How Facebook Won Over Japan

As one of the world’s most technologically advanced nations, Japan might seem an obvious  market for Facebook. It has the world’s second highest number of social media users, after the United States, according to the Nielsen Company. And users have enthusiastically embraced trends such as microblogging and social gaming.

Photo by Sean Pavone

Yet until recently, Facebook failed to make an impact. The Asian country, together with South Korea, Russia, and China (where it is still banned) were notable gaps on its map of world dominance.

In January 2011, it only had 2 million Japanese users – less than 2 per cent of the country’s online population. Users overwhelmingly preferred Mixi, a home-grown competitor, which had 21 million users at the same time.

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