Facebook overtakes Japanese social network Mixi in Japan

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview with Japan’s business daily The Nikkei that Facebook has reached 15 million active users in Japan, surpassing Japanese social network Mixi.

“Japan is a really important market for us,” Sandberg said. “We have over 15 million users…  Only six months ago, we were at 10 million users.” This marks a huge growth over the past year, increasing 200 percent from the reported 5 million users in September 2011. Sandberg also said that the company intends to increase its focus on Japan, and Facebook has also been listing Japan-specific roles for their Tokyo offices.

Mixi announced 14.53 million MAUs in June 2012, a drop from a reported 15.2 million users in February. Facebook has had difficulty penetrating the Japanese market and this marks the first time the company has surpassed Mixi’s MAU.

In January 2011 The New York Times reported that the number of Japanese Facebook users was under 2 million, or less than 2 percent of the country’s online population. According to the article, at the time Japanese users showed little interest in Facebook, citing that it was not optimized for the Japanese language and a reluctance to use real names and other information.

Clearly, Facebook strategy in the Japan resulted in great gains over the last year, and Mixi’s numbers may continue to fall as Facebook builds a larger audience in the country.

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