Update: Responding to our query, Anuj Kumar, ED (South Asia) at Affle, informs us that all investors, including the Times of India group, continue to stay invested in the company. "This investment from Itochu is for buying new shares, and the investment would be utilized to fund our growth plans in India and beyond." Earlier today: Japan's Itochu Corporation has picked up an undisclosed minority stake in Affle Holdings, a Singapore based holding company for mobile marketing company Affle. Affle claims that this strategic investment from Itochu is at a significant premium to its last round a year ago, when Microsoft had picked up almost 20% stake in Affle. Lets just hope there aren't areas of conflict between the strategic objectives of Itochu and Microsoft. In all, Affle's capital stands at $19.18 million. The one piece of the puzzle still missing, is a strategic partnership with a handset manufacturer, which allows Affle to be pre-embedded as the host SMS application. Affle is best known for its SMS 2.0 product, which replaces the core SMS functionality of a mobile handset, replacing it with a jazzier SMS service, which serves advertisements (using GPRS) after a message has been sent. Affle also has a couponing product called Coufon. At the time of the Microsoft acquisition, Affle had told us that the company was eying acquisitions in mobile Value Added Services in India. Nothing so far, by the looks of it. Deployments Affle was first deployed in India with Bharti Airtel, and grew in popularity primarily…
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