HONG KONG – The major Japanese trading company Marubeni announced at Mip Asia it’s plunging into the digital satellite field with a multichannel service to go on air sometime next year or in 1998.

Marubeni is entering an increasingly competitive market where “300 to 400 channels will (soon) be available,” said Hiroshi Takano of Marubeni’s multimedia division.

A host of Japanese firms recently launched PerfecTV in Japan, while Hughes Electronics will come online with DirecTV next year. Rupert Murdoch earlier this year announced plans to form a joint venture, JSkyB.

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