Hewlett-Packard Co. of the United States will be entering the Japanese personal computer market by setting up a joint venture with Softbank Corp. and selling home-use products on the Internet, the U.S. firm’s chief executive officer announced Thursday.

“The home is the next great frontier for the acceptance of information technology,” Carly Fiorina, HP’s president and CEO, said at a joint press conference attended by Softbank Corp. President Masayoshi Son in Tokyo.

HP and Softbank have reached a basic agreement to establish the new company and start operations in the fall.

In Japan, HP has been a major supplier of IT products and services for corporate users but has yet to market PCs for home users.

The two firms hope to turn the new venture into the premier online supplier for Hewlett Packard’s consumer IT products, including HP Pavilion PCs, printers, supplies, digital imaging products and hand-held information appliances, the two companies said.

The details of the new company have yet to be hammered out, but Softbank E-Commerce Corp., a group company of Softbank, will hold a majority stake in it, Son said.

In addition to online sales, Hewlett-Packard Japan Ltd., HP’s Japanese unit, will begin selling home PCs at computer shops across the country around fall.

Fiorina and Son also announced that Style Index Corp., a fully owned subsidiary of Softbank E-Commerce, will begin to offer Monday an HP home computer and Internet connection service at a fixed monthly charge of 2,980 yen.

Under the new service, users who signed a three-year contract can have unlimited access to the Internet from 159 access points across the country.

Style Index Corp. will be offering the HP Pavilion 2000, a home PC specially designed for the Japanese market that comes with Intel’s Celeron 466 megahertz processor and a 5-gigabyte hard disk.