MAY 15, 2000
COVER STORY -- E.BIZ -- THE E.BIZ 25

By: Irene M. Kunii


Keiichi Enoki


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DoCoMo
----------
Position: Director, Gateway Business Dept.

Contribution: Jump-started Japan on the mobile Internet by developing i-mode, the world's most successful wireless Net access service for cell phones.

Challenge: To establish i-mode as the leading portal and hub for wireless e-commerce in Asia.

Keiichi Enoki, DoCoMo's Internet boss, is a nonconformist in paint-by-numbers corporate Japan. Prime example: While the bigwigs at Japan's leading mobile-phone company tout video cell phones, the 51-year-old Enoki is quick to say many people won't want to be seen by those they're talking to.

It's a good thing Enoki's bosses don't hold that against him. Three years ago, they asked him to create a new business. His response: i-mode, the world's first mobile Net access service, introduced in February, 1999, which offers a connection to the Web without the hassle of needing to be connected to a computer and phone line. ''I believed consumers would go for a service that offers convenience 24 hours a day,'' he says. Today, more than 6 million people use i-mode to check e-mail and conduct e-commerce, making DoCoMo the largest Internet service provider in Japan. What's more, DoCoMo is regarded as a mobile Net pioneer, offering a model for other carriers to copy.

Now, Enoki sees i-mode morphing into a full-fledged Web gateway. Netizens with cell phones will be able to make quick purchases and download movies for viewing later on a large display. If he's right, i-mode could become the America Online of the mobile Net.




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