services and related products
6.All business incidentally related to the previous points