serkan AT kantan-games.co.jp

Twitter I LinkedIn I Subscribe via Email I RSS

Facebook is now available in Japanese, CEO Zuckerberg says in Tokyo

Facebook‘s CEO Marc Zuckerberg personally traveled to Tokyo to announce the launch of the Japanese version of his super-successful social network. Actually he came for just a day (on May 20th), gave a few interviews telling why Japanese people should join Facebook and left.

It goes without saying this is not the way to go in this country. Just translating Facebook into Japanese (by over 1,300 native speakers) will not help much as well.

Difficult environment for Facebook
I have put together some reasons Facebook will have a hard time gaining a siginificant market share in Japan here. Fellow blogger Takuya Homma adds a few thoughts, most importantly the need of a kick-ass mobile version of a Facebook Japan. This is totally correct, given the fact that the number of users of Japan’s largest SNS Mixi accessing the site via their cell phones exceeds 50%. Moreover, a lot of their members use the site as a blogging platform.

Zuckerberg also said in one statement Facebook is known for its safety since people are using their real names. Well, first of all this is not necessarily true. Everybody and his brother can set up a Facebook profile using any name. Secondly, the majority of Japanese users of social networks would HATE to reveal their identity and post photos of themselves online. Just look at Mixi: How many members demonstrate this behavior there? Almost no one…

So in my view Facebook faces a very, very hard time on the Japanese market. At least Zuckerberg came the long way from the USA to show his face – he didn’t travel to my home country Germany when Facebook launched the German version a few weeks ago…

Update:
Lisa Katayama (a US-based writer and journalist) wrote an excellent article on Facebook Japan, which can be found here.

Serkan Toto About Serkan Toto
I am the CEO & Founder of Kantan Games, Inc., a Tokyo-based game industry consultancy focused on the Japanese market. Please subscribe to updates on this site via RSS or Email.