Daisuke Inoue could be a billionaire if he had only filed a patent for his invention three decades ago -- the karaoke machine, which has opened up the prospect of stardom, however fleeting, to millions of musical wannabes. \nInstead, the man whose creation has become a US$7.5 billion-a-year industry in Japan alone has designed gadgets to wash clothes and kill insects as he tries to put his finger on the next sensation. \nNow aged 64, Inoue said he came up with the device that would become a worldwide social lubricant when he was a fumbling keyboardist accompanying customers at a club in the western Japanese city of Kobe. \n"A driving force [for the invention] was my laziness as it was hard to master new songs one after another," Inoue told reporters in an interview. \nInoue, with a smooth deep voice, graying slicked-back hair and a ponytail, has never been able to read music even though he started earning money as a drummer when he was 16. \n"Accompanying tone-deaf singers was no problem. What was toughest for me was to remember by heart several new songs every month because I couldn't read music," said the inventor of karaoke. \nInoue first got the idea for a karaoke machine in 1971 after a club customer asked him to join him on a weekend company trip as he wanted to sing to Inoue's keyboard. Inoue could not skip work at the club, so he made a tape of instrumental music for him. \nLater that year, he invented the original karaoke machine, called "8 Juke," based on a car stereo and equipped with a microphone, amplifier and coin box that played music recorded on eight-track cartridge tapes. Inoue was 31 at the time. \nThe machine proved to be an instant hit. \nThough rival devices by firms such as Daiichikosho, now the top karaoke company, appeared within three years, Inoue saw 12 good years selling tape-based karaoke machines. \nHis company's fortune waned with emerging laser disc-based machines in the mid-1980s. He survived by turning the company from a karaoke machine maker to a trading firm. \n"I went to Daiichikosho with which we had been battling fiercely and asked them to let us handle their machines," Inoue said. \nHis company came to boast annual sales of ?10 billion (US$95 million). But the lifestyle proved too much for Inoue. \n"It was luxury-induced depression. I had been a salesman talking directly to customers but was suddenly given a monthly salary of ?3.5 million and no real job," he said. \n"I began to suffer head-aches and was unable to move to go to office," he said, recalling the months in the early 1990s he served as nominal "chairman" of the company. \nHe broke out of his depression by leaving the company, running around with his dogs and establishing an industry group to promote his invention, the All-Japan Karaoke Industrialist Association. \nHis latest invention is the "New Aqua Trio" pot which is purported to electrolyze water for washing laundry, cleaning dishes and even rinsing mouths without detergent or chemicals. \nCosting ?399,000 (US$3,800), the home-use pot is touted to bring about "a cleaning revolution." \nAnd this time, Inoue has wisely decided to patent the product, both in Japan and internationally.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to