Germany\u2019s Asknet has teamed with Japan\u2019s SoftBank in a new joint venture aimed at providing electronic software distribution services in the Asia market.The new venture, Asknet, will operate out of Tokyo and target Asia software producers eager to use electronic distribution as a new channel to the market, the companies said Wednesday.SoftBank currently serves more than 1,200 Japanese software producers. The company, with a 60 percent stake in the joint venture, will support sales, marketing, administration and payments.Asknet, to own the remaining 40 percent, will contribute its electronic distribution technology, portals and other technical services. The company, based in Karlsruhe, Germany, offers software makers its softwarehouse.de portal, the largest download platform for standard software in Europe, with a catalog of about 7,000 software products from more than 400 vendors, according to its website. Asknet\u2019s range of services includes the sale and delivery of packet versions, downloads, licenses and updates. Its logistics system, for instance, enables continuous mapping of all processes, including ordering, payment and delivery, according to its website. Customers are able to tack every order in near real-time on the company\u2019s Web-based operations control module. Today, electronic distribution accounts for only 1 percent of all software sold, according to Asknet, which was spun out of the Karlsruhe University in 1995. But the company said it sees substantial growth potential, quoting market forecasts from IDC that the market volume for electronic software distribution, currently worth US$2.5 billion, will increase 35 percent annually over the next five years.-John Blau, IDG News Service (Dusseldorf Bureau)Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.